That slice of hopeful humanity known as Sunderland supporters will once again demonstrate monumental patience on Wednesday and troop through the Stadium of Light turnstiles to see what the Lads can muster versus Liverpool.
Perhaps some of us are too hard on them. They are professionals, broadly doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, individually and collectively.
If they are, quite simply, not good enough, is that their fault or the responsibility of Ellis Short, Lee Congerton and a processions of past managers? Naturally, there are those we suspect do not always give their all for Sunderland AFC – and that is unforgivable.
The one entirely blameless figure, at least in terms of personnel, is Sam Allardyce. He can only play the hand he’s been dealt. Come midnight on Jan 2, it may even feel too late for him to acquire new cards in the hope of saving the season.
Or, against all odds and certainly against Monsieur Salut’s expectation, will he enter the transfer window clutching six new points and the confidence and hope they would bring?
Guess the score in the first of the games to come, home to Liverpool. it’s a rollover so two mugs for the first to predict the correct score, before kickoff. Anyone can enter – a Liverpool winner would win Liverpool-related mugs, but you must have a UK postal address.
Come back later for a Liverpool “Who are You?”
Salut! Sunderland: How do you reckon Merseyside football rivalries compare with the North East equivalent?
David Usher, founder of fanzine, The Liverpool Way, and writer on LFC for ESPN FC.:
It’s different in terms of we’re in the same city so have more interaction with each other than you probably do, but my brother in law lives in Washington, so he’s kind of in the middle and has to deal with “the Mags” – as he calls them – on a daily basis at work, and he genuinely hates them. I assume it’s the same at the Newcastle end too, it’s not a friendly rivalry in any way shape or form is it? The Merseyside rivalry isn’t as friendly as it’s often portrayed, but it’s not that bad either and most of the hostility comes from the blue side. Don’t believe me? Next time you see a derby at Anfield on TV look at the faces in the crowd when an Everton player goes to take a throw in or a corner, and then compare it to what it’s like when our players go to Goodison. It’s night and day.
Many of our fans don’t really care too much about Everton, but the sight of a red shirt is enough to send their mob into a frenzy. It’s like a scene from the Walking Dead. Most of our hatred is reserved for Man United and more recently Chelsea too. I suppose the best way to explain it is that I imagine Sunderland’s biggest game is Newcastle and vice versa, while Everton’s biggest is definitely Liverpool. The Everton fixture is not the first one we look for when the fixture list comes out though, and in some cases it may not even be the second or third. Everton are a bit like a jealous little brother.