A third straight draw, and a third straight match in which we have seen Sunderland fail to keep hold of a lead and secure vital points. These past three games have been a roller-coaster, and in each Sunderland have tricked us into believing they are good enough to beat the drop before brutally reminding us that the third tier beckons.
The last five performances, in any other situation, would have been pretty good. Of course dropped points are bad for any team, but one defeat in five is a much better run for a side comfortably in mid-table than one now bottom of the league.
Without context, we’re on a decent run showing that we’ve become harder to beat. Unfortunately, with just three games left, simply being unbeaten is not good enough.
This campaign is stuttering to the poorest of conclusions. We’ve reached the point where each match day can result in relegation being confirmed; a home match against Burton Albion could well be our final bow before our name appears in red and is accompanied by that little ‘R’. Up until the Reading match, results elsewhere were going our way, giving some ill-deserved hope to the most optimistic of fans. However with Barnsley, Bolton and Burton picking up points (the latter being the most unbelievable), the recent draws are set to catch up with Sunderland.
I couldn’t be more pleased that the end is almost nigh. We have been turned over by some poor teams this season and I can’t remember the last time I genuinely looked forward to a match day.
If there hadn’t been a slight upturn in form in the past few weeks we would have already been confirmed as a League One club already, and I know it sounds bleak but in some ways I wish we had. Of course, it’s mathematically possible to survive and until that is no longer the case there is always a slim chance, but it’s this optimism which annoys me every week.
I want relegation to be confirmed. I want to be able to get this campaign over with, see the playing squad culled and hope Ellis Short ships out ASAP. The club needs a full summer under new ownership to prepare for the unknown in the third tier. No one can take it for granted; League One will be more of a slog than the Championship ever was.
At the end of the day, being a Sunderland fan isn’t about celebrating winning trophies or spending millions of pounds on world class players - both of which are just a fantasy. All Sunderland fans want is players who give a damn and occasionally win some football matches. We thought we’d get this in the Championship, but seeing as that hasn’t worked out, there’s always the hope that League One will be a more fruitful endeavour.
It’s hard to be too positive going into the last few games, especially considering two of the remaining opposition will either be out to secure promotion or already be celebrating it. All we can do is keep our heads up and wait for the inevitable to happen... for the second year in a row.