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Diary of a Sunderland Fan: #22 - Many fans are staying away from the SOL - who can blame them?

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Whilst the official attendance yesterday evening at the Stadium of Light was announced at around 26000, it was clear to all of us in the ground that far less were present. People are staying away - and with good reason.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The chronic lack of confidence within Sunderland’s team is worsening with each passing defeat, and whilst a win doesn’t seem imminent it would be fair to say that we could all do with the boost that comes with achieving three points.

I’m genuinely excited to see what a fit, firing front four of Callum McManaman, Jonny Williams, Aiden McGeady and Duncan Watmore would be capable of but it could be some time before we see all four playing regularly together and time is not on our side. We have five games in the next seventeen days and with two of those players out injured and one nowhere near fit enough, it does concern me that we’ll continue to lose games at a rapid pace - which will only worsen fears that Sunderland could be in for yet another relegation battle.

Yesterday’s performance against Nottingham Forest wasn’t all that bad but let’s get some perspective here - Forest themselves were on a poor run, we dominated possession without looking remotely like scoring and it was yet another defensive brain fart that led to us conceding a goal and losing the game.

Sunderland v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

This type of performance has become all too familiar and it appears that people are starting to give up, with swathes of empty seats at the Stadium of Light indicating that there are many Sunderland supporters that just aren’t prepared to spend their hard earned cash watching a team that disappoints them anymore.

After the dishing out of free tickets to corporate sponsors was knocked on the head in the summer I was expecting a drop in attendances but nobody could have expected it would be this bad.

And it’s that task which seems the most unenviable of all the ills facing Simon Grayson at present - winning back the support of a fan base burned badly by failure over the course of many years. We haven’t seen a win at the Stadium of Light since last year and it appears that this mentally-fragile squad of players just aren’t capable of playing in front of a home crowd, whether that be in front of 40,000 or 20,000 supporters.

Something has got to change. I’ve no idea how we do it, but losing again this coming weekend against Hull could be the final nail in the coffin for some sections of the fanbase that are sitting on the idea of packing in going to games altogether until, presumably, real change happens on an ownership level.