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We all dream of that day at Vicarage Road

Sunderland return to Vicarage Road on Saturday with memories of the what-might-have-beens of last summer still annoyingly fresh.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League

It has only been 10 months but it has felt like a lifetime. I miss that warm springtime air, I miss that sense of optimism, I miss that laughter, that feeling like everything was going to be alright, those smiles.

Without going full early-2000s tortured emo band, returning to Vicarage Road on Saturday feels like going back to the scene of a first date that went far too well only to end in tragedy months later. The optimism of the day felt like the flutter of butterflies in the stomach when you meet that someone that sets your heart racing.

They’re the one. The one we’ve been searching for all these years. The one that is going to complete us, to let us see things we’ve always dreamed of, to take us on foreign adventures and to spend those seemingly endless days basking in spring sunshine. The Watford game of May 15th, 2016 could’ve been penned by the most tortured, soulful songwriter themselves.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League

It all clicked into place and we thought the summer would last forever but, like all good emo songs, it was shrouded in despair and disaster. Those sunkissed weekends are replaced by the endless screaming of bleak November's, desolate Christmas’ and days upon days of utter desperation, exasperation and apathy.

The one has gone, they’ve found someone else, they’re doing great I’ve heard. They tend to not call us anymore, we see them every now and then but it’s only a quick “four-nil” before we slink back to our own loveless relationship. We tried to move on, get on with our lives, find someone else we thought would be the ‘one’ but it just isn’t working.

They hate us as much as we hate them but for the life of us, we simply won’t let go. We’re afraid of the unknown even though there is a compelling argument to suggest we would better off apart. We daydream of that day in Hertfordshire. The day we laughed heartily at our biggest rival sinking to the depths and even got a result playing a reserve side.

Our new ‘one’ looks tired, they gave us a glimmer of hope in South London but that’s all it was - a glimmer. You look into their eyes, their heart is not in this anymore, they know you wanted more but they also know deep down that this is finished. We’re finished. They haven’t got anymore answers and anything they do is only leaving us more exasperated.

It is typical, simply typical. We can’t have our moments in the sun. We can’t enjoy these moments for very long. Everything has to be torn down, burned to the ground and replaced in the most haphazard way possible that we are only left with memories, the ‘what-might-have-beens’ and the downright frustration that just for once this might have worked.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The game at Watford in May was supposed to the turning point. The great renaissance of a sleeping giant that has been a coma for the past the five years. As we return to Vicarage Road, gaze upon the Elton John Stand, all we’re left with is the strain of sad songs ringing in our ears, a sense of acceptance and the flickering candle in the wind that maybe it could get better.

I guess this is what they call the blues.

When once we rode into Watford Junction station boisterous, gallant, full of bravado and with beaming smiles on our faces we now arrive with dejection, meek and just wanting for this whole sorry debacle to be over so we can rebuild our shattered egos. We’ll be told to ‘keep the faith’ and that there were ‘positives to take’ from a 2-0 defeat, when all we do is long for May afternoon when we thought we had ‘the one’.

It has only been 320 days.

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