You don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone.
Or maybe you only really know when it comes back.
It was there on the field and on the terraces in all its red and white glory.
It was etched in the face of Lee Cattermole, a player, like a fair few others, who’d been written off, in his case as a footballing madman with the positioning sense of a headless chicken, just a few short weeks ago.
And it was evidenced most of all in the poised features of Martin O’Neill, whose after match comments in the heat of exuberance of a most unlikely victory were touched with genius.
If they didn’t feel ten feet tall after beating the billionaire’s playthings then each and every Sunderland player will certainly be touching the ceiling today after O’Neill’s response to the pride and passion they showed.
Not going overboard and claiming Catts is now the symbol of all that is controlled and cool in midfield play. No. He said it was far too early for that, letting the player know there are roads he must yet travel.
But after the slightest of touches of the whip out rolled the praise to “my captain”.
Now this is a manager who knows how to motivate. Under the previous occupant the onset of pre-match flu following a spate of defensive injuries would likely have taken the excuse monitor into levels unheard of by man nor beast.
Not any more. Just as the Everton non-penalty was handled with grace so was the sweet taste of victory. Maybe there is indeed karma and things do come round.
But it’s more than just among the players. The pride is back in the stands.
Of course we may lose against Wigan – one day’s rest after a performance like that is a tough hill to climb – and supporters will moan.
But the distressing gulf that was widening – thanks to the weakness of the former manager egged on by the braying of a sycophantic media – between the players and those that pay to watch is healed.
Together once again. It is a potent pairing.
F.A. Cups have been won by that.
(Our Canadian Correspondent)