I often bleat on in these columns about narrative. The game appears to be becoming less and less important, and the sideshows that revolve around the transfer window and Chelsea physio’s dominate news and social media.
However, last weekend, as Sunderland were battered by newly-promoted Norwich City, a new narrative descended on to social media; Sunderland fans are rubbish.
I’m sure all of our timelines were polluted with a variety of ‘banter’ accounts peddling jokes about the men and women that pay their hard earned money to sit through tripe week in, week out.
Gary Lineker even chimed in and perpetuated the myth. He claimed Sunderland fans were streaming out before half-time. Were they Gary? Or were they just off for a pie and a pint? I guess that doesn’t sound as good though, does it?
Some may well have left after the third goal, and who can blame them? This is the latest in a long line of disasters for Sunderland. People have seen these collapses occur with alarming regularity in the last year.
On top of everything else, the overall outlook at Sunderland is so bleak at the moment that results like those against Norwich and Leicester compound things. The camel’s back was broken a long, long while ago. The carcass rots beneath a mound of straws.
So when someone that gets paid an awful lot of money, and gets to watch football for free, begins to attack men and women that are paying a relative fortune to watch their side capitulate over and over again, it’s an insult. Why do we deserve this? Why do other clubs deserve better? I guess it depends on the narrative de jour.
I’ve managed to escape mentioning the football up to now myself, what a hypocrite. Well, unlesss you’ve seen the last two weeks through red and white tinted glasses then there really isn’t a lot to get enthused about.
The link with Jonathan De Guzman would hearten a lot of supporters. He’s the right kind of player, and at the moment we’ve just got too many that aren’t in key areas.
Emmanuel Giaccherini and Jermain Defoe are good players, but there’s nowhere to put them. What’s the alternative? I think most of us are at a loss to find a way to fix things, as was Dick Advocaat last weekend. Back to basics it is then.
We might be best off going solid in the 4-3-3 that served us reasonably well at the end of last season. Be compact, hit the channels and get out. Try and hold it, nick a goal. It sounds negative, but we’ve been so feeble that I can’t see any other way that Dick can go.
You might as well give Duncan Watmore a start, too. You could ague he’s the only one that’s quite literally earned their stripes over the past fortnight. O’Shea must return.
On the basis of the above, I’ll say we’ll succumb to a 1-0 defeat after battling, whilst creating little ourselves. A deflected effort in the last 10 minutes. I wish I could be more positive, but I need to see a hell of a lot more on Saturday before this column gets any brighter.