The season is over for most teams in League One, but not for us.
It has not been a great season. 15 games in, Parkinson was sacked and with Johnson just appointed, we were in 9th looking up at the playoffs with hope and trepidation. After 26 games, a 2-1 loss at Shrewsbury in February, and heads were shaking all. Sat in 7th place looking up at the playoffs at the business end of the season is not where you want to be.
Then a great run. Automatic Promotion seemed a real possibility.
After the cup win (!), some misguided pundits were expecting us to win every game until the end of the season. But a season with a salary cap - where we challenged, but lifted too late to do anything about the effects -is a great leveller and nobody in the league really stood out.
Everyone is vulnerable.
The day we got beat by The Shrews, Lincoln were three points clear at the top, eleven ahead of us, with a game in hand on the chasing pack. We finished on the same points, with both us and them right out of form. The play-offs are there for the taking by both teams, although I think we have a better overall squad than the Imps, and expect to win over the course of two games - two games where a few of us can be at the match!
Like most of the ITHICS collective, I don’t live in the North East.
Like most of the ITHICS collective, I am also a season ticket holder in the North Stand (which in my head is the Fulwell End, where I used to stand in days gone by). I only get to half of the home game in a normal season, but when I noticed that the play-offs would be allowed to have fans, I know I wouldn’t be missing this one.
The ticketing was a bit discriminatory against those who do not use the internet. You had to buy online – no box office or telephone line - and you had to have held the season ticket through the 2020/2021 season. There are 11,000 of us did that, in the knowledge we probably wouldn’t get to see a game, although I saw more than usual as I streamed them all. 11,000 season ticket holders and 10,000 tickets. I connected early and got a good place in the queue and waited and waited and waited.
I’m in! Success. Pick your ticket (North Stand please).
Woo Hoo! I’m going to a match!
I’M GOING TO A F***ING MATCH!
I’ll be watching the first leg at the Southwark Brewery in South London, owned by a life-long Sunderland fan, then travelling up to Sunderland to see my mam, grab a ham and pease pudding stottie (with a pink slice for afters), and go to watch a footy match. Haway man - let's hope we can gan to another live match the following week, in North London!