View from the Avenue: ‘what must happen before I watch Sunderland again’

Paul Summerside: staying away until a certain individual departs


Monsieur Salut writes: I detected little optimism in close season about our prospects for a quick return to the Premier League, Hope, yes, but we always suffer from that. I imagine you’d get pretty long odds just now on us recovering from a dismal start and getting back up. As things stand, there’s more chance of winning something playing live casino games than of the present bunch of players leading a determined charge on the top six, let alone the top two.

But we can probably all agree the start to the season has been rather more dismal than most of us expected. Pete Sixsmith’s second goal update from the Stadium of Light reported the start of the exodus vs Sheffield United. And now Paul Summerside, briefly optimistic about the Simon Grayson era, has returned to the sulky gloom he experienced as Sunderland wasted everyone’s time last season (the old Jeremy Robson joke – ‘shall we just fax the points to you and save us all the trouble of staging or attending a game?’- rang true week after week).

Paul has sparked a lively debate at the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group* on the correct response, as he sees it, to the terrible malaise afflicting our club. His is drastic …


So here we are six games in, and the first walk out of the season.

Chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” and “are you watching Ellis Short?”.

The response to the first statement is that they are not and, to the second one, a simple No.

Squad-wise, this ramshackle bunch of players made up from last season’s nightmare, some loanees and frees, and money signings of £1.25m, is comfortably THE worst since we visited the old division 3.

Board-wise, Short’s interests lie purely in reducing the club’s overall debt, so he can sell us on. Asap. No more significant money will be invested on players until this happens.

We had a chance during the transfer window to attract quality, but mucked that up by losing at Barnsley, McCormack, Snodgrass, Leadbitter and Lees all deciding against joining us.

I understand the walk outs, having walked out myself a number of times myself last season. Its a rant, a complaint … but unfortunately only one person is listening, Simon Grayson, and he is powerless to do anything.

All down to Short.

Walk outs have no effect; you’ve paid your money or bought your season ticket.

The ONLY way Ellis Short can be forced out is the embarrassment of an empty stadium at kick off.

Disloyal? Extreme? Necessary? I’ll leave you to decide.

But I will never return to the SoL until the root of our troubles, Ellis Short, has been removed.

I want the best for my club, but can no longer support the current set up.

I am officially in football limbo.

* Paul’s analysis is probably shared by many. Another poor result, this time against Nottingham Forest, would have a devastating effect even on the morale of those who consider themselves loyal and determined to keep the faith. But is his decision to boycott the club for as long as Short remains in charge wise, proportionate and fair? It is easy for me to question his judgement; I am in France for another few weeks and have not had to suffer any live SAFC football so far.

Let us know what you think, before and after tonight’s game. And feel free to take a look at the Facebook group, which has a creditable 730 members and is open to all

* And see our great buildup to SAFC vs Nottingham Forest by visiting the Salut! Sunderland home page and navigating from there

One of Jake’s wonders

4 thoughts on “View from the Avenue: ‘what must happen before I watch Sunderland again’”

  1. I don’t agree as regards a boycott Malcolm. An organised boycott is the only thing left to which we can resort. The alternative is a slow and painful dribble away of support. Let’s get this over with and have some organisation within our ranks. It would be a great morale booster too, nothing like strength in numbers. It is up to organisations such as yourselves who have the platform and the ability to generate publicity.

    • I wasn’t dismissing the idea of a boycott Tom. What I meant was that people are drifting away in their thousands and the empty seats in the stadium are becoming increasingly visible anyway.

      Official attendances seem bigger than the actual numbers.

      Does the club count the number of clicks of the turnstile or are all season ticket holders automatically included? I got the feeling towards the end of last season that the official attendance was substantially more than the number of bums on seats.

  2. “But we can probably all agree the start to the season has been rather more dismal than most of us expected.”

    No I don’t agree I’m afraid. If you can be bothered to look back through my past comments since the end of last season you will see that I said a) we would be lucky to avoid relegation, b) there was more likelihood that we would do a Wigan, a Blackpool or a Portsmouth than a N*”?a**e and c) our summer business left us with a League 1 squad playing in the Championship.

    I have been harking on for years (literally) about the way the club has been mismanaged since Short took the reins. Nothing that occurred over the summer made me think better times lay ahead. The chance to consolidate went before Big Sam was lured away. The end of that season was the time to invest, push on and build on the team spirit that brought about that great escape. Instead what happened? Nowt – sweet FA and that doesn’t stand for Football Association.

    In my intro to Sixer’s Sheffield United Soapbox I explained that whilst Short was in charge I could no longer bring myself to put more money into the club. I even accused myself of hypocrisy by suggesting that I’d feel differently had we been winning and playing attractive football, then I thought “Hang on! If we were playing attractive football and winning it would be because the club was being properly run” so I’m withdrawing that accusation.

    It may not mean much to Ellis Short and the football club if I don’t fork out for match tickets and a new away top (I’d not buy the home one anyway) but it will when thousands refuse do so. Paul sums up the way I and by the sound of it, most of the hard core of long standing followers of the club are feeling.

    We don’t need an organised boycott. People have already started staying away and after tonight it’ll take a few good results to tempt back the waverers. The probability is there will be more empty seats as people like Paul and me refuse to go until Short has gone.

    I’m glad I didn’t renew my ST as I don’t have the heartache of feeling that I’ve wasted my money like I began to do last year.

  3. Can’t fault a word or the sentiment here, or the mixed up feeling for the Club.

    But, its not our Club anymore it a rich mans plaything, and like so often happens when the plaything is broken it’s disregarded (see Toy Story), except this ain’t Hollywood.

    Reality is that the latest Club advertising stint, harking back to the days of the Northeast as an industrial powerhouse built on the hard work of the working class, is as close to reality as our current team.

    Little or no local players, no synergy/ identity with the support other than the meet and greet for the cash they earn. The whole thing is soulless, just look at the Premiership, where a winning team of foreigners is sufficient to keep the fans happy. It’s all pathetic but we are where we are now.

    How to protest in the modern game???? Stay away???, demonstrate????, Short is the archetypal absentee landlord, it difficult to get your point across to someone who is not there and doesn’t care anyway.

    We are at the abyss!!!!!! But I still put us down to win tonight.

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