The majority of Sunderland fans attend games purely out of habit. They are not going along because the team is playing well and they are certainly not arriving at the ground with a sense of expectation. Sunderland supporters attend games because they are loyal to ‘the club’. And ‘the club’ don't deserve them. At all.
The person who deserves the support of our fans the least is our owner. It has been a long time since there was any hope or joy at Sunderland and - in my opinion - 99% of the blame should be laid at the gilded door of our chairman, Mr Ellis Short.
Defenders of Short would point to the millions of pounds of his own money he has pumped into the club. I can understand why they would say that - even despite his severe lack of investment this summer. However, wasting all of this money - his money - could have been avoided had he not recruited so poorly over the years. It was Ellis Short who appointed Margaret Byrne, it was Ellis Short who appointed Martin Bain, and it was Ellis Short who appointed the many managers who have been through the revolving door at the Academy over the last few years.
Clearly he doesn’t understand football - after all, he is merely an investor in distressed real estate assets. As the man ultimately responsible for the hiring and firing of staff and players at the club, he should be held accountable for the ruinous state that we now find ourselves in - it’s a mess of his own making.
More astute minds than mine have gone over the dire financial situation the club is in, and I can’t profess to knowing a great deal about the ins and outs of where we are actually at. I can only speak from a position of raw emotion - from a sense of frustration that has been bubbling away under the surface ever since the final whistle went after the Sheffield United game.
And, honestly, I have never felt as low as a Sunderland fan as I did on Saturday afternoon, walking away from the Stadium of Light.
It wasn't just that it was a poor team performance. I've seen plenty of those in my time. It was just... nothing. Nothing is the only word I can use to describe it. The apathy from the chairman, the management staff and players has now spread like a disease into the crowd. Apathy reigns supreme as the club seemingly walks toward complete and utter chaos.
It may seem dramatic but I cannot see any hope or goodwill returning to the club until we are finally rid of Ellis Short. We’ve almost become a mirror image of C. S. Lewis' Narnia, like we’re all just subjects to the rule of the Witch - a place where it is always winter and never Christmas.
Ellis Short has come to represent all that is negative about Sunderland. Only when his poisonous grasp over this once-proud club has been purged can we start to be positive about our future again.