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Buy the ticket, take the ride - I’m still trying to remain upbeat about Sunderland’s fortunes

It’s incredibly difficult, but I’m now into my second week of trying to be positive with regards to Sunderland - the dice are still tumbling, and I’m still hoping for the best.

Brentford v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

I said last week that I’m at that stage whereby I’ve decided to adopt blind optimism in the hope that being less negative will somehow ease my blood pressure, and convince the universe to cut the club some slack. Unfortunately, Grayson and the Lads didn’t find a win despite my positive aura, but they also avoided yet another loss - so there’s that at least.

If you haven’t yet dipped your toe in this obscure brand of pure hope, then I can quite confidently report that it’s incredibly difficult to immerse yourself in. I found myself smiling through grimaced teeth as I screamed internally this weekend, but the show must go on - I must keep faith in the notion that Grayson and co. will turn this club around... for another couple of weeks at least, anyway.

We’ve told ourselves many a time that ‘wise men say only fools rush in’, and that ‘we all can’t help but fall in love with this club’. The more I analyse the words, the more it begins to unearth a new meaning: how many people really go on loving something that literally torments them on a weekly basis? Very few I imagine, which gives this surrendering to fate a tinge of sanity - or so I keep telling myself.

Manchester City v Sunderland - Capital One Final
Sometimes the foolishness is worth it.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

I won’t insult anybody’s intelligence by trying to convince them that there were a host of genuine positives to take from Saturday’s game - even despite the fact that I’m on this pilgrimage into positivity.

However, the return of Lewis Grabban was definitely what we’ve needed - he looked a real threat throughout, and if we can keep him fit then he’ll score us goals which we will desperately require in order to get back onto our feet after several months of punishment.

Furthermore, Duncan Watmore looked threatening once more, and will definitely continue to improve with added match-fitness. That gives us a canny little forward line with Grabban, McGeady, Watmore, and McManaman to choose from; at the very least we will have some flair and creativity going forward, even if we’re struggling to prevent goals at the other end.

I know it seems like I’m clinging onto some vague sense of forlorn desire, and if truth be told, I am. Yet, to pull apart the obvious platitudes once more does nothing for me, you, the players or the club - we all know the issues, and for me to repeat them to you would be like preaching to the choir. Something I’m not very keen to pursue.

Brentford v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Watmore is definitely a string to the bow.
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

We’re all fools when it comes to this club - and that's the best thing a Sunderland fan can be in this world: a fool. Because despite our consternations and relatively humble hopes, all we can realistically offer is our foolish love and adamant affection.

The dice are still tumbling, and as far as I’m concerned Simon Grayson has two games to get the fans back on side. Wins against Bristol City - freshly thrashed by Leeds, FYI - and Bolton would certainly be a great start to a recovery, and a rebuilding of bridges badly burned in recent years.

Ultimately, there’s this little light somewhere out in the darkness that encapsulates this quite frankly absurd hope for a past that doesn’t seem so far away - a past where anything seemed possible and this lowly club seemed on the up. Right now, however, we trudge helplessly forward into the wind, trying desperately to make small steps of progress whilst looking back over our shoulder at what might be should we fail to turn things around.

Things are desperate, and to submit to the wind of change would do nothing to help us in our predicament. I’ve got to put faith somewhere, and right now it’s in a manager and squad who simply must turn things around.

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