Just how much worse can it get for Sunderland? Another loss? Pah.
In truth, I’m not sure much would change. It feels as though we’re already at our lowest ebb. I’ve never known our supporters appear as apathetic about everything as they are right now. The Stadium of Light crowds are dropping with each passing home defeat - eventually, if nothing changes, all that will be left are the 16,000 or so hardly souls that, like me, simply cannot cut the cord.
Cardiff City are, like Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest before them, exactly the type of side that Sunderland could probably do with avoiding at the moment.
“Greater than the sum of their parts” is a phrase I feel I’ve used more than I’d have perhaps liked to since the season began but, in fairness, it’s true of the majority of the better sides in this division. Success in the Championship isn’t always determined by having the most talented players - with an inspirational manager leading a team of hard-working, motivated professionals, anything is possible.
And you have to commend Neil Warnock for not only the job that he’s done at Cardiff City, but at a whole host of other clubs who have been left better of having had Warnock manage them. Warnock has galvanised the Cardiff City supporters and players, and they’ve started the season handily. Though it may be an unpopular opinion, I truly believe that Neil Warnock is one of the most unheralded English football managers of all time - it’s just a shame he’s never found his way to Wearside over the years.
Warnock will have Cardiff fully prepared for this game, ready knowing fine well just how toxic the stadium can be if the away side execute their game-plan properly.
Frustrate us, sit off, take your chances. It sounds simple because it is simple. Beating Sunderland these days, especially at home, is not a difficult task - you just have to be prepared to slog it out early doors. In the majority of games we’ll inevitably start well, we’ll try and work the ball wide, but ultimately our concentration levels are so poor that we’ll eventually cock-up and afford our opposition an opportunity to score.
Is this a personnel issue, or something deeper-rooted?
Simon Grayson’s future as Sunderland manager will be undoubtedly called into question should the bad results persist over coming weeks - but the former Preston boss has the support of the man that will stand opposite him in the away dugout at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
“You can’t keep changing managers and he knows what he’s doing at Championship level”, said Warnock. “I have no doubt that he will crack it and that the fans will stick with him.”
Whilst Simon Grayson appears brave-faced, our horrendous home form - coupled with the fact that his trusted assistant, Glynn Snodin, took ill after the Hull game - has to be weighing heavy on his mind. He is human, after all. Does anybody else wonder whether Grayson underestimated the size of the task on his hands at Sunderland? I mean, he surely couldn’t have expected that things would have gone this badly so early in the season.
I still feel that the majority of supporters are confident with him at the helm, but another couple of bad results is likely to see a change in fan opinion - something that none of us truly want to see.
I fear for Grayson should Sunderland lose again this weekend, and then again midweek. Does he need this? I suppose it depends how much faith he has in his own ability to quickly turn this around. The Stadium of Light can be a fortress, provided we have a team capable of matching the passion of the supporters. Right now it’s a toxic place to be - something reflected not only on the pitch but in the stands.
Here’s hoping, for the sake of all of us, Grayson and the players get it right tomorrow - God knows we all need a good result to lift the gloom currently shrouding Wearside.