Last weekend was as depressing as any I can remember following Sunderland.
I arrived on the Vaux site to arctic winds whipping up the Wear Valley, went to meet my drinking pals in the Dun Cow, and I got served in no time. The town was deserted - though it was freezing cold, after all.
We walked to the Stadium in record time and got served a beer on the concourse immediately - not the queues of ten minutes-plus that we have been used to. It feels like the clubs is being shut down and closed off, like a fire sale.
Short has lost interest and has employed Martin Bain to sell off the valuable bits and then cut and run. No thought has been given to the community being destroyed, the employment lost, the dignity and heritage. The bottom line is the only thing that counts in this process. If it has a value, flog it.
So the Premier Concourse is being shut down next year. Like the coal mines that were closed down in the 1980s, once they are closed for a while, it will become prohibitively expensive to reopen after a year or so of neglect.
And so to the match, in a sparsely populated stadium, still an attendance of 28,453 was reported. That is clearly wrong. How can it be right to include season ticket holders in all attendance figures?
The match was awful. I was at the reverse fixture at Deepdale, where the team were 1-0 up at half time and went on to draw 2-2. There was fight, spunk and attitude on show. Three qualities distinctly lacking in last week’s match.
To survive relegation, we are going to have to a miracle of the kind last seen in 2014, when after losing 5-1 away to Spurs, we contrived to draw at Manchester City, win at Manchester United and Chelsea, while dispatching West Brom and Cardiff at home.
Then we looked likely for the drop; but those four wins and a draw staved off relegation for another season.
Then the situation was worse than now, as we were further adrift then than we are now.
Can we do it? Probably not. But then after we lost to Spurs in 2014, I didn’t think we’d stay up then.
And then through the misery of the situation comes the prospect of Niall Quinn returning on his white charger, to save the club for the second time of asking. As our editor Gav has remarked already on this site, it’s difficult to take anything emanating from the Sun credibly, but the paper’s NE football coverage usually has some concrete course.
Or is this another cruel way to toy with us fans: the delicious prospect of St Niall returning to the club? There ha been scant detail provided, but the thing that interests me most is that all journalists say they can’t get hold of Quinn on his mobile. Intriguing.