Relegation is not a new concept for Sunderland fans. We've been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. Plenty of times, in fact. But Saturday still should have hurt. It should have angered. It should have disappointed. Seeing this proud club slide meekly into the Championship under a cloud of incompetence should have left me irate.
Yet I felt nothing when Stuart Attwell blew the final whistle that condemned us to relegation. I wasn't hurt. I wasn't angry. And I wasn't disappointed. There was an acceptance of our fate. And that doesn't feel right.
Even inside of the Stadium of Light, home to a faithful who have displayed unwavering support throughout the trials and tribulations of the last ten years - Sunderland's average attendance has been inside of the top ten every year since their return to the Premier League - there was a sense of resignation and acceptance when Josh King scored the winning goal. Small pockets of the crowd burst into chants of "We want Moyesy out," but there was little to suggest any great feeling of indignation.
And in all honesty who can blame the fans for their apathy or lethargy? Circumstances, unfortunately, have dictated this mindset.
Rumours today has suggested that the Sunderland manager is considering his future and may well walk away from the club - news that I would welcome immensely. Both Moyes' personality and demeanor have cast a dark cloud over Wearside this season, and the way that it has completely disenfranchised an entire fanbase is saddening.
We've been conditioned to expect failure. Our expectations have consistently been lowered by a manager seemingly more interested in self-preservation than the club that he is paid handsomely to manage.
"That's where they've been for the last four years, so why would it suddenly change?" questioned David Moyes when asked whether Sunderland fans could expect another relegation battle. "People will be flat because they are hoping that something is going to dramatically change. It can't dramatically change, it can't."
If only somebody had told that to Claudio Ranieri...
Things have dramatically changed, though. Just not for the better. Moyes has overseen what Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat and Allardyce avoided - a Sunderland relegation. The signs had been there under their management, admittedly. Sooner or later the escapology act would fail; it was not a sustainable model. But there was no battle this time. No fight. There was never any hope, no matter how much I may have tried to delude myself into believing that there was. The game was up long before our manager chose to play conservatively in must-win games against the likes of Burnley and Watford.
Perhaps this realisation that Sunderland were heading only one way, under a manager backed by a stubborn owner who seems eager to create ‘stability’, no matter the consequences, tempered any potential negative emotions once our fate was sealed.
But surely I should still feel more than apathetic? Instead, I can only shrug my shoulders.
David Moyes was this week dubbed as 'the energy vampire' and it’s a label that’s hard to disagree with. Negativity breeds negativity - it can be contagious. We often look to senior characters for inspiration and belief. How can we show positivity when our manager is anything but positive? He exudes no character. He inspires no confidence in his players or among the fans. He has drained the enthusiasm that I had for this football club.
Matches became something that I no longer looked forward to watching. They became a chore rather than something that was enjoyable; they became something that I wished was over before it had even begun. And it's not simply about winning. We wouldn't support Sunderland if winning was all that matters. Rather, we see no pride on the pitch or on the touchline. No gameplan. No sense of togetherness or teamwork. And very little quality.
I have tried to give David Moyes the benefit of the doubt; to look at things from a different perspective and to empathise with his situation. Sunderland are in this current predicament due to years of mismanagement. The enigmatic, elusive owner Ellis Short had retreated to the shadows (until Saturday evening) following years of poor decisions, no matter how noble his intentions. Millions have been spent on the likes of Margaret Byrne and Roberto De Fanti - employees with limited experience thrust into important positions within the club - while the turnover of playing staff - almost always at a loss - has been nothing short of disgraceful.
Moyes clearly didn't walk into a perfect situation. Nonetheless, the core of the squad that earned survival against Everton last May were still at his service. He then spent around £25M on Papy Djilobodji, Paddy McNair and Didier Ndong. Injuries admittedly hindered his plans, but there was still enough quality to at least compete in a relegation battle. Instead, there was no battle, but rather a timid surrender against a backdrop of negative football and negative attitudes under a manager with a constant desire to exonerate himself.
Like every fan, I want the best for Sunderland. I should be concerned about the impact that relegation may have; the possibility of dropping down another division or financially imploding as others have done. I should be excited about the potential of a clean slate and the opportunity to actually win some football matches and enjoy watching Sunderland again.
However, I'm struggling to be bothered at this point in time under the management of David Moyes; struggling to show any concern or excitement, no matter how much I love Sunderland - and that doesn't feel right.
Here's hoping that the rumours are true, and that he's preparing to walk away from the disaster that he has presided over. I'd certainly regain some enthusiasm.