No tears on Wearside, no easy headlines for lazy journalists. This was the least surprising outcome of yesterday afternoon. There’ll be no great escape this year.
With my birthday happening on 15thApril, I used to be fond of saying that we never lost after my birthday - not so this year. Not so the fairy tale papering over the cracks, to allow proper work to be done in the summer.
The truth is, with all those last-minute reprieves we endured over the last few years, the hard work never was done during the summer. No manager was allowed to strengthen.
No manager recently has been allowed to build his team during the summer and plan for the new season. And when they were (Paolo Di Canio, perhaps?) they blew the chairman’s faith in their ability to spend wisely.
How can such a successful financier be so blind when it comes to running a football club? Putting the wrong people into board-level positions and leaving them to get on with it with impunity has been just baffling. For that, read Margaret Byrne, Lee Congerton, De Fanti, Gary Hutchinson - when clearly they were flailing, they were not relieved of their roles.
Yesterday, even the mags that I met were subdued in their rubbing our noses in it. I was at a party in Newcastle and I fully expected to hear jeers and laughter pouring out of every bar on Percy Street, but there wasn’t a lot - although a few kids on skateboards were laughing, it was all a bit half-hearted.
And all of the mags I bumped into in the pubs were sympathetic - maybe a case of ‘therefore by the grace of God, go I’?
“Sympathy? Pah! Give me your worst!” I thought defiantly. But no. And this is how we need to approach the next chapter of our history. We need to say, OK this is where we find ourselves. We’ll pick ourselves up, brush ourselves down and come back fighting.
But first, there has to be some kind of confirmation who is going to be in charge at the top - because if Short is still the owner, I can’t that see we have reached the bottom of our abyss just yet.
Time is ticking. I want Chris Coleman to stay - he’s a good manager. But the work for next season starts now. Well, it does if we want to make a decent effort of it.