In the wake of a transfer window that served to remind us just how far we’ve fallen as a club, the humbling two goal defeat at home to Ipswich last weekend was indicative of how precarious our position in this league truly is. Relegation is a very real possibility.
Subsequently, murmurings have begun to rumble among the fanbase with whispers of “protest” and “demonstration” beginning to become all the more audible as our predicament seemingly worsens.
We decided to poll our Twitter followers to see whether they thought some kind of action was needed - and it’s safe to say that the majority of those that voted think that now is the time to act.
POLL: Would you support a fan-led demonstration aimed at highlighting the situation that Sunderland AFC finds itself both on and off the pitch?— Roker Report (@RokerReport) February 5, 2018
And, of course, let us know your thoughts around protest/demonstration by replying to this tweet. #SAFC
Yup - 68% of the 3,452 votes on our poll were in favour of some kind of protest or demonstration, such is the disdain they feel toward the club’s ownership.
A couple of weeks ago Roker Report’s Damian Brown penned an article on the topic of Protest and pondered its usefulness in order to help encourage regime change on Wearside. He’s seemingly not alone with his opinion on the matter, and many fans feel now is the time to act in some way, shape or form.
Late last year Ellis Short made a rare appearance in the media after being interviewed by the club’s website, where he stated that:
I’m a fan. I know how the fans feel. I know why they are not happy.
It would be great if there was something I could say that would make everything better, but the reality is that is not going to be better until we do better on the pitch.
That’s the important thing.
Although I understand the frustration, I hope that all of us can focus on that.
Yet, despite his reserved pleas for more time and patience, it would seem many have simply had enough of the American’s ownership, and think the only thing they can now do is air their frustrations in public, en masse.
I think highlighting it to try and improve the lack of coverage of the club's situation is the best we can do right now. Protesting against Short himself seems pointless to me, as he doesn't want to be here anyway and it won't make a difference without a potential buyer.— Andy (@SAFCsource) February 5, 2018
That being said, some fans voiced concerns about the ability of any planned demonstration to bring about real change - especially considering the elusive American doesn’t live locally (in fact he doesn’t even live in England any more).
However, the feeling of helplessness continues to build as the club scrape by without a penny to reinvest into the already diminished first-team; in turn, large sections of the support are simply fed up and want change.
Their feet and voice are all fans have left as a last roll of the dice in an attempt at inciting change. To many, protesting feels like the only opportunity fans have to truly demonstrate their venomous ire, and in the wake of an embarrassing lack of coverage by both local and national media outlets, fans might just hope causing a ruckus might just bring some much needed attention to the issue of Ellis Short’s ownership.
I’ve never been a supporter of demonstrations or protests but anyone saying that “it will have a negative impact on team” or that “it will do nothing” are part of the problem. We are sitting back watching our club die. We need to find our voices and be heard!— Oh Danny Boy (@Dashpot16) February 5, 2018
Of course, it’s a tricky situation to navigate and any fans thinking about protesting will need organisation and a clear message if they hope to be effective.
Fans certainly don’t hold Chris Coleman responsible for this mess, and several comments on Twitter reflected the feeling that Coleman needs to be protected if the fans do decide action is necessary.
This is purely aimed at the club’s top figures - at the men who got us into this financial sty, and have steadily eroded our position as one of England’s top sides.
Action is needed. But that action needs to be applied in a way that unambiguously separates support for Coleman and the team from contempt for the owner.— Mobile Mackem (@mobilemackem) February 5, 2018
That all said, the 32% that voted against any form of demonstration is still a sizable portion of voters, with many of those that were against it following a common theme in their replies - “What’s the point?”
There are still many that think that ultimately protesting would be a waste of time, as the facts are already laid bare and that the owner has made it clear in the past that he’d be willing to sell Sunderland if the right offer comes along.
Protest/demonstration is clearly a hot topic right now, and the next few days will reveal whether some form of organised protest will prevail or not.
Ellis Short claimed back in November last year:
But I am watching, I am paying attention, and to answer the question that you sing at me during mainly the really bad games: yes, I’m watching.
Well, Ellis, I genuinely hope you are watching, as things really do seem to be hotting up.
Ultimately, however, any potential display of disdain must be organised and coordinated if it is to be effective. I have a feeling we’ll see just how keen people are in the course of the next couple of weeks.
Got something to say regarding the matter of demonstration/protest? Email us by clicking here or, alternatively, let us know your thoughts on the issue and how it could be resolved on our Facebook and/or Twitter pages.