The freezing, miserable, arctic conditions at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and the predictable – almost routine – defeat to Preston seemed to sum up perfectly the bleak situation Sunderland football club is in right now.
Even before a ball was kicked, news came through that Darron Gibson had embarrassed himself and the club again, so with all the problems Chris Coleman has he certainly didn’t need more news that shows the club in a bad light just before a game.
For the second game in succession, Sunderland went into the interval with nothing between the two teams and the game there for the taking if they wanted it enough.
But just like last week at QPR, they managed to go down to 10 men and never even threatened Preston.
Everybody knew the importance of Saturday’s game, and the lift a win would give – can you believe it would have moved Sunderland to just two points from safety?
Yet we can’t even finish a game with 11 men, never mind grind out a much-needed three points.
Jake Clarke-Salter might have all the promise and trappings that come from being a prospect at champions Chelsea, but he has let himself and Sunderland down with his dismissal just an hour into his comeback game from another three match suspension.
Coleman again made changes, three this time but it didn’t work and afterwards in his press conference he said he is trying everything; formations, personnel etc but maybe that is part of the problem.
In seasons gone by, when Sunderland have survived, it has usually coincided with the manager finding a settled starting XI but I don’t think Coleman is anywhere nearer knowing his best team now than when he first joined, although injuries and suspension are making that almost impossible.
His frustration is clear to see in his interviews, as game after game he has to explain ridiculous goals conceded like the first one which came from a long straight free kick that should be meat and drink for any defence but somehow ends up with a free header for Preston’s Sean Maguire.
Sunderland and the rest of the league go into a two-week international break now but I don’t know any SAFC fan who doesn’t wish the break was a lot longer.