Walking through Wembley Way in the aftermath of what I can only describe as a complete capitulation wasn’t a memory I wanted, and it’s not one I’ll cherish. Boxed in by long faces and heavy hearts I couldn’t help but wonder about the Sunderland faithful as they shambled like the undead. I’m put in mind of a defeated army, broken and stumbling away from the horrors they’ve endured. The fickle English weather opens up and even the rain seems like it’s had it’s fill of coming down on us. What a f*cking day mate.
Everyone and his dog has a place to lay the blame. I’ve chosen Ross as much as anyone because the buck stops there, but what does it matter? The dust settles and we’re all left to suck it in through gritted teeth. Another slog through the mud with no end in sight.
So I turn my mind to wonder what are we, as fans? What do we stand for? What is the purpose of this endeavour if it isn’t good times and something to shout about? For all that our owner is a class act and the debt is past, what purpose?
The suggestion that Sunderland fans could and should simply turn up week after week because that’s what good fans do is a farce and an insult. That’s not passion - that’s just a bad habit that’ll ruin you as readily as tabs and tinnies. Simply showing up in numbers isn’t what defines us.
But being ready and willing to go again is a curse, a duty and - God help me - a privilege. Not because I expect things to change but because not one of the fans - people that don’t have the promise of glory and riches waiting for them at the end of the battle - ever will. Call it wanton defiance; call it sadomasochism; call it having f*ck all else to do; year in and year out, rain or shine, good or bad, Sunderland fans line up to show their colours and do their duty, and all they ask for in return is some f*cking heart. I saw none of that today, and it should be a matter of personal shame to each and every man on that pitch with the weight of a city on their shoulders that they failed so utterly and conclusively to give that simple gift.
I wish I had some comforting words or a reasonable excuse to give you for the sh*t you went through today and throughout this seemingly endless night. I don’t. I’ve got a whole bunch of sorrows to drown and waxing lyrical won’t see them dead.
So goodnight for another season, Sunderland. Just don’t f*ck it up next time.