Naive, irrational, expectant: summing up Sunderland fans ahead of Goodison?


There may be a Carling Cup match to preoccupy fans of the Manchester clubs and even Surly Alex Ferguson. But for fans of Sunderland AFC, the only match that really matters will be taking place 34 miles or so to the west …

As responses to a shocking FA Cup exit at Portsmouth go, buying a ticket for the next game at Pompey – not even two weeks away – may seem irrational. I have just ordered mine.

As a logical approach to tonight’s Premier League tie against Everton, putting money on anything other than another Sunderland defeat might seem naive. I was toying with the idea of a fiver on the unexpected away win.

As we saw in the excellent Salut! Sunderland headine (not mine) above Malcolm Dawson’s report from Fratton Park at the weekend, Sunderland expects. It makes us naive and irrational, but we expect.

We continually foster unrealistic expectations of SAFC. We know we’re really a big club that just hasn’t had a big team for a while. We pray that more good times are just around the corner, even when our heads tell us – as Scott’s head told him for his instant reaction to the Portsmouth cup defeat – that they’re not around any corner coming up soon, not now any more than they were in however many decades we may have been following our team.

The longer-in-the-tooth supporters among us try to restrain any unwarranted excitement over the short-term future just because someone very rich has come in with lofty ambitions for the club and money to back up his dreams.

But still we hope. We hope, today, that for once, our team will actually go out and play well for a whole game, defence and midfield as well as attack doing the required job. We hope not to have to read yet more explanations from Steve Bruce, tonight or tomorrow, on why we weren’t up to it at Goodison and how we just have to get back to the training ground and put things right. We hope to get the kind of result that does NOT guarantee ultra-nervy performances at home to Stoke and Wigan and, yes, away again at Portsmouth on Feb 9.

Any chance of obliging, Steve and the Lads?

Colin Randall<>/author

2 thoughts on “Naive, irrational, expectant: summing up Sunderland fans ahead of Goodison?”

  1. Great, thoughtful post, Tom. The quality of play has been unacceptable, and the commitment in question, for large parts of this season, even on two or three of the occasions that we’ve won.
    It never ceases to amaze me that opposing fans still put us quite high in the league when invited to make predictionsin the Who are You? series for where we’ll end up come May.

  2. Aside from the question of ‘Are Sunderland fans naive, irrational or expectant?’, the least we should all expect is one hundred per cent effort and a team of highly paid players giving everything to the cause. The contrast last weekend, as one example, between Sunderland’s limp, disjointed and unacceptable ‘performance’ [as in lack of one] against angst-ridden, skint and potentially skid-row-headed Pompey and Stoke’s high tempo, gutsy, committed and brilliantly organised victory over Arsenal [wasn’t Arsene’s face a picture as Whitehead killed them off] was remarkable.
    SAFC were almost back at full strength, yet there was no way we had anything like Stoke’s desire or drive, and that is alarming because we are led to believe that our ambitions centre on getting up around the likes of Spurs and Villa etc. prior to embarking on a higher echelon magic carpet ride.
    Stoke by the way have some good players that we should be interested in such as Shawcross and Etherington [oh how our strikers are crying out for a touchline hugging winger to deliver ‘killer’ crosses with pace and power], for example.
    I accept Sunderland have been unlucky with injuries but the lack of bite, genuine endeavour and organisation of late has been worrying and is in total contrast to those early season outings at Man United and at the SoL v Arsenal and Liverpool.
    So when we step out at Goodison tonight, the least we should see is pure, unadulterated effort and a well set up side. It is surely not naive, irrational or over expectant to witness such basic traits, surely?

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