It's been some weeks since the hammer fell on the final nail in the proverbial coffin, since we last heard from our elusive overlord Mr. Ellis Short. Though at first glance some of you may have chosen to believe his particularly unique brand of bullshit, let's call the statement what it is - a contrived and rehearsed statement, skin deep in it's sincerity and undoubtedly scrawled months before the fact by whatever lowly scribe the man palms his responsibilities off to.
While most of us are sitting on our hands waiting for some, any, kind of movement there has been no sign of progression in or out of the board room. Recent rumours conjured of some mysterious (and frankly unbelievable) takeover are enough to make a grown man moist but, as with every glimmer of hope given to the long suffering fans of this club, we take it with a pinch of salt.
Though in truth what really troubles me in these oh-so-troubling times is not so much the slow pace of the administration of modern football but rather the endgame and the means by which it's pursued, or more aptly the total and utter absence of any kind of transparency or urgency to allay the fears of we, the fans.
I'm speaking of course about accountability. We sit here now a laughing stock - it's with tremendous shame and no surprise that the football world mocks Sunderland AFC. Rightly so? Perhaps, but while we sit and wait for fixtures to be published so we can plan our part in our teams next campaign, what can be said of the role played by those in whom the future of such an historic and proud club is entrusted?
From owner to director, manager to player, PR spin doctor and more, those paid a wage and given the remit of protecting the heritage of a century old institution, I can find zero accountability. No respect is given to the fans that suffer the long journeys on ice cold nights, the back aching coach journeys and the sundered bank balances in their eternal pursuit of pride and entertainment.
For too long now those that play the corporate game with SAFC, a game they forced on an unsuspecting public, have been left to their devices. They scheme and they fail and they humiliate us, they bring us into disrepute, they stand above us and look down and say "how dare you question us? Who are you to challenge my qualifications, my experience, my ability? Eat your gruel, boy!" For too long the shadow of abstract failure has lingered over Sunderland and it's good people, and those that are culpable run and hide behind their closed doors and conduct their sinister business as if it matters only to them. They make you and I into a statistic, a customer number, a voiceless face in the crowd of the heartbroken horde that trudges it's way from the Stadium of Light week after week having had what little pride that could have been recovered dangled in front of it and snatched back by the inadequacies of a corrupt and broken posse of imposters, a troupe of resident circus clowns with spreadsheets and quotas that dare question our ire at the slop thrown into the trough.
I would say "I don't know about you..." but I do know about you. I know you have love for a club steeped in history, you have memories of beautiful moments and stolen glories. I know you shared those terraces with family and friends and I know that you will share them with your children and they with theirs. I know what this club means and it isn't the feeble parody these interlopers have allowed it to become.
These people, these cretins, are toxic. Like the antithesis of King Midas who turned everything he touched to solid gold, their grubby paws scratch away at something precious and mighty and reduce it to dirt. They have indebted the club, they have been given the remit of rebuilding this edifice of our sporting hopes and dreams, they have collectively been paid millions to do this and given years to do it in and guess what?
They have FAILED!
Not only have they failed but they have failed so conclusively, so massively, that the idea of a bright future for the red and white army is all but dead and buried.
"Its only relegation man, dint cry about it!" I hear you say, and I would agree if that was the reason I feel so angry, but it isn't. We're in a lower league and that doesn't bother me. We have no money and less prospects but that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the blind obedience to a system that fails us time and time again. What bothers me is an army of clerks and pencil pushers with no knowledge of the football world, no concept of loyalty and no desire beyond the procurement of cold, hard cash.
And that's what it is, my friends. It's a cold and hard world that modern football is conducted in, it's an unforgiving place that condemns failure on the pitch and forces swathes of loyal fans to hang their heads and look forever forward to the next chance and the next, though it may never come. But if this is our harsh reality and our lot, what of theirs? When will these vampires that stalk the halls of the Stadium of Light and hoover up the easy money of hard working people like you and I be held accountable? When do they get blamed? Many are the calls for "SHORT OUT" but what does that even mean? The disparagement cast at a multibillionaire immigrant is just so many words that fall on deaf ears. He'll leave when he's good and ready and we, as mere fans, must merely accept it. We, the lifeblood of this club, treat with disdain by an uncaring cadre of swindlers and incompetent, vainglorious slugs that don't have to justify themselves to anyone but the master swindler, the boardroom bandit that can barely be arsed to grace the seats of the stadium with his self righteous arse.
What about those that daub digital walls in half baked rhetoric and meaningless slogans?
A plethora of hash tags assail the senses: #unityisstrength, #keepthefaith.. it's about as uplifting as #strongandstable and just as ridiculous. We need more than lip service, more than blind faith steeped in the lie that you and I are responsible for another pathetic performance compounded by the obvious truth, that cheap PR campaigns are nothing more than a half-hearted attempt to rally a losing force, concocted by a person or persons that quite simply will never understand the pursuit of happiness that truly unites us. These people are frauds and what's worse is that their cowardice, their refusal to accept responsibility for their own mess, is shrouded by their privileged positions.
When do they take responsibility? Will they ever? Only if we make them.
Regardless of the near future, regardless of whatever poor scapegoat they promise the world to and inevitably string up as the one responsible for the failures of others, there is truly a rotten core at Sunderland Football Club and it's past time we lifted the curtain and found out who's really pulling these strings.