ALTHOUGH Sunderland lost the Capital One Cup final, one of the positives that came out of the game at Wembley was the bond between the club and fans being strengthened enormously.
It’s a bond which took a hell of a battering at the weekend in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat at the weekend, but it is one which I believe is stronger now than any single loss, however disappointing.
In a season where the fans patience and loyalty has been stretched almost to breaking point, the cup runs have brought pride back to a club that seemed determined to self-destruct in the first half of the season.
Who would have thought after eight games when Sunderland had one single point to its name and were propping up the Premier League table that a Wembley cup final would become a reality?
There is still work to be done in the league of course.
Sunderland are still in the bottom three, but survival is in their own hands with a number of winnable home games still to play.
This season has been one of wild highs and lows with Sunderland not only bottom of the table for most of it, but at times cut adrift and looking destined for the drop.
On the other hand, not only have Sunderland had two lengthy cup runs, but the double was achieved over our greatest rivals and both derby games will live long in the memory of supporters.
The cup final might have been lost, but Sunderland gained so much that day and every Sunderland fan loved their club just a little bit more when it was all over.
And with 12 games still to play in the Premier League, those fans have a huge role to play in Sunderland’s survival bid and can be a massive factor, especially in those home games against the teams around us.
I know those fans are hurting really, really badly at the moment after the disappointment of that Hull defeat at the weekend.
But I feel that on Saturday they will bounce back in exactly the same way we need the team to.
Hull was horrible.
But the bigger picture is that we all want to get the team over the line this season and not be stressing about our Premier League status all the way to the finishing line and the more together everyone is, the better.