Peter Lynn, aka the wrinkly one, gets to a lot of games home and away. He’s noticed, even when things are going badly, how much more vocal the travelling support is than Stadium of Light crowds, where he feels something special has to happen on the field to inspire a real buzz in the stands …
Can we play you (away) every week?
Every fan of every club will be aware of the taunting lyrics “can we play you every week?” sung to Bread of Heaven when a thumping takes place. Sometimes you’re on the receiving end and sometimes giving it out.
My spin on it is that we would be better off playing away from home. I imagine many saying/thinking “How dare you say that?” Well read on……..
I have (the past) 10 years’ experience of getting to see many of our games (around 220) home and away and wish that I could say otherwise but the reality is that our away support, in terms of noise, commitment and generosity is far better than that at home.
The vocal support is immediate and almost always sustained. It does not require something outstanding to happen to get it started, as at home games, and often is at its loudest when we have conceded.
An example that also illustrates generosity occurred at White Hart Lane on December 18 2011.
We had played well throughout, only to concede a late goal. Our fans immediately burst into a rousing rendition of We love you Sunderland, we do. We lost by that solitary goal but I felt privileged to have been there.
My viewpoint has been aired with my regular, Sunderland supporting, travelling companions and I have listened to the argument: “Well, look what the home fans have had to put up with.”
My response: I was there at Southampton on October 18 2014, when we lost 8-0.I was there at Swansea on October 19 2013 for Gus Poyet’s first game in charge when we lost 4-0,
I was there at Hull on November 2 2013 when we were reduced to nine men before half time.
And it is this game that provides the best example of my opinion. I sat by Ian Todd of London and SE SAFCSA branch fame and listened with both amazement and pride as our fans started singing during half time and did not stop until well after the final whistle. I am convinced that their support that day not only prevented a rout but almost got us a 1-1 draw.
I have a motive behind what many may consider to be an unkind view. For I genuinely believe that our home support can be the 12th man that we could hugely benefit from.
I have been at the Stadium of Light when it has absolutely rocked. This current group of players – and the manager – deserve the utter, unequivocal commitment of every single Sunderland fan that enters the stadium.
Ha’way the Lads.