Circumstances have kept Pete Lynn, our Wrinkly one, away from Sunderland games so far this season. He has not been boycotting the club, as he explains below. On Saturday, he makes his long-awaited debut as Simon Grayson once again tries to end a dismal winless run, against Bristol City at the Stadium of Light. Pete has already supplied an excellent candidate for Who are You?, his Bristol-supporting nephew doing …
Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
What do the following three sporting institutions have in common – Sunderland AFC, Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Solihull Moors AFC?
No, I didn’t really expect you to know but they are all my teams and I watch them perform whenever I can, with season cards at the first two and paying as a wrinkly through the turnstiles at the third, who play in the National League.
This, in part, explains why my first home game to watch the Lads this season will be the Bristol City game, since the cricket season now doesn’t finish until the end of September and there have been one or two other factors like holidays and a new granddaughter to fit into my life.
But that is not my apology. It is the commonality between these three proud clubs and my part in it. SAFC were relegated to the second tier this year. WCCC were relegated to the second tier this year. Solihull Moors are currently second bottom in the National League on eight points, propped up by Torquay on seven, and are odds on to be relegated to the second tier.
Now you can begin to see the reason behind the title for this piece. I am the catalyst. It’s my fault. Oh dear.
Well, at least folk can now take the heat off poor Ellis Short or Martin Bain or Simon Grayson or whoever. Because we have to blame someone else don’t we?
We didn’t always do this – not until the Americans showed us the way. Like all those other bad things they introduced us to – McDonalds, Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mars Bars, Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream etc, etc.
Yes, I know you like them but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you. The real killer for me though is the blame culture.
It really is true that the woman who put her dog in the microwave to dry it off after a wash successfully sued the microwave manufacturer for not telling her she shouldn’t do that – madness! Thus we have now adopted this mindset where we are not responsible for our actions. Drive into a stationary car but don’t admit liability – what?
Right then, I am back on ground again and focused on the Lads with an example of how we the Fans might help us in our present plight.
My seat at the Stadium of Light in February 2008 was in the East Stand and I used to listen with disgust at the abuse aimed at Daryl Murphy by two so-called Sunderland supporters near me who would jeer almost every time Murphy received the ball.
Now, sometimes, Murphy’s first touch was not great but he always gave 100 per cent for our club. These two didn’t care about that. I actually forget if they were among the 43,600 on when Daryl scored this screamer against Wigan on the ninth of that month.
But I am sure they wouldn’t have been there among the 26,000 on 12th September this year when Daryl scored the winner against us with five minutes left, for Forest.
My point is; if you can’t support, shut up. Furthermore, if you can’t support, don’t come. I know our crowds are hugely depleted and I know we have an appalling home record currently but if you have made the commitment to buy a ticket and you have made the effort to get to the game then just make positive noise – you can make the difference.
And come back tomorrow for the latest instalment in Pete Sixsmith’s not-to-be-missed series on his first encounters with the teams Sunderland play next or their grounds.