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29/07/17 DAFABET CUP .SUNDERLAND v CELTIC.STADIUM OF LIGHT - SUNDERLAND .Sunderland fans applaud in tribute to young fan Bradley Lowery

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Editorial: I’m going to happy-clap my way through the rest of the season... care to join me?!

It was inevitable that we’d stumble, and we may stumble again. But until it’s impossible for us to get promoted, we have to believe. We have to dream that we’ll be sat here in the summer talking about our plans for the Championship.

Photo by Craig Foy - SNS Group\SNS Group via Getty Images

The Devil perched on my right shoulder is shouting angrily at me about the fact that we’ve taken just one point from a possible six in our last two games, and that it’s disappointing.

The Angel on my left shoulder, however, keeps reminding me that the Charlton defeat ended a 13 game unbeaten run that extends back two months - and we should be proud.

Now the old me, the one used to being disappointed by absolutely everything the club does, probably would have taken the negative stance on matters. I’d probably rip into the players and the manager, and point to this as them bottling a fantastic opportunity.

Things have changed, though, and perspective is important right now for us Sunderland fans. I’m confident that regardless of what happens from here, we’re in great hands and the future is bright under this owner, regardless of whether we go up or not.

That peace of mind allows us to think with a clearer head.

It’s important really that we take a step back, we take a breath and we realise what the task at hand is. We can still get promoted and have seven more opportunities to solidify our credentials. We still have to play Hull, and we have a game in hand to play on Tuesday.

Had you offered me this situation we’re facing even two months ago, I would have snapped your arm off for it. I imagine we all would have.

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

Is there any real point, at this stage, in pouring too much over negatives? In questioning the manager and his decisions; in tearing strips off under-performing players? I can’t believe that I’m actually saying this, but I’d argue no - there’s no point. Until we have kicked our last ball this season and our fate has been decided, there really is no merit in carrying out an inquest into things that have gone wrong.

There’s no other way really of putting this than to say that I think that the best thing we can do, as fans, is to agree collectively to put absolutely everything that we’ve got into offering the club, the players and the management positive support.

We have seven games left and the only real influence we can have on these players and their morale is by the way in which we speak and communicate as a fanbase online, because we cannot be there in person.

We cannot stand behind them at games, and cheer them on.

We cannot celebrate with them.

We cannot be the ‘12th man’, and suck the ball into the back of the net.

It’s rubbish, and we all know that it is, but we just cannot be supporters in the traditional sense. What we can do though is be with them every step of the way. We can retain our belief in their ability to get the job done come the end of the season.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was inevitable that we’d stumble, and we may stumble again. But until it’s impossible for us to get promoted, we have to believe. We have to dream that we’ll be sat here in the summer talking about our plans for the Championship.

If you felt frustrated by Saturday’s result then you were absolutely right to feel that way. I was just as pissed off as everyone else. But maybe we have to think, as individuals, about the way we channel that anger and frustration when bad moments arise.

There’s a time and a place for intense critique, and I’m not sure that time is now.

I think back to the 2013/14 season under Gus Poyet. Funnily, today is the anniversary of the Everton defeat where it looked as though we were all but down.

Poyet came out after the game prior at Spurs and talked about how we’d need a miracle to survive. What followed cannot really be explained - the collective belief returned.

Suddenly the entire fanbase was on the same page. The players were able to perform an actual miracle, because we all believed that it was possible.

We had challenge after challenge in our way, but with our positivity and never-say-die attitude, we tackled each of them head on and we ultimately did what we set out to achieve.

Maybe there’s a lesson in that. If we believe, if we support and we channel our positive energy towards the club and the players this season, we will do it. I’m sure of it.


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