Since Sunderland last won at home: Trump hadn't even been inaugurated!


The season has barely begun, but already it is looking like it cannot come to an end soon enough for sleepy Sunderland. Remember the last home win? If so, you have a good memory. George Michael and Rick Parfitt were still alive, we were still awaiting the inauguration of Donald Trump and Clean Bandit, Louis Tomlinson and Little Mix were duking it out for the coveted Christmas number one spot.

Yes, it has been more than eight months and a remarkable 16 fixtures since the Stadium of Light witnessed a home victory. The club has been beset with woes since the departure of Sam Allardyce earlier this summer, but addressing the disastrous run of home form has to be at the top of Simon Grayson’s priority list.

Forthcoming fixtures

Fans will be desperate to convince themselves that The Black Cats can turn around their home hoodoo in the forthcoming fixture against Sheffield United on 09 September. A glance at some of the best betting sites suggests few will wish to put their money where their mouth is, however. Even money odds being offered do not reflect the dire run of form, and it would be a brave bet to stake much on a Sunderland win.

The Sheffield United fixture will be followed three days later by another home game against Notts Forest, before a succession of away draws. For this match, current odds on a Sunderland win stand at 13/11.

Home disadvantage

It is a generally accepted aphorism that playing at home in front of a cheering ground is like having an extra player on the pitch. But when any team goes through a run of form as bad as this, the opposite can start to manifest itself.

Having gone winless at the Stadium of Light for so long, panic must be setting in among fans and players alike. Gate receipts are down, and there is an air of embarrassment in the air. The bizarre thing is that the team’s away form has not been bad at all – this is probably the reason the odds on a win against Sheffield United or Notts Forest are not longer than they are.

In the win over Norwich earlier in August, the Black Cats looked like a different team. With new signing Grabban scoring twice, following his debut goal at Derby, there was a sense of new beginnings in the air, and a determination was felt throughout the team to put the troubles of recent months behind them.

Yet this was followed by a tough home fixture against an unbeaten Leeds United, and paved the way to further defeat to Barnsley.

Not good enough

Simon Grayson is as aware of the issues as everyone else, and can see how the team has gone backwards over the past couple of weeks. Following the most recent humiliation by Barnsley, he commented: “It's not acceptable to lose a game in the manner that we did. Our fans had a go, and rightly so."

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