So the season’s a third over, we’ve struggled at home and failed to win away. Steve Bruce’s new signings have proved deeply disappointing and the quality of play is generally abysmal.
Then, you might argue, would be the time for the boo boys to vent their anger at the manager and his team. If they thought it would do the least bit of good.
But what, for heaven’s sake, inspires people who purport to live and breathe Sunderland AFC to get the retaliation in as early as the third pre-season friendly?
Pete Sixsmith heard from a friend present at last night’s (apparently) unimpressive 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion in Albufeira that Bruce and Titus Bramble, seated next to each other, were subjected to “dog’s abuse from some so-called Sland supporters”.
As Rob Hutchison put it in a comment to the piece about Bramble’s imminent signing: “Now is not the time to judge Bruce. Booing last night in Portugal and chucking out abuse was a disgrace. Once the transfer window has closed then it will be time to judge on players wearing the shirt on (a) Saturday, and performances.”
And Bob Stokoe’s Hat, at the Ready To Go, Pure Football message board, adds: “A group of a***holes who were p***** and made a complete feckin shambles of themselves and brought disrepute to genuine Sunderland fans who were there. Through out the first half they bombarded Steve Bruce and Titus Bramble with disgusting bordering on racists obscenities, an absolute embarrassment! I spoke to certain members of the Sunderland staff at half time and apologised … (it was) confirmed to me that Steve Bruce and Titus and all the other players could hear what was being said.”
Fans have a point when they say that in view of all the money and effort they put into supporting their club, they are fully entitled to voice their opinions, however strongly, when things go wrong. But it’s July, not mid-October. These people chose to follow SAFC on the friendly trail because it was going to a good place to be at the height of summer. Can’t they just get a grip and enjoy being in the Algarve?
Peter Reid could have written this article, having been in the receiving end of similarly ill-tempered, and I would say mindless, abuse on an overseas pre-season trip several seasons ago.
But I don’t know what he – or Bruce – would make of the way I intend to conclude these thoughts: Salut! Sunderland is willing to publish a reasoned riposte by anyone willing to come forward, take responsibility for and justify giving such grief to the manager and a likely new recruit who must have been left wondering what he’s letting himself in for.
The e-mail address is towards the top of the lefthand column. I don’t expect to be knocked down in the rush.