In an impressive display of pathetic fallacy, darkened clouds rolled across the horizon as Burton bagged their second yesterday. Subsequently, I sat back, sighed, and tapped the Twitter icon with my thumb. Defeated.
It’s the same for a lot of us: the fight has simply been sucked out of our once passionate souls. And no matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone thinks, this isn’t our fault - this lies squarely at the feet of the club’s ownership and senior staff. This is very much a case of us and them.
It’s impossible to be objective when you’re emotionally invested in something, but how horrific has our leadership been in recent years? Do those at the top even care? This once magnificent institute consigned to life in the third division - it’s beyond embarrassing. And should any opposition fan be reading this: don’t laugh, don’t snigger, for this could be you. This could be your side dying a slow, painful death.
Of course many of us will come crawling back. We’re addicted, unable to give up on the very thing we adore. But something has to change, and I hope beyond hope that perhaps - just perhaps - this horrific decay might yield to something inherently good.
Of course, we’re now consigned to several years in the wilderness. Our debts and expenditure need to be reduced enormously in order to whiten that tainted blank canvas we hope for so longingly; however, something has to come good from this lousy existence. Something surely has to give.
I hope Ellis Short, sitting in his thunderstorm-laden Boca Raton residence, feels the same level of anguish that I do. I doubt he does, yet I still hope that’s the case. I hope each rolling crash of thunder reverberates within him, shocking him into a sudden realisation of how abysmal it feels to be a genuine Sunderland fan. Ultimately, it’s now or never: get involved or sling your hook, mate. We appreciate the money and the promises of a better life, yet we live in the here and now... a sphere where you appear to be oh so conspicuosly absent.
Like a child disinterested with a once favoured toy, Short has eloped back to the humid climes of the east coast of Florida whilst his possession - our love - rots beyond recognition.
So why aren’t we livid?
The club released a statement in the wake of our pathetic demotion, the end of it reading:
Whilst naturally we feel devastated today, there remains a burning desire from within to re-build and re-invigorate the club. As we look at how to best achieve this, it must be recognised that we are in a period of uncertainty in relation to the club’s future ownership and the resolution of this will be the driving factor in how we move forward.
Sunderland AFC is so much more than a football club. It is an institution that has been at the very heart of its city and community for almost 140 years. It is built on a deep-rooted passion that is proudly passed from generation to generation and it is this enduring and unwavering passion that gives us the strength and fortitude we need in times of challenge. It is through the unstinting support of our fans that Sunderland AFC will rise again.
But can we honestly trust these people to be in charge of something we hold so close to our hearts? We are an institution, yet you’ve guided us into ruination and despair... how can we ever trust you to rebuild the battered remnants of a once proud establishment? I don’t think we can.
Supporters need to come together now and instigate change; we need to take control, and as far as I can see there’s only one way to do that: to prescribe to ownership that involves us, the fans.
It sounds like a pipe-dream, yet there has to be a way to incoroprate fans into the ownership of the club. That has to be our goal moving forward.
This is an opportunity to wrestle the club away from the dubious world of greed-driven ownership, and instead return this beloved establishment to those who want nothing but the best for our community - to us.
We should be adamant in our yearning: yes to a bid that puts fans first. Of course, Ellis wants his money back, yet if he’s truly the fan he says he is, then sell us to a sensible bidder that wants steady, fan-oriented growth:
Back in November of last year Ellis said:
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.
I’m a fan. I know how the fans feel. I know why they are not happy.
Aye? If that’s the case, sell us to the party most interested in improving the club rather then merely offering the most money upfront.
Ellis, sell us to the bidders that want to make a real differernce. Sell us to the group that want to reinstate this once magnificent club to its former glories. The money will be yours in time. But please don’t palm us off onto someone equally as distracted as you’ve been. Atone for your errors.
Darren Bent’s goal was the perfect symbol of all that has been wrong with this club. How many fans knew within their guts that Bent would make a marked difference? The answer: too many. How many knew the club wouldn’t thrive under onwership so distant and cold?
We’ve become a cliche, and something has to give.
Ellis, sell this club to those that want nothing but the best for this city. Please, we implore you. Sell this club to a group in touch with the fans. Sell us to someone with a steady, solid plan for our future.