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ITHICS Fanzine: One Swallow doesn’t make a summer - but Chris Coleman is a damn fine swallow

In this week’s ITHICS column, Mark Egan reflects upon the early days of Chris Coleman’s reign and looks forward to a brighter future under the former Wales boss.

Chris Coleman celebrates Sunderland’s win at Burton
(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

I’m a sucker for the little videos of goals which people put on Twitter – there must be a little cottage industry out there of putting ‘goals of the season’ videos from the 80s and 90s onto YouTube.

Some are from matches I’ve long forgotten.

Some are from matches I was at but have forgotten key details – like the match at Southend in the fog, where I thought Mickey Bridges scored at our end but, in fact, the goal was invisible even to the cameras and the first we knew we’d scored was when we saw the players run back to our half.

Some are from famous games. I looked recently at the game against Manchester United when we came back from two down to beat them 3-2 with a Clive Walker hat-trick.

Clvie Walker, hattrick hero

The common theme in all of these clips is the passion of the fans, especially in the days of terracing when goals sparked surges up and down. At that Manchester United match some brave souls stood with the away fans and celebrated madly with each goal – I wonder what happened to them?

There’s been a lot of doom and gloom on Wearside recently but the thing which has got me most has been the corrosive apathy which has eaten at the heart of our club.

Successive relegation struggles didn’t help but David Moyes sucked every last drop of passion from all of us. Under his tenure, and the lacklustre Grayson weeks, it became painful to engage with the club, painful to read reports, painful to check the news, painful to go to games.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, as they say, but it feels like a damn fine swallow has arrived in the shape of Chris Coleman.

Aston Villa v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Credit to Martin Bain, whom I have repeatedly pilloried, for landing a manager with a pedigree and a presence far beyond what we all expected.

Presence is the key quality required. We clearly need a manager with something about him, a bit of charisma and swagger, who can stir up fans and players - and Coleman has shown plenty of that so far.

By this stage, two games in, Moyes would be predicting relegation and who remembers anything Grayson said?

Coleman, on the other hand, is talking with confidence and it was great to see him on the pitch on Saturday geeing up the away fans and making us all feel better.

I woke up on Sunday morning, thought about the match and automatically felt depressed until I suddenly remembered that we’d won. It was such a strange feeling.

I almost watched Match of the Day until I realised my mistake.

There’s still a long way to go. We’re still in the relegation zone. We still have the same squad and the injuries are mounting. But now I look at the fixture list with renewed interest.

There’s some six-pointers coming up at home and the atmosphere will be transformed.

When that passion starts to return it will flood the Stadium of Light and give us back some self-respect, some enjoyment and some hope. Play-offs anyone?

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