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Now’s the time for Sunderland fans to ‘keep the faith’ - unfortunately, it’s all we’ve got

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, our club does something else ridiculous. But it is OURS, and we’ll be here at Sunderland a long time after our current owners have departed. 

Soccer - FA Cup - Semi Final - Sunderland v Arsenal Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images

During this enforced break, you’d have thought the owners would have taken an approach of silence. Don’t fuel the flames. Work diligently behind the scenes on two fronts: One, selling the club. Two, getting the team in the best possible position so that whenever the new season starts, and whatever guise that may be in, we’re ready.

Instead, frustratingly, we’ve had to listen to the tormentor in chief, the incredibly bad at PR PR guru, Charlie Methven, tell us we’ve forced the last five owners out, that we’re solely responsible for the club being up for sale (despite the evidence of the Mark Campbell takeover last year), and we have no patience.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The former two points have been very well addressed in our most recent podcast, with Craig, Rich and Chris showing them up for what they are – downright lies.

However, the notion we have no patience is nonsensical.

We Are In The Third Division

Of course, as a team, we deserve to be here. And as a club, we deserve to be here, because of the monumental mess firstly Ellis Short and now Stewart Donald have made.

But as an institution. As a fan base. We don’t deserve to be here. Not at all.

And we shouldn’t stand for it.

But we’ve patiently supported them as they got us to refit seats. Patiently bought season cards and match day tickets. Patiently watched as our best players are sold.

In some ways, we’ve been too patient.

What Methven is referring to when he talks about patience stems from expectation.

Is a desire, an expectation, to get out of the Third Division within two seasons (as we were promised) unreasonable? If it is, we should all pack up and go home now.

We are not impatient. It’s not unreasonable. It never will be. It can never be allowed to be.

In reality, if Charles hadn’t piped up again, Bali Mumba hadn’t been sold, and Jim Rodwell made a complete, total and utter disaster of a very simple task, we probably wouldn’t be talking too much about the owners this week.

But we are. And it just goes to underline their incompetence and reinforce their total unsuitability to have anything to do with SAFC.

Mumba’s departure symbolises everything that’s wrong

On face value, I don’t feel strongly about Mumba departing. I thought he looked out of his depth when he was played in the first team, and for 18 months he’s been nowhere near getting a place in Jack Ross’s side, or Phil Parkinson’s.

Walsall v Sunderland: The Emirates FA Cup Second Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

However, his sale frustrates on two levels. One, his lack of development in our youth set up – he has completely stagnated – if not regressed – in a set up full of, losers. Literally. The record of the under 23s and under 18s has been appalling.

Secondly, and most frustratingly, his sale is yet another sale of a young, promising player. We’ve talked before about Logan Pye, Sam Greenwood, Joe Hugill etc, but here’s another player who we’ve sold at the first available opportunity, with seemingly little or no attempt to keep them.

Mumba’s departure is symbolic of yet another youngster being let go for a pittance and a youth system that has brought through some world-class players recently being left to go to rack and ruin.

Patience? Expectation? Well, yes. Fair cop.

My expectation is we keep hold of our best players to develop them into first-teamers who can excel with us and, depending on where we are, can stay or be sold to a better team.

If that expectation is unrealistic, then what is the point of having a youth system in the first place?

Future. What future?

Make no mistake, this club is a pretty serious mess. From top to bottom, left to right.

My concern is that Methven’s accusations that the fans have forced out five owners and have no patience, will become the perceived truth. That it will sow seeds of doubt for prospective owners.

Maybe that’s his aim.

Whatever the reality of the situation is, there’s one thing for certain. We’ll be here long after Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori have disappeared.

And, for any prospective owner reading this, let’s get the facts straight.

All we ask from anyone involved in the club is honesty and 100% effort. Commitment and desire. If you deliver those, everything else takes care of itself.

Take the time to understand the club and its supporters. Bring in people who know the club. Only then will you get to its heart.

If you’re still reading this (thank you if you are) remember:

The club IS the supporters.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It’s ours.

It’s you. It’s me. Brother and sisters. Our parents. Our grandparents. Our kids.

It’s the former players who do genuinely care about it.

This club needs you. It needs us. Now more than ever.

Keep the faith.

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