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Van Aanholt's disrespectful words & the sight of Allardyce made Palace victory taste even sweeter

When times are tough with this club, little things like brutally destructing your disrespectful former employees remind you just why you do it.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Saturday was great wasn’t it? There are no two ways about it - that game is up there with one of my favourites of all time as a Wearsider.

Cast your mind back to the home leg of this particular fixture, where we had somehow managed to completely out-Sunderland ourselves by taking a 2-0 lead midway through the second half, only to inexplicably concede three late goals. An overnight flight from Florida (which I could not sleep on AT ALL due my fear of flying) and a three hour train journey meant I had been awake for nearly thirty hours by the time that last minute goal by Christian Benteke had hit the net - so to say that Crystal Palace are a club that I have a little disdain for would be an understatement.

Sunderland v Crystal Palace - Premier League
In the reverse fixture, Crystal Palace managed to compound my sleep deprevation with a last minute winner.
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

This game in particular worried me more than most of the others in recent weeks - and trust me, as the ultimate pessimist, I worry at the best of times.

I always had a boat load of time for Sam Allardyce before he joined the club last year - and my admiration was aided even more by his chest-out attitude towards our efforts to stay up last season. So when he rocked up at Crystal Palace a few months ago - at a direct relegation rival - I despaired. Not only had the whole England debacle robbed us of Big Sam, but within two months of him buggering that up he was appointed by a club that we know we are going to be competing for survival with. It was hard to bear.

And then there's Patrick van Aanholt - a player who, despite showing that he could often be one of our most important players, couldn't get out of here fast enough once a London club came along with a huge wad of cash. His appearance on the team sheet on Saturday only made me want to beat Palace even more.

Now, I’d never call myself a bitter man. Though however childish as this may seem, revenge is something I very much believe in. Revenge can be something to drive you. The ability to gain the mental strength, to make sure its you that is the phoenix rising from the flames is something I’ve always had in me. Of course, this translates to Sunderland - the team I so blindly fall in love with every now and again.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League
Revenge is most certainly a dish served best with three points isn’t it Sam?
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

When our former left back was asked about his move to London, I expected the cliché-ridden soundbites about the great fans, the amazing opportunity he has and the rest of the standard footballer mumbo-jumbo. But when he blurted out, "We have got a better team. No disrespect to the Sunderland players”, I must admit, I saw red and I was clamming for revenge.

Despite him claiming 'no disrespect' to his former team mates, it most certainly was disrespectful - and you can bet that van Aanholt made the pre-match team talk very easy for David Moyes on Saturday.

And whilst Sam Allardyce was far more complimentary about us when questioned in the build up to the game, I still have a nagging annoyance with the way he left the club. The way he simply didn’t care how much the club was being dragged through turmoil; the way our pre-season was effectively dominated by his England appointment; the utter mess he left his replacement with - and let’s not forget that the Eagles owed me a day back after my depressing, sleep deprived Saturday 24th September 2016.

My expectation was I’d be once again switching off Match of the Day and going to bed early, but not this time.

For once, fate smiled upon us and let the likes of Sam Allardyce, Patrick van Aanholt and that day in September know that Sunderland AFC are a club that comes back roaring like no other.

As always though, the bad days will come, and maybe sooner than we’d like.

So when that day comes where you question your love of all things red and white, it may be worth remembering that when it comes to us, it’s the little things like thrashing teams who ruined your day, or beating former employees who walked out on you in search of "better things" that make it all worth it.