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Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Carabao Cup - Fourth Round - Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

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Dare to Dream! Nights like that are what football is about when you support a club like ours

Other clubs might not treat the cup competitions with any respect, but Sunderland most definitely have this season - nights like last night are what you live for as a football fan.

Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Ask fans of Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Wolves, Norwich and Watford if they wish they could have swapped places with our lot at Loftus Road, and I bet the vast majority of them would have snapped your arm off for the chance.

Whether you play in the Premier League or League One, you follow your team up and down the country in the hope that one day, you’ll see them do something.

Sunderland have, this season, been immense in the League Cup.

Hey, we might not win it - the odds are massively against us, given we’re the lowest ranked side left in the competition - but why not give it a bloody good go?

Not enough teams do, and that’s sad.

Because for clubs like Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Wolves, Norwich and Watford, this is the best chance that they’ll get to win anything at all.

Fans of all clubs just want to live out those moments - falling all over the place in the stands, chanting the name of their team proudly, and celebrating with the players at the end.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Whether you’re in the top flight, League One, the National League or the Northern League, that’s all you crave - those sweet, brilliant memories that live long in your mind.

They make all the shit you’ve put up with over the years worth it.

And we might not even advance further than the quarter finals, but that’s not the point - for a third-tier team to make it as far as we have shows we’ve taken the competition seriously, and have shown in the respect that it deserves.

Maybe if clubs like Newcastle United had done the same, their fans too would be celebrating cup progression like ours did last night, singing and dancing in a packed away end.

But this isn’t about anyone else - this is about Sunderland.

This year, something is different. This team is different. This manager is different.

We have to accept that we will lose games like we did on Saturday occasionally, but what is important is that in the vast majority of them, we turn up, we work hard and we win.

That’s what we did at Loftus Road - we gave a good account of ourselves, saw the ninety minutes out, and then won the penalty shootout. Job done.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It hasn’t escaped my notice that after each disappointing result this season we’ve followed it up with a good win - it shows the character and mentality of the group, that they’re able to respond in the best possible fashion.

Lee Johnson was beaming after the game, and rightly so - he knows how special that was for the travelling Sunderland supporters... all 2800 of them.

He and his players treated the competition with respect - and, to be fair to Queens Park Rangers, so did they. They’re flying in the league and have another game on Friday night, but Mark Warburton still picked his strongest side.

You have to give credit to us, given we managed to stave them off. Alright, we got a tad fortunate with their disallowed goal, but sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t - just like on Saturday, where absolutely nowt went our way.

Sometimes it’s your day, sometimes it isn’t - on Tuesday, it was our day.

So drink it in, enjoy it. Savour it for a few days and then re-focus on our next game - Saturday at Rotherham is going to be very tough, and winning there will be huge for our promotion chances, especially given the fact Wigan lost one of their games in hand.

But, dare to dream - because what else can you do?

That’s what supporting Sunderland is all about.


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