Tony Gillan: I couldn't care less about Sunderland's FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough
I do not recall ever caring less about defeat in a cup competition than Saturdays.
For most of the past decade Sunderland have been a struggling Premier League side who, on their better days, managed to beat every other team at some point.
This, the occasional good cup run such as Wembley in 2014 and the successes of Wigan, Birmingham, Swansea and others in recent years, suggests that cup glory was at least possible.
In a money obsessed sport, the clubs themselves would swap winning a trophy for the hard cash given for finishing a few places further up the league.
This is understandable. But any fan who shares the same view might as well abandon his club then go and support Microsoft or BP.
On the terraces it’s all about hope and glory.
However, in 18 months Sunderland have sunk from being a club where the possibility of landing a trophy has been reclassified from “remote” to “zero.”
This season there were only two reasons why the FA Cup third round could be a “must-win” for Sunderland.
The first was if it was against “inferior” opposition, because failure would only raise anger and lower morale even further.
If you don’t believe me, ask Mark Hughes
The second was if it had been a derby.
As Middlesbrough are obviously neither of these things, it didn’t greatly matter.
I would have preferred a different result.
But as an emotional experience?
Well, you want to win but can’t be too upset to lose. It was rather like watching the reserves: or England.
Despite everything, I quite enjoyed my afternoon on Teesside. Not caring much about the game helped in this regard; as did the cheap ticket and the proximity (I was home by 3.45pm).
And the scenery of course.
But I’ll be in a considerably less drippy mood at Cardiff this week.