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Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp

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What else is there to do on a Saturday?!

When the fixtures are done and the dust settles - due to all these outside forces and the chaos - I’m left flailing about, especially on a Saturday.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The world is f*cked.

I mutter this to myself most mornings and most nights as I let yet more bad news wash over me like a shower of shit. The current national pastime is trying to avoid the shit we’re all bathing in - a period of deep political and cultural polarisation, bitter and divisive ideological disputes, and national crises.

We’ve all got a tale of woe to tell, we’re all as exhausted with the current crisis as we were the last. We can’t help but watch it unfold of course, like scratching at the open wound within society awaiting whatever entirely predictable and ridiculous hysteria or utter disaster comes screaming forth next - into our living rooms, our workplaces, our vehicles and our day to day lives.

Half the reason I’m so fixated on the negative right now is out of necessity, circumstance and habit. The other half I would say, in its entirety, is because of the fact the season has ended and we’re waiting for the next to begin.

I’ve spent time away from groups and socials for a short while due to life being the way it is - generally difficult most of the time - but it always feels like I’ve been away an eternity.

Always waiting, we in the Sunlun fanbase hover around social media like beady-eyed vultures awaiting a sign of any carrion at all (geddit) and just squawking about shit we wouldn’t normally bother with in the absence of anything from the club but the occasional shot of training and the usual post/preseason marketing - however little of it there is.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

I’m not impatient, not at all regarding transfers and the like - I’m very happy with the squad despite what we’re lacking currently, I’m happy to wait for more gems to be unearthed and lads to be picked up by Alex Neil, Speakman and his recruitment team.

I’ve got no issues with any of the players we do have - and by now I’d usually be aching to dispose of a few to break the monotony - I’m happy with the squad before I’ve seen it filled, and I’m not really concerned about the season ahead at all.

But it won’t switch off, will it? That obsession with everything red and white, that search for news and escape - falling in and out of random debates all the while - and opening/closing your social media accounts and chats expecting it to be any different than it was 30 seconds before.

It’s not really that a silence or absence of any kind is the problem - we’re all pretty aware of everything these days - it’s in the overwhelming presence of noise from everywhere and everyone, and often the loudest voice is your own. It gets louder still inside your own mind, screaming at you to do something when - as is often the case - you can’t do a thing but keep your head just above the waterline. You want it to go away, even if you’re part of the chorus of outrage and despair in society, you just want to be able to - for say 90 minutes or just a moment - block it all out.

Letting the silence fall in your mind surrounding everything that’s f*cking you off and everything you have to deal with, and letting the roar of expectant jubilation drown out whatever shit left behind by whatever daft c*** you’ve had to deal with that week.

Periods of time like this just reinforce in my own mind how desperately addicted I am to our club.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Play Off - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

It reemphasizes the power Sunderland AFC has over my everyday life as I’m obsessed to the point of insanity. When the fixtures are done and the dust settles - due to all these outside forces and the chaos - I’m left flailing about, especially on a Saturday.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s quite simply that I don’t want to do anything besides jumping back into that bubble I’m most fond of.

The truly magical thing about football is that it can make you embrace that nutter you’ve always hated for whatever reason, that dafty who keeps slating your favourite player, the spenk who always digs at your opinions, all of them. You can lose yourself together like a bunch of ravers as the high hits, you can fight whatever fight another time.

Of course the minute the high ends you’ll be back to loggerheads, but it’s just nice for a bit isn’t it?

Wey, it’s not just ‘nice’ - it’s absolutely necessary to my psychological well-being and that’s probably an issue, but it’s the lesser of a great many evils.

What’s the point of this random as f*ck interjection in your day you might ask (you’d have every right to do so), and why am I telling you this?

Because I think a lot of you feel the same, and I like aggravating the ones who don’t.

Must be the voices…

Enjoy your weekend, fellow inmates.


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