I HAD hoped this week’s column would be all about an amazing cup victory from Sunderland, the excitement of an FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in prospect and a big day out in the capital.
Sadly it wasn’t to be.
But it never looked as though it was going to be on the cards in Tuesday’s quarter-final replay against Everton.
We were a million miles away, if we’re honest.
I’ve heard the word “anti-climax” bandied about to describe the game and I can’t think of a better word to sum it up.
An anti-climax comes when you’ve looked forward to something with great anticipation but then you feel let down when it happens.
And that’s pretty much exactly what went on with the replay – we looked forward to it since drawing the original tie at Goodison Park, looked forward to home advantage and the hope that this could be one of the great nights in the Stadium of Light’s history but then felt totally deflated afterwards.
Sunderland have had two truly stand-out, massive home games this season – against Newcastle United in the league, the first Stadium of Light game of the season, and against Everton this week.
And on neither occasion have they delivered.
What I was hoping for in the game this week was that we would score, and hopefully score first, because the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant and I thought, if we score here, it’ll take the roof off the place.
That would have been the truest possible test of Everton, because they would have been really up against it if they’d gone a goal down and had to face the sort of intimidating atmosphere that would have followed.
Sunderland never got going, though – it just never really happened for them.
And I’m like every Sunderland supporter, I’m disappointed that we didn’t at least make life tough for David Moyes’s men.
A loss is a loss is a loss, but there are also ways of losing.
Had we gone out all guns blazing and lost, we’d still feel sick about the result, but we’d had have a lot more pride in the team and it simply wasn’t good enough that, at home, we didn’t muster a single shot on target in the whole of the 90 minutes.