“A boot stamping on a human face – forever” was George Orwell’s vision of the future in his novel 1984. It could just as well describe what it feels like to support Sunderland at the moment.
The boot was well and truly thumped in on Saturday with a dismal defeat to Brentford - just about as bad as it ever gets. Some people might point out that there have been a few bright spots during the season; the occasional victory or the plucky draw at Bristol City.
But in fact these were all part of the all-pervasive misery being inflicted upon us.
No team has been as consistent as Sunderland in following up a half-decent performance with a soul-sapping defeat. We should have known it would happen. That decent second half at Bristol meant just one thing – a defeat in the next game, and not an unlucky defeat or a ‘we gave as good as we got but they were just too good’ defeat but a ‘we never even had a shot defeat’.
Looking over the six months of this season it should be clear now that we are going down. The only question is whether we will sink without sight, relegated with a few games to spare, comfortably below Burton, or whether there will be a brief rally and we’ll be relegated at home to the champions on the last day. The former option looks likeliest today.
So what does our dear leader make of it all? Of course we don’t know, as Ellis doesn’t turn up these days and has managed just one communication with the fans all season.
That broadcast reminded me of an African dictator from the 1970s, holed up in the presidential palace, denying that troops were massing on the border, the airport was being shelled and the shops were empty, but instead expressing confidence that all measures were being taken to fulfill the Five Year Plan.
All Ellis lacked was the ludicrous uniform.
I’m looking forward to his next scripted ‘interview’ when he explains how two successive relegations are just blips on the road to that top 7 Premier League finish. Top 7 in the National League is a more realistic prospect at the moment.
On Saturday anger was focused on Martin Bain and if I was sat in the West Stand I’d have felt like giving him a mouthful too. However, Bain is just a hired hand, there to cut costs and put money back in the owner’s pocket.
He has, in fact, been extremely successful and shown a ruthlessness at cutting costs without heed of the consequences which has been sorely lacking on the pitch. He’ll walk away in due course boasting about how he’s improved the financials. Meanwhile we supporters have no choice but to continue, the boot stamping weekly and without respite wondering when it will all end.