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It's the hope I can't stand

It's March, Sunderland are propping up the rest of the Premier League at the foot of the table yet again - and I'm f**king sick of it.

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton/Getty Images

We're bottom of the Premier League and have two games in the whole of March - one against a Manchester City team that have won nine of their last thirteen away games, and one against a Burnley side that we have failed to beat on three occasions already this season; we have key players still missing due to injury, and our last two performances in particular have been as dull and uninspired as the expression on David Moyes' face each and every time he is wheeled out in front of the press.

So what hope do we, as Sunderland supporters, have?

I've asked myself this on numerous occasions this week, and I honestly cannot put my finger on it. Pretty much all that we can put forward is that year on year, time after time, we somehow manage to find a way out of the mire.

It has looked just as bleak in pretty much each of the last five seasons and we've been able to rescue ourselves having fought from underneath - being in the bottom three at this point is not an unfamiliar feeling.

And I'm fucking sick of it. I'm sick to fucking death of feeling this way, and watching this turgid football, and watching the same uninspired players wade in and out without a care in the world, knowing fine well that their easiest ticket out of here is relegation; knowing that irrespective of where the club finds itself come the season's end that they will be alright.

Regardless there's not much that I - a season ticket holder for twenty-plus years that is utterly fascinated and in love with this football club to the point that I spend almost every spare minute I have maintaining a fan site - can do about it.

As much as I'd love to be in that dressing room ten minutes before kick off tomorrow, ragging the hopeless bastards about by the scruff of their necks in the hope that it inspires even an ounce more of motivation, it's just never going to happen. And whilst I hope that in writing this some of the players actually see it and it makes them think double hard about how much survival means to the people of this football club, I doubt that it will even register. But hey-ho.

So it's then, as always, down to our manager and players to prove that they have even just a modicum of self-respect left, and have the ability to gee themselves up right in time for our annual big finale. Contrary to popular belief, we have a squad full of international footballers and players that have genuinely achieved success at varying points in their careers - they have the ability to perform when needed.

Is it basic motivation and leadership that they are lacking? Probably. But sometimes the will to win has to come from within.

And it is that what will be key if we are to achieve anything other than a serious battering from Manchester City on Sunday. I said it in the wake of the Everton game but the point stands - if you are unable to match your opponents with your ability, then you have to work ten times as hard to ensure that you at least instill hope and belief in to a fan base that is relying on you to keep their football club from dropping in to the Championship, and potentially a financial abyss.

Sunderland are a football club built on the foundations and the history of a hard-working, working class community. And whilst elements of what makes this club great have been lost in recent years we are still a proud and loyal fanbase that, irrespective of what shit we have thrown at us, turn out each and every week to give our love to a team that quite frankly don't deserve it.

Give us some love back - that is all I ask of these players. Wear your heart on your sleeves and do not for one second allow yourselves to think about the prospect of relegation or giving up. Sunderland are more than a football club to almost every single person that buys a ticket to get through that turnstile on a matchday - this is a way of life, and we are relying on you to put this mess right.

Relegation is a dirty word and hearing it just makes my skin crawl. I hope and I wish that the players feel the same way too and leave every single thing that they have on the pitch between now and the end of the season, because if they don't we are headed down a long, dark road that I'm not even sure we'll ever come back from.

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