Q: How gutted do you think you’d be if we lose in the cup final? How much does winning this game mean to you?
James Smith says...
Tim Cahill. Gus Poyet playing a weakened side. Betrayal by my own father.
Over the course of my life supporting Sunderland, these are things that have barred my walking down Wembley way, cheesy chips in hand, surrounded by a sea of red and white.
But now my time has come to watch the team I love at the home of football, and no one can take that pride and joy away from me.
For me it is all about the event. I couldn’t care less what trophy we are playing for or who we are playing - it’s Sunderland AFC at Wembley. As I have no interest in going to watch England v San Did-you-know-the-fullback’s-a-plumber? in some turgid Euro qualifier affair, an excuse to go to watch football at Wembley doesn’t come around everyday.
Whatever the result is at the final whistle, I’m making sure I enjoy myself. Barring an abject performance of biblical proportions that ends in George Honeyman pronouncing his undying love for Newcastle, I can’t see much souring my mood.
Let’s see it for the one off occasion it is; let’s not let it be muddled into the waters of form and confidence and where it leaves us psychologically for the promotion push. Moments like these are for enjoyment, so lets just enjoy it.
It’s Wembley Stadium, and teams don’t get there that often… just look at them lot up the road.
Mark Carrick says...
This cup final IS a big deal. I know it’s the Checkatrade and I know it’s pale cousin to the League Cup, let alone the FA Cup. But it’s a cup final and one Sunderland have a great chance of winning.
Moreover it’s one we perhaps need to win to ensure we turn the corner of recent historical negativity for good.
In 2014 against Man City we had as much chance as we had in 1992 against Liverpool. Both Wembley finals were amazing for the fact Sunderland made it, but to win it was akin to the 1973 Cup Final shock.
Now, in 2019, we have a great chance. A realistic chance. We probably had that in 1985 against Norwich and losing that final was awful. Far, far worse than ‘92 or ‘14 for the fact we were equal to our opponents that day.
March 31st sees two well-matched sides compete for the trophy. We may have a slight advantage when league position and current form is taken into account, but this is a one-off game and realistically either side could win.
Make no mistake, if Sunderland fail to lift the trophy it’ll be a huge blow. Perhaps a blow to morale for the run-in. A bigger blow if we end up in the play-offs, potentially against the same side in the same venue. A blow to the owners and management how have successfully begin to rebuild this great football club. A huge blow to the players who may never experience a cup final again in their careers. A blow to fans who, rightly and justifiably, arrive at Wembley in expectation rather than hope.
Winning this game means more than just silverware. It is a recognition that the tide has turned; that Sunderland are moving in the right direction. Sure, I’d be gutted to lose a game I expect the team to win, but I’ll be devastated if it throws the club off course.
In my opinion, winning is of huge importance to both the day and the immediate ambitions of Sunderland AFC.
Morgan Lowrie says...
Looking back at the impact made by reaching the League Cup final during the Poyet era, it was obviously massive in terms of the players going on to achieve their goal of staving off relegation when we, at various points, looked dead and buried. The difference between those squads, other than the obvious gulf in league status and ability, is that this squad has a point to prove.
That should will them on to win and push the club on to promotion to the championship, which is why it would be most disappointing if they didn’t managed to claim the victory.
A win - albeit in a different competition - should set down a marker to our chasers and opponents Portsmouth, placing further pressure on Barnsley and Luton above us with a large amount of games in hand.
In that sense it would be gutting to lose the final as it would likely impact our league campaign negatively which, if we’re all honest, matters a whole lot more than a Checkatrade trophy final.
Seeing Sunderland win at Wembley is something only a small amount of living fans have had the joy to witness in person, so it’s important that this new era of the club shows that we are a team that is accustomed to success and winning trophies, regardless of which one it is. As the old saying goes, start as you mean to go on.
Matty Crichton says...
I would be devastated if we lost!
At the start of the year I was not as bothered - Whilst I thought it would be great to win a trophy and for the fans to have a few days in the capital, I wasn’t especially bothered if we had been knocked out in an earlier round.
But, now that we’ve made the final, I want to see goals and witness George Honeyman lift the trophy with pride. Yes, it isn’t the FA or League Cup - everyone loves to remind us of our fast demotion down to the third tier - but for me a trophy is a trophy, and if it is up for grabs I want to see us win it.
The players have the chance to give the fans a day they’ll never forget, plus for some of our team it could be the first and last piece of silverware that they win. After years of suffering I think it is about time we had something to be proud of.
Winning the EFL Trophy would give everyone involved with Sunderland a lift. The confidence taken from being able to beat a promotion rival on the big stage at Wembley could be the boost we need to secure our promotion back to the Championship.
If things go to plan we won’t have to play in this tournament ever again - so kissing it goodbye with the trophy in our hands sounds great to me!