Birmingham played well yesterday and a draw was probably a fair result. You can turn to Quick Kicks for Roker Report's tactical overview and the Match Report and Player Ratings for general information on that, but I quickly wanted to address those that came away from Saturday's feeling sorry for themselves.
I honestly don't think it's easy for a lot of our fans appreciate the gravitas of our situation as a club. I think the debt and the restrictions and the red tape just goes over a lot of heads, and they translate a new manager to mean a man that will somehow become the messiah.
Come on people – this isn't the rafalushun. Let's temper our disappointment when our expectations are high as we temper our expectations when they're low; completely and absolutely.
We aren't so well done by, surely, that we're in a position to casually dismiss the obvious leaps and bounds in which this team has come on since the arrival of the new manager. It wasn't so long ago we were wondering how we managed to concede so few goals in a routine loss, all with one eye firmly on the calendar; again wondering, how long before we topple off this cliff and fall into a hole from which there will be no rescue?
Not long enough, surely, that after a hard-fought 90 minutes, against a team that bettered us on the day, anyone can justify booing their team off that pitch. If you went to the Stadium of Light yesterday expecting a 5-0 romp against some shitty Championship team, get with the program mate. Yesterday was poor, but in spite of that you can clearly and obviously see progress every single time that team has taken to the pitch since Coleman took the reigns.
Sometimes I swear that people must think Coleman brought a train full of players with him to the club. He's managed to give cohesion to a team that, just two months ago, was all but doomed. The doom of that team would thereby doom the club they play for, and we would spiral out of control and out of our mind's until we found ourselves in the arse end of nowhere begging League Two teams to give us a loan. Make no mistake like – you take a look at our finances with a clear head and you'll soon realise just how far up shit creek we are. We've got nothing. We've barely got the shirts on the player's backs, people.
But look now, again, at the same team just a short time later. Now they look like a team that can fight and plan, and they look like a group of people that can take responsibility for themselves, and in so doing they will – and I'm utterly convinced of this – keep this club's head above water. In so doing they will give us the opportunity to rebuild, in time.
It isn't the fantastic skyrocket to promotion some of us might perhaps foolishly let ourselves dream of. But it's damn close, and it's arguably a better alternative than a smash and grab, miraculous, fairy-tale story of a manager that somehow brought everything with him all at once; money, fame, glory. What I saw in that game and in Sunderland's games previous to this under Coleman is effort in almost every attack – absolutely for the first 60-70 minutes – and perhaps more importantly I saw cohesion. I was excited when we went forward and I felt elated when we defended, because it was often with strength. I honestly couldn't be further from saying today was a bad performance.
To hope for a fantastic early Christmas present gift-wrapped by the red card for our relegation rivals is one thing, and it's about what we all hoped for at one point in that game, but to come away thinking we somehow deserved more as fans on the basis that either Birmingham were a bad team or that our players performed poorly is just bat-shit crazy.
All I'd say is take your pick and watch a few Sunderland games of the last six months, before Coleman came in, and jog your memory as to what a poor performance truly is.