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Reader’s Corner: “We’re two games into the league season, and the negativity isn’t justified”

RR reader Alex Shaw feels that the players, coaches and backroom staff deserve backing and patience as we try and get our 2023/2024 campaign off and running.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

‘The players aren’t good enough’

‘Tony Mowbray doesn’t know what he’s doing’

‘Why aren’t we spending any money?’

‘These kids should be ashamed of themselves’

‘Looks like we’re getting relegated again’

‘Why do we bother? We’re always gonna be s**t’.

During the last four weeks, I’ve heard all of these things said by people who call themselves Sunderland fans. I’ve been a supporter all my life and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing the same kind of comments every season.

Don’t get me wrong, most Sunderland fans are great.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Most of them back the club through thick and thin, and tens of thousands drag themselves to the Stadium of Light or follow the team around the country to cheer them on come rain or shine.

However, there have always been a very vocal minority who are a problem.

They’re the fans who look for a reason to be miserable, who seem to revel in the club’s failures, refuse to believe that the club can do anything right, and find some way to turn every positive into something to complain about.

Last season, the club backed the youngsters to step up. They challenged them to prove how good they were, and the players reacted.

A squad that most pundits thought would be fighting against relegation ended up coming within spitting distance of pulling off a miracle. Most of us were overjoyed and excited to see what the players had done, and eager to see where we could go from there.

Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

However, for the ‘fans’, it was either a fluke that only happened because other clubs underestimated us and went easy as a result, or was proof that we would’ve been promoted if the board had spent more money.

This summer, we’ve signed a number of young players who’ve shown promise in their careers so far, and an experienced head in Bradley Dack to steady the ship.

The overall squad is stronger than it was and with more strength in depth. It’s still in need of a proper striker, but on the whole it’s heading in the right direction.

For some, though, the young players aren’t good enough.

They’re unproven, they’ll never improve, and they ignore the fact that in recent years, the club has repeatedly shown they can find good talent and develop it.

They whine that we haven’t replaced Amad, but they forget that there are still three weeks until the transfer window closes and that we didn’t sign him until August 31 last summer.

Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

They moan about not having signed a striker when the club has repeatedly said they’re working on it and trying to find the right player without being ripped off. You just know that these ‘fans’ would be thrilled if we threw millions at somebody who didn’t perform, because it would give them something to complain about.

After our first match against Ipswich, most of us saw that we actually played a good game.

We were the better side, we played some nice football, and we just lacked firepower at the top end. It was still a good performance, and there are a lot of matches to go.

The ‘fans’ saw a loss, and nothing more than that.

They saw proof that we needed more money, more signings, and fewer youngsters. To them, it was confirmation that the season’s already over, that we’re going to achieve nothing and that we’re probably going to get relegated.

It gave them something to be miserable about, and nothing makes them happier.

If you’re one of those supporters, why not try supporting the team for once?

Show some faith in the players who are yet to let the club down, in the head coach who’s proven himself to be capable and level-headed, the coaches who’ve helped our players grow and develop, and the backroom staff who’ve been consistently finding the right players for the right price.

Maybe if you try looking for the positives instead of the negatives, you’ll find that supporting the club is a lot more enjoyable than you remember.


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