David Jones: Groundhog day for sure, history is repeating itself over and over again

Jordi Gomez takes a tumble.
Jordi Gomez takes a tumble.
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I came home from an event late one night last week to find my good lady glued to Groundhog Day on Sky Movies.

My initial reaction was one of horror, I’ve seen it too many times, but after five minutes of Bill Murray, I warmed to it again and ended up watching it with her through to the bitter end.

And then some days later, after settling down to the promise of an exciting afternoon in the Sky Sports studio, where we were prepping for the live game between Manchester City and West Ham, it occurred to me how familiar this sinking feeling was becoming.

Two goals down in the opening ten minutes, all hope extinguished before the match had really begun and staring another crushing defeat in the face: Groundhog Day.

What happened for the next 80 minutes was largely inconsequential.

On my part, at least there was no expectation that a comeback would be on the cards: this team does not show any signs of the character of Leicester, who’ve come back from two down in their last two games, that sense of foreboding just takes hold and you can’t wait for the game to end.

That’s three years in succession that Sunderland have failed to win any of their opening six games.

Quite a staggering statistic: three different managers, three exact same scenarios.

If it wasn’t so depressing it would be hilarious: let me assure you, it is for everybody else.

Sunderland’s constant survival scrapes, high turnover of players and managers has long robbed us of football’s sympathy.

I suspect there would be great amusement among football fans and media alike if Sunderland were finally relegated this season, along with those other whipping boys Aston Villa and Newcastle.

The neutrals are rooting for those clubs who are doing it differently, battling against the odds: Leicester for their verve, Bournemouth as the underdogs, Swansea for their style and even West Ham for their bravado under Slaven Bilic.

Our club needs a new narrative which is why it is imperative Dick Advocaat sees out this season at least.

For a start, nobody else is going to get any more out of this team, not in the long term anyway.

He won a place in all of our hearts last season; not so much for his no nonsense approach, but for the way that hard exterior melted away on the Arsenal pitch; when the tears revealed the man behind the manager.

I love him for his honesty, there is no bluff, nothing is dressed up, he tells it as it is.

Advocaat doesn’t set out to mislead the fans, or sugar coat his team’s shortcomings, or for that matter placate the man who pays his wages.

And I for one actually believe him, this team will get better but it will take time; we are paying for our failure to strengthen swiftly and decisively at the start of the summer.

I don’t doubt that the quality of our squad is better than last season, but there have to be concerns about the desire and character which have yet to show themselves.

Last term we owed so much to the passion and determination shown times after time by Seb Larson and my favourite Sunderland player Lee Cattermole, snapping and biting in the heart of our midfield.

We won’t get through this season without them.

I only hope they can return to the levels we’ve come to expect of them and we can become a team the opposition doesn’t look forward to playing.

In the meantime, it’s our managers job to install some confidence in the players after each damaging defeat threatens to take its toll.

If it feels like you’ve heard all this before from me I can only apologise: history is repeating itself over and over again.