You may have already read in the Sunderland Twitter-sphere about how the pitch and playing conditions in Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle was a metaphor for Sunderland’s campaign. The reason is, it’s the truth.
The rain which fell before the match definitely had many of us concerned. The hope was that the game would go ahead, giving us the chance to build on a 3-0 win on the road at AFC Wimbledon.
The pitch passed inspections and, despite the relentless downfalls, the game was completed and Sunderland slumped to a fourth home defeat of the season. The abysmal performance on a shocking playing surface means that we are now without a home win since 3 November. That’s three points picked up from a possible 18 since that 2-1 victory against Ipswich.
A major problem with our poor run of form is that it’s not just the results that are bad, it’s the performances. Watching Sunderland has become a loveless chore. Seeing so many woeful turnouts, in an empty Stadium of Light on a dire pitch is no longer enjoyable. In fact, it hasn’t been for weeks.
Failing to beat bog-standard sides is becoming a worrying recurrence for Sunderland. Plymouth hadn’t won in 11 away matches before last Tuesday’s win; they left Wearside with three of the easiest points they’ll pick up all season.
Football is the least of most people’s priorities at the moment, but for any Sunderland fan looking for an escape watching their team play is not the answer.
Watching us play is neither relaxing nor enjoyable, and it just seems to get you thinking about how far we have fallen as a club and how, with each farcical performance, how far we are from having a club we can once again be proud of.
Sunderland have quickly turned into a team which is easy to dislike. We have become a side which is a pain to watch, and which couldn’t feel much further away from a promotion push.
Playing poorly but grinding out three points is okay, but this isn’t something we’ve been able to hack on a regular enough basis since dropping into League One. Playing poorly and losing as a team in this division is not something we should become acclimated to.
Although I do believe that Lee Johnson, given time, can turn things around and get us heading back in the direction, the squad he has inherited is one of a mid-table League One side, which is about right as we have spent a lot of this season as a mid-table League One team.
I don’t think I’ve ever had less interest in watching Sunderland play than I do at present. That’s probably got something to do with the missing out on everything else which the matchday experience involves, but our performances on the pitch aren’t helping that.
I want this to change soon, but our latest home defeat doesn’t bode well for this changing anytime soon.