What is left to say? Another game, another sense of trepidation or, if Pete Sixsmith was right in his clinical assessment of our plight after his bleak evening at Portman Road, another reason to be “largely past caring”.
Preston North End vs Sunderland. Fifth top vs second bottom. It seems beyond belief, whatever the level of pessimism that our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson and others experienced in the summer.
But that’s the reality; Mark, an Ipswich fan came to Salut! Sunderland to express solidarity with our supporters while noting that it was “clear right from the first minute that the confidence of the players is shot to bits”.
Simon Grayson was not SAFC’s first choice as manager and would not have been the choice of many supporters. He inherited a basket case of a club with an owner who has lost interest – and far too much of his fortune – and a chief executive whose job description must surely include an obligation to cut, cut and cut again. The players Grayson managed to pull out of the transfer window hat have largely failed to impress and the relics of our Premier League squad are playing as if football is a game they’ve just taken up.
That would change if only we could start winning and keep winning, at least sometimes. Automatic promotion is like a distant, unattainable nirvana, the playoffs are something that will happen only for others. But can we claw our way from the humiliating position we find ourselves in now and at least approach midtable respectability (actually not very respectable at all, but it would do for now)?
The pages of Salut! Sunderland are wide open for anyone from Messrs Short, Bain and Grayson to ordinary supporters who feel we need only time to reflect, rebuild and prosper again. Was that Peppa Pig I just saw flying past the window?
And the Guess the Score competition is once again declared open.
Roll up for a chance to win a wonderfully life-enhancing, er, coffee mug as your prize for getting the score right, posting it here before anyone else and satisfying any other quirky rules Monsieur Salut chooses to impose (eg you must have a UK delivery address).
PNE supporters are cordially invited to have a go, too.
The good news, if it can be called that, is that I am finally clearing the backlog of prize winners and ordering their mugs today.
In line with the new policy, the first entry is that of our Who are You? interviewee. Mark Collard, whose answers are a treat, reckons his beloved PNE will win 2-1.
Haway the Lads, our Lads.