Sunderland superfan George Forster has seen it all...but he sighs as he declares “but this is the worst I’ve seen”.
From premier passions and promotion to relegation and rejection.
The Roker roar still rings in the 91-year-old’s ears, but he still swoons over his stadium.
He shares the vivid memories of 1973, that famous save and Stokoe racing down the hallowed turf.
He held his head in hands when the Black Cats found themselves in this league the last time.
And he wept tears of joy when they romped promotion back to the top flight.
For decades he has stood shoulder to shoulder on the terraces with the legions of the red and white army.
But he says this season has been one of the toughest to watch.
George said: “It’s been awaful. I can’t remember a worse season. Even when we went down the last time we went down fighting and I knew we would be back up the next season. I just can’t say that this time.”
As the chairman of the Sunderland Supporters Association he has had access to all of Sunderland’s heroes – and villains.
He still marvels at Bob Murray’s vision for his beloved team – but for the current ownership he has short shrift.
He said: “It was clear to me that Short had no interest in the heart of this club from the start to me. The passion, the fans, the city is what this club has always been about and for me he never got that.
“I think sadly that then ran through the club and we are where we are today as a result.
“I met Short briefly and didn’t care much for him. I’ve had to watch the club go downhill and some good people being brushed aside.
“There is no denying that Short has put money in the club and we’ve had some great seasons. And I still believe if Big Sam had not had England come calling we would be in a vastly different position than we are now.
“But for me Short has a lot to answer for with the state we are in now. He has to take responsibility for the decisions and appointment of the backroom staff who have been responsible for the running of the club, and it’s fair to say the last few years have seen some disgraceful antics off the pitch.
“On the pitch I think Coleman has done a great job with what he’s got and he’s probably still the right man to take us forward. But we need a new owner and we need one now. I would buy it myself if I had the money.”
George has won more accolades in his time supporting the club then all the teams he has followed put together – the latest, the Championship Supporter of the Year Award, which he picked up just last week.
With yet another year of disappointment and heartache, a wise man would say he would be a fool to keep following SAFC, but George can’t help falling in love with Sunderland.
He added: “It’s probably the worst season I’ve seen and there will be much said about who is to blame. But I will still be on the terraces next season, because I’m Sunderland til I die.”