Last weekend I broke an unwanted personal record – I saw Sunderland win a league game in the flesh for the first time this calendar year.
The depressing thing is, I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, that’s right I attended 27 matches without seeing a single victory and I consider myself fortunate.
The vast majority of our fanbase won’t have been at Burton last weekend and like me didn’t attend the 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace or the consolation 2-0 success at Hull. Therefore it is small wonder that fans have decided to vote with their feet so far this season.
But this Saturday, if you can afford it and can make it to the Stadium of Light, I urge you to go along and show the lads your support.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that a win at fellow relegation strugglers Burton Albion is cause for unconfined joy across Wearside but Chris Coleman’s actions so far deserve our collective support.
Unlike previous managers he has taken ownership of failings which aren’t even his to own. He has shown an understanding of the situation that we find ourselves in and has built an instant rapport with supporters.
Even in our darkest hour, I have maintained that, far from being negative, our fans are absolutely desperate for the lads to succeed. Coleman has acknowledged this, he’s repeatedly talked about winning back the fans who haven’t been coming to games and realised that is his responsibility.
The game last weekend was a clear demonstration of that. The atmosphere from the away end was superb all afternoon and the goals were celebrated as if we had won the league.
At full time when the Welshman whipped the travelling fans into a frenzy by fist pumping and yelling in delight towards them, there was a sense of real togetherness for the first time this season. It would be fantastic if this could continue this weekend both on the pitch and in the stands for the visit of Reading.
I understand why people are reluctant to get carried away at the moment; we’ve suffered more false dawns than most under the years. But we’ve proven in the past that a united and atmospheric Stadium of Light can generate a great atmosphere. Just think back to that night against Everton, little over 18 months ago.
The new gaffer already has us playing a brand of football that suits the players at his disposal, impacted a game with his substitutions more than Simon Grayson did during his entire reign and has created a siege mentality around the place with his media comments.
He made a bold decision by coming here and risking his very high stock. His positivity and defiance has breathed new life back into the club and served as a timely reminder that we are a big club with huge potential.
What a fantastic statement of intent it would be if we banished that unwanted home record in front of a 30,000-plus crowd generating a great atmosphere.
It’s been a tough year but our forthcoming fixtures present us with a great chance to end the year on a high and get a new era off to a flying start. So, if you can, get yourself along to the match and to quote Chris Coleman, let’s get the place “rocking and rolling.”