When you have a midfield like ours it sometimes feels better to let your mind wander into the larger issues of being a Sunderland supporter than trying to square the circle of whether Colback, Gardner, Larsson or Vaughan should start against the European Champions at the weekend.
And one thing I’ve always wondered about is why I prefer to sit in a room connected via the internet to other supporters on the SMB than watch the game live on the TV set blaring away in another part of the house. And why it is particularly true when we are getting beat?
Maybe it’s just me. But I suspect other exiles may feel the same.
Reading the remarkable book Soccernomics provided a clue.
It’s the idea of pulling together, of being involved in something beyond our own personal struggles, successes and failures that draws us back in when we have cursed and sworn never again to believe that this time will be different.
Because that sense of belonging trumps defeat. Far from flinging ourselves off buildings in defeat statistics show that calls to suicide lines drop, admissions to pyche wards fall away and people, though pissed at management and players, feel more connected. Being all in this together is a powerful emotion with a huge positive effect.
Of course we’d all be equally connected if we won most of our games but this is Sunderland we are talking about. So I’ll take solace and that connection where it can be found.
And as for the Chelsea game? Well I remember another bleak time back in 1977 – goalless for a dozen games – and how things changed almost overnight. I remember seven, eight players lining up on the half way at kick off and charging at the other team. We’ve tried the counter attacking game plan and found it wanting. Let’s just go out with the idea of ripping the opposition a new arsehole and see what happens.
Win, lose or draw. It’s why we bother.
(Our Canadian Correspondent)