There has been little news to cheer for Sunderland in recent times. It makes the Sunderland fans’ adulation of former hero and Academy graduate, Jordan Henderson all the more understandable. Indeed, Wednesday after Henderson had lifted the Premier League trophy as Liverpool Captain, social media was awash with congratulations from his fellow Mackems bursting with pride.
It was great to see, how all of Sunderland wish him well. Of course, he is one of us and that would go for all former Academy graduates with strong North East roots - presumably with a certain Jack Colback the only exception to that rule - right?
Well, surprisingly not, on the same night Henderson accumulated another chapter into Mackem folklore, another former midfielder was having a night to forget for George Honeyman suffered a second relegation with Hull City. While the two players are clearly world’s apart, so were the reactions by a section of Sunderland fans. With one nasty post contemptuously scoffing Honeyman’s move to Hull ending in relegation.
It’s odd when considering both Henderson and Honeyman have a lot in common in terms of their Sunderland careers. Both of them: came through the Academy, played over 70 games for the lads, midfield players who played more than one position, gave their all and were praised for their professional approach. Throughout their time with the Black Cats they were asked to play different roles without quarrel and both had some critics.
A player giving their heart and soul as well as feeling the same dejection as the fans, like Kevin Ball, was once all Sunderland asked - no longer.
We always pride ourselves in Sunderland that we look out for our own. Clearly, we praise what should be praised. Okay, so Honeyman’s time was during some of the club’s darkest days. But that doesn’t excuse a section of the city turning against ‘one of our own’ - surely.
I enjoy banter as much as the next fan and appreciate not all our players past or present are the most talented, but still can’t understand the long-held underlying nasty tone aimed at George Honeyman. We have enough troubles without turning against our own. It’s true, in Henderson we can be proud of the ‘Footballer of the Year’, who was fortunate his time at Sunderland coincided with our best spell after returning to the Premier League and broke through when Quinn’s Magic Carpet still promised so much...