Wise Men Say: Hopeless Cats worth none of our tears

Sadio Mane beats Patrick van Aanholt to hit Southampton's eighth goal against Sunderland
Sadio Mane beats Patrick van Aanholt to hit Southampton's eighth goal against Sunderland
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WHY Sunderland? Why always us? Why do we have to be the club humiliated time and again, publically and shamefully?

Just to make things that bit more special, the latest in a growing list of gloriously ignominious defeats came against a side who have no right to be scoring eight times in a competitive Premier League match.

I know it happens to other clubs and even nations too – Brazil managed to concede seven on home soil in a World Cup – but we seem to collapse and crumble more than anyone else.

Not so long ago, a less than average Aston Villa put six past us. Going further back, the likes of Everton and Chelsea have put seven past us, but none of those performances felt quite so hapless as this latest surrender at St Mary’s.

Maybe they were though.

Southampton are a good side, better than the aforementioned Villa team, though not of the same standard as the Chelsea or Everton sides who put us to the sword.

Time is a healer, though. Since losing those games, we’ve won big games, not quite by the same sort of margins, but against teams we should probably not be beating.

We’ve also stayed up against the odds and reached a League Cup final.

At the moment, it feels like this heaviest of heavy defeats, this shame of shames defines us as a club, as supporters, but perhaps these lows – and this was the lowest of them, barring a certain 5-1 derby hammering – allow us to enjoy the highs, infrequent as they may be, that little bit more keenly.

I might not feel quite so philosophical about it if I’d made the exhausting and expensive round trip to Southampton, but now that a bit of time has elapsed, I can’t help but think “what’s the point in being angry?”

It’s not going to make the result go away or erase that gutless performance.

It was a freak result sparked off by a freak own goal, the like of which I’ve never seen before, which came at a time when Sunderland were actually on top.

Believe it or not, we did look the better side for the opening 10 minutes and weren’t even out of the game until the third squirmed through Vito Mannone in typically abysmal fashion.

Unbelievably – or very much believably, given we are Sunderland – this result came on the back of us starting the day with the joint best defensive record in the Premier League.

In fact, it was mentioned in the Manchester City-Tottenham match commentary on BT Sport. I even tweeted about it. Maybe this is entirely my fault. I invited this result. I jinxed it. Sorry everyone.

Joking aside, obviously pretty much nobody comes out of this with any credit. The usually pretty reliable Vito Mannone had a shocker, John O’Shea looked anything but a man who’d just scored against the world champions on his 100th appearance for Ireland, Jordi Gomez was non-existent, Will Buckley anonymous, Connor Wickham shocking, Vergini comically bad and, well, the list goes on. By omitting their names, I do not absolve them of blame.

Oh, and Gus Poyet, a man who I’ve praised several times this season will also have to take a long hard look in the mirror too; he certainly played his part in this latest Sunderland-shaped mess.

As supporters however, we can take solace in the fact it wasn’t us out there on the pitch. We’ve been embarrassed by association, but ultimately it’s the players who look like fools.

As Sunderland fans, perhaps we should do what we do best and just laugh at ourselves, our club, our desperately poor players.

God knows, we’re used to a humiliation now, so we might as well redefine it as humour.

As the old adage goes, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” and frankly this hopeless bunch don’t deserve our tears.


H The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can be stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.