Brighton v SAFC: disillusion and faith after the Newcastle letdown

Don’t want anyone else to feel worse but I just read this, from the BBC report of Man Utd 3 Spurs 0, with heavy heart: “With England coach Fabio Capello an interested observer, Danny Welbeck headed in Tom Cleverley’s cross just after the hour and the young striker then produced a wonderful instinctive flick to set up a second for Anderson” …

Passion comes in different forms, even among Sunderland supporters.

For the majority, maybe the vast majority, losing to Newcastle United- above all at home – is as bad as it gets. I loathe it, too, but it does not plunge me into quite the depth of despair into which so many fall.

Every defeat has a bleak impact on me. I cannot claim to be as greatly affected by losing a meaningless end-of-season game, as at Wolves the season before last, but it still leaves me glum for days.

Of course a derby defeat is worse, even for me. But it is something I would prepared to endure if it happened in the context of an otherwise great run. Coming up after Brighton tonight: Chelsea and Stoke City (both H); Norwich (A), WBA (H) and Arsenal (A).

I am probably in a minority of about five in saying I’d take last Saturday’s result as a regrettable trade-off for wins tonight and in those next five Premier games.

But that’s easy to say because we know it is not going to happen. Or is it? Remember how we bounced back from the St James’ Park humiliation last season, when Stoke and Chelsea were also among our forthcoming opponents … okay, that run of five is not going to produce 15 points but who knows what me might achieve if able to play at our best?

Visit the Salut! Sunderland Shop

Engraving to read: Salut! Sunderland - written with passion

Sunderland go to Brighton for tonight’s Carling Cup match needing to pick themselves off the floor and produce a convincing winning display. Even a thumping victory would have no chance of relieving the gloom left in most SAFC hearts by Saturday’s disappointment and, pointedly, the manner of our second-half no-show.

For all that, the passion will be there in the Amex Stadium. Lots of Sunderland-supporting southern exiles will have taken the opportunity of a game close at hand.

Pete Sixsmith will be flying the Salut! Sunderland flag as one of those making the long trek from the North East. They’ll all be willing the team on to the start of a decent cup run. On Saturday, another big away turn-out will greet SAFC at Swansea, a game we also have to win in order to restore some pride in the competition that matters most (and get some points).

Most of us, however down we feel and however more down some feel than others, will keep the faith since doing so is unconditional.

But Steve Bruce could do well to consider the following message left last night at the Blackcats list, admittedly a forum with a patent on the adjective “long-suffering”. I will identify the writer only by his first name, Mark:

“After reading my rants over the weekend I’m going to take a step back and stop posting for a while. I’m that anti-Bruce now I’m no longer able to see any balance to anything. But a quick look at the stats shows that we’ve won twice in 16 matches – Wigan at home and West Ham on the final day – and just once at home in 10 matches. I’ll let you discuss things and read with interest before joining in the debate when I can offer a bit more of a reasoned argument. …”

He was slightly wrong on the stats. Someone else pointed out that there had been another victory, against Bolton.

I fervently hope Mark’s return to active involvement in debates will require him to eat humble pie, admit that Bruce had a plan after all and was always on the right track and my, how well the Lads have come aback from that derby setback of Aug 20.

Hands up those holding their breath …

* See also: the Brighton “Who Are You?” – a seasider offers praises for Fatboy Slim and Lee Cattermole, and predicts a slippery banan skin for Sunderland tonight.

Monsieur Salut

6 thoughts on “Brighton v SAFC: disillusion and faith after the Newcastle letdown”

  1. Lots of south coast exiles (and their children and grandchildren) at the Amex last night. Shame about the repeat performance – loads of possession and far too few efforts on target

  2. “okay, that run of five is not going to produce 15 points but who knows what me might achieve if able to play at our best?” – I see you good for about 5 points – but I’m the teensiest bit biased like –

    “Lots of Sunderland-supporting southern exiles will have taken the opportunity of a game close at hand” – areSunderland known for their fan base outside of the city? Apologies if the answer is yes – I thought Nially Niall Quinn was bemoaning the fact last season that he couldn’t get even decent amounts of folk through the turnstiles at home matches?

    Having had a wee dig, I do still think that you’ll be around 10th again this season – I think you’ve mostly bought well in the market – but it will be in spite of any tactical decisions that Bruce makes I’m afraid – I’m just not convinced by him at all.

    On another point – in terms of who finishes higher – if Sunderland were ending up around 6th or 7th and playing in Europe then, for me, beating you head-to-head would pale in to insignificance come season end (albeit great for the bragging rights right up until that point) – but when you finish a few places ahead of us around 10th to 14th I’d much rather have had the 5-1 drubbing to look back on (albeit to throw away a three goal lead to the Baggies is pretty darned frustrating!).
    Of course, the table is meaningless until about 10 games have been played – but, right now, we’re 7th and you’re 13th – must mean we are almost twice as good as you lot eh? (maybe…)

    • Goeordiepants:

      I haven’t the stats in front of me but believe our out-of-city catchment area and fan base to be pretty large as a proportion of the whole.

      When I was growing up in Co Durham, and Sunderland was still a town within that county, it was natural to consider SAFC the county team, apart from areas north and north-west of Durham city of course. In my Celeb Suppporter series, I have Kate Adie recalling the great procession of old buses bringing in people to Roker Park from Tow Law, Spennymoor etc. The London supporters’ assoc branch has always had healthy membership numbers in my experience as a long-term exile and we have branches in lots of other places around the country and beyond, just as you do.

      Niall Quinn’s issue was the local one that people were going down the pub in the city in which the team played to watch there instead of buying tickets. He had research conducted as to the extent of this practice and calculated that it was costing the club thousands each game.

  3. Well said scotswood, I really like the Sunderland board they do things with common footballing sence unlike our board who just do what they please to the horror of the fans.

  4. Chin up Peter, Sunderland will be top 10 this season.Console yourself with the facts that you have a sound owner and an excellent chairman, unlike those spivs who are running my club.I hope we will be top ten, but with Ashley pulling the strings, maybe not.!!

  5. It happens every season at this club and we never seem to learn , I suppose it’s a combination of belief, passion, love, and hope that seems to affect this particular corner of the football world and to a lesser extent the rest of the country but without our intensiity. We crave success and want to win every game, and that’s of course just not possible our expectations are huge and so of course our dissapointments are huge too. At the end of the day forget the manager, owner, and staff the team have to perform on the day in the final analysis it’s down to them. Last season at Stamford Bridge the team performed, and showed it could be done, but it depended solely on the eleven players and their attitude, and that I’m afraid is the problem at this club, as supporters we have to balance sublime faith with the players attitude oh,…….. and keep those fingers crossed!

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