I’m abso-f*cking-lutely buzzing for tonight.
Why? Because I’m mental, probably. You have to be to support this club.
I mean, this week has been largely awful if you are a Sunderland fan. Bar signing Robbin Ruiter on a free transfer - an excellent piece of business, by the way - it’s been a pretty crap seven or so days on Wearside and really I should be full of dread, peering through my hands as I await what is to come this evening.
Yet, despite being beside myself with rage after last Saturday’s game, I can’t allow myself to feel too down-beaten about how things have been in recent days just yet. Proper football is back and everything feels exciting again.
Heading over to town for a few beers, walking across the bridge to the Stadium, taking in the pre-match ambiance on the concourse before the game starts - you can’t beat it. And to top it all off, we’re playing under the lights on a Friday night.
I find not knowing exactly what to expect now we are a Championship club quite exciting, actually. Our past record would suggest that we know what we are doing at this level, but times have changed since the last time Sunderland played in the second tier and it’s very much an even league. Anyone can beat anyone, and despite our first clump of fixtures appearing incredibly difficult when seen written down on paper we have to just cross our fingers and hope that we get off to the best possible start with a win this evening.
Last Saturday I felt like a stranger in my own seat, watching on with my arms folded as Celtic fans had a party in the South stand. Despite that, I’m hoping tonight we see a good, positive atmosphere around the place - whilst there may not be as many people going to the games this season, those of us that are there have a massive part to play if Simon Grayson is going to achieve anything in his role as manager.
We know we’re skint, and that it’s an absolute embarrassment that we’ve reached the stage where our manager admits we can’t even afford to spend five million quid on a player. We know that the people who run the business side of the club have ran this place into the ground. We know that the Gibson video last weekend was a PR disaster. We know that some of the players we have just don’t want to be there.
The fact is, though, that Simon Grayson has been willing to embrace this football club - and its flaws - since day one. Ultimately, our success depends upon this manager being given the time that he needs to change the culture of the dressing room, whilst simultaneously getting results right on the pitch.
As angry or as apathetic as you are about our current situation, lets put that to one side once the whistle blows this evening to kick the game off. We have to give the manager our full backing.