There is a concept that football fans console themselves with once the reality
of relegation sets in. It normally begins with a phrase such as “would
relegation really be that bad?” and soon progresses to such positive
statements as “maybe it would do us good to go down,” “at least we
could start winning games again” and “it will do us good to regroup -
we can come back even stronger.”
Towards the end of last season, these were the kind of theories that were
being uttered by many Sunderland fans who, sick to death of watching their team
lose games and take part in annual relegation scraps, were seeking crumbs of
comfort amongst the misery.
The David Moyes era will not be remembered fondly by anyone associated with
the club but it is in danger of being remembered as the era that set the club
on an uncontrollable downward spiral from which they will take years to
recover. Such was the negativity generated by the last campaign that those who
sought solace in relegation, and the resurrection that it might prompt, perhaps
deserve to be commended.
Today, for even the most positive of Black Cats fans, the glass is not even
half full - it is empty and dry and it takes the kind of spirit that only a
die-hard football supporter wearing rose-tinted glasses can possess, to imagine
it replenished once again.
The club is sinking fast in the Championship and they are in danger of
suffering the indignation of a second consecutive relegation. If you enjoy
having a bet on your favorite sport
you may have noticed that the odds on the club going down are shortening fast.
Moreover, the man recruited to halt their slide, Simon Grayson, has not played
down the prospect, having already stated that “no
team is too good to go down.” For any Sunderland fan, such words
are profoundly unpalatable, especially so early in a season.
Firstly, it sounds like the words of someone who is getting their excuses in
early and expecting to fail (see Moyes last August). That might be harsh on
Grayson given the club’s current off-the-field predicament but what everyone
needs right now is a voice of confidence to calm the anxiety; some bluff and
bluster to rally the troops.
Secondly, there are teams that are too good to go down and any team
that has just been demoted from the top flight, even one with the skeleton
squad that Grayson inherited, should be equipped to survive in the
Another relegation would be a disaster for Sunderland. Any talk of how it
might do the club good to drop to the third tier will not wash this time
around. There is no more time for rebuilding and regrouping. This is now about
survival - not just as a team but as a viable entity going forward. But the
negativity that was ever present last season still has a front seat on the
Sunderland team bus. And what’s more, it has been further compounded by the
bewildering lack of organisation on the field of play. This is a club that is
truly on the back foot in every respect.