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Thirty Years of Hurt... have you ever tried supporting Sunderland?

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So to all the Liverpool fans pontificating about their thirty years of hurt, you should try to be a Sunderland fan for a while - only then you might understand what real hurt is.

Sunderland v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

I am a massive fan of this Liverpool team. It is hard not to enjoy watching them. They are exciting, effervescent and almost have a subtle elegance in the way they play the game. They also fully deserved their title win. You would find it hard to find someone who would dispute this, even the staunchest of Manchester United or Everton supporter.

After Chelsea’s defining victory against Manchester City last week, Liverpool and their fans finally got their moment, their holy grail. A moment they say they have been waiting for, for an eternity. That being said, the emotional out pour and overreaction by some that riddled my social media timeline was embarrassing.

Thirty years of hurt they said, years of pain they said.

Give me a break.

It wouldn’t be the 21st century social climate if every victory had not a sob story attached to it. The determination by some to sugar coat this title winning victory for the Scousers as some sort of victory for the little man or the underdog is bemusing and bewildering. From 1990-Present, Liverpool have won one Premier League, two Champions Leagues, four League Cups, three FA Cups, one World Club Cup, one UEFA Cup & three UEFA Super Cups.

I haven’t even mentioned the Community Shield!

If that is what hurt is, I would gladly have suffered thirty years of this or even half of that. Supporters of clubs around England, not just Sunderland, would adore to have had even a fraction of this success.

Whilst every club has had its issues, I encounter difficulty in discovering a club which has had more hurt in the past few years that Sunderland Association Football Club.

And so I ask Liverpool fans... have you ever tried supporting Sunderland AFC?

I am only twenty-five years of age. I would call myself a positive, enthusiastic, glass half full kind of guy but this football club has tried it’s very best to bring me and the rest of the fan base on a journey of endless despair and misery. Below are only some of the reasons why this football club is one that has suffered more than most.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Dave Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images

Relegations

Labelled as a yo-yo club by many, Sunderland bounced between the Premier league and Division one (now the Championship) for years. Since 1990, we have suffered six relegations, including our harrowing relegation to League One in 2018.

Along with these, we originally went close to an unwanted visit to third tier football under Mick Buxton before Peter Reid saved the day.

It is unfortunate that I must point that the majority of these relegations were without much of a fight also, finishing in the bottom position almost always.


Charlatans, wasters and pure rubbish

Reflecting back on our transfer business over the past thirty years is almost comparable to looking at the Z list of footballers you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

How can one club get it so wrong, so often?

The majority of the rubbish we’ve signed occurred in more recent years. Sunderland have had it all. Players refusing to play for the club, players not showing up to training, others who would get drunk in public and slate their fellow teammates to fans, while also drinking on the morning of a game and crashing into cars en route.

Manager after manager, chairman after chairman, we threw outrageous amounts of money at players who did not warrant half the amounts that were on offer. They did not want be here. These players arrived here on their holidays, stinking up the whole city with their pathetic attitude and zero respect to their profession. We became an easy touch for these players, and I still do not know if we have learnt our lesson. Only time will tell.

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Chairmen

The actions of a careless billionaire and a pair of southern cowboys have eliminated any sort of endearment or enthusiasm I would have towards future football club owners. This club has been bruised badly by Ellis Short and, in more recent times, the chuckle brothers - Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven.

Ellis Short took over full time from Niall Quinn and the Drumaville consortium around the turn of the decade. It cannot be suggested that Short did not show ambition to improve the club or spend money. He certainly spent money. This became all too clear in more recent times when we spent millions on garbage. As we all know, Ellis Short surrounded himself with men and women who did not care enough about how the money was spent as it was not their own. He, and the club, paid the ultimate price where enough was enough for Ellis, and he pulled the plug on any business being done.

Short’s negligence in the latter years almost did more damage to the club than good. He became absent, disinterested and aloof. This led to an abundance of issues at the club where managers like Chris Coleman had almost nothing to work with. You would wonder would we be in League One if Coleman was given even a small bit of financial backing in that January transfer window.

Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven eventually took over from Ellis Short in 2018. These two presented themselves as two fastidious men showing grave concern for their club and promising to turn this ship around. They fooled the fans and performed some credible PR stunts to get the fans onside.

As a fanbase, we were longing for some positivity, some change and ultimately some hope. Donald and Methven appeared to be giving us this hope that we so longed for.

It wasn’t for long.

Liverpool FC v CR Flamengo - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Between newspaper interviews, podcasts and tweets, these two were caught up in a knot that they could just not untangle. The consistent PR disasters have quickly found out these two men as a duo who simply didn’t have a long term plan.

Enough is enough.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in relation to the issues that this club has faced. Without mentioning the fact that we had a manager who was tarnished by his supposed fascist beliefs, a Director of Football who bought any player across Europe he could get his hands on and the fact our star player ended up in jail - this club has had enough.

The half-truths and spin is something that hurts more than most, especially with our current owners. They were unwarranted and unnecessary. As a fan base, we do not expect trophies, nor do we expect consistent success. We expect respect, commitment and passion from players and leaders above them at the club.

For too long now we have been misled, looked down upon and treated like mugs. The hurt has to stop. It is imperative that this club is put into hands of people who care - people who want to be here for the right reasons on and off the pitch. If the Netflix documentary showed one thing, it was the incredible passion and support that this club has.

We deserve better and deserve it now.

So to all the Liverpool fans pontificating about their thirty years of hurt, you should try to be a Sunderland fan for a while - only then you might understand what real hurt is.