I expect you relish the prospect of Sunderland’s trip to Pride Park this Friday every bit as much as I do.
Optimism is now confined to just the mindless variety, with Derby County in fifth place and having home advantage.
However, this newspaper is receptive to all opinions and ways of life.
So to benefit members of the mindlessly optimistic community, we can allude to Derby’s single victory in their last 10 fixtures.
I don’t share the hope, although I sincerely want to be wrong.
I can only see Sunderland continuing to test the limits of human toleration by matching the guile and tenacity shown against Preston, QPR, Aston Villa, Bolton, Brentford, Ipswich, Birmingham...
One positive element (we employed a crack team of investigative journalists to find it) to the Good Friday game is Derby’s pricing policy.
An adult ticket is £20. The usual charge is £24, but mindful of the game being televised they have knocked a few quid off.
Kids are admitted for just £6.
You’re probably expecting to watch rubbish on Friday, but at least the admission prices reflect this.
Well done Derby County. Ditto Reading who are also charging £20 for adults and a fiver for under-18s on April 14. Pride Park and the Madejski are very nice grounds too.
Regrettably, you will not be sitting in a very nice ground should you travel to the Elland Road “stadium” on April 7. It’s a dump.
For the privilege of sitting behind a corner flag in Leeds United’s dilapidated John Charles Stand (named after a gentleman), to watch a bad side take on an even worse one, surrounded by notoriously charmless home fans, £37 is demanded from visitors.
This rises to £42 if they are bought on match day.
The equivalent, opposite view from the north end of the East Stand, blocks L28-30, beside the Revie Stand (named after a cheat), will cost adult home supporters just £26.
In the Premier League a £30 cap is in place for away tickets.
It is indicative of the delusion at Leeds, a club that hasn’t seen the Premier League for 14 years, that their pricing policy suggests something special will be on offer in 10 days time.
I am resigned to being ripped off by Leeds (worth noting too that they charged Sheffield Wednesday fans even more recently) and still intend to be there.
However, once inside the ground I will not be spending a single penny on programmes, food, drink or any other overpriced quality-deficient fare I can happily live without.
They might take the hint if everyone does the same.
In fairness, some tickets for home supporters are also £37 (ripping off home fans too provides “justification”).
But that’s for the best seats and cheaper options are available, as opposed to the like-it-or-lump-it policy for visitors.
The usual unimaginative and entirely predictable abuse on unrelated matters for this column is likely to follow.
It’s what Leeds fans do.
What they won’t do is provide is any excuse for the greed and contempt shown, continually, by their club to its customers.
The difference between Ant/Dec and Darren?
At the Blue Bell quiz last Tuesday, a question in the current affairs round asked for the present connection between Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson and either Ant or Dec (I don’t know, less still care which is which).
Most entrants wrote down the answer you would expect based on recent events.
But one team had a punt with: “Both talentless.”
I regret to say that they were still given the point for this cheap and lazy satire, as the quiz master could detect no falsehood in the proffered guess.
Indeed, he said he would also have accepted: “Both ludicrously overpaid.”
There is, however, a significant difference between the alleged delinquencies of Gibson and either Ant or Dec.
All I have heard about one of them is that he will deserve everything he gets.
Whereas the hope for the other is that “he gets the help he needs to help him through this.”
An interesting piece of moral relativism.
We could run a competition to see if anyone can explain why this should be.
The winner will receive a lift home from the star of their choice.