David Jones: Sunderland fans left Thierry Henry bewildered and could help secure transfer targets

FANTASTIC: Sunderland supporters celebrate.
FANTASTIC: Sunderland supporters celebrate.
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IT isn’t always easy being a Sunderland fan; in truth it never has been.

Feeding on scraps, up one minute down the next, and the next ... never quite sure where the next high will come from.

BEWILDERED: Thierry Henry.

BEWILDERED: Thierry Henry.

We’ve had the odd trip to Wembley, the seasonal scalp of one of the so called giants, the biennial derby celebrations and once in a blue moon a team we thought was really going places.

In truth there hasn’t been a lot to shout about.

But the thing of which I was most proud on Sunday wasn’t the fifth straight win over Newcastle, it wasn’t the fact that three points have given us a bit of breathing space at the bottom, nor was it Jermain Defoe’s wonder strike.

It was the fans.

It was spine-tingling stuff, the kind of atmosphere Sir Bob Murray can only have dreamed of when those first bricks were laid at the Stadium of Light.

The one constant in our club through all the troubles of recent seasons has been the incredible support.

And when it really mattered on Sunday, in a game Sunderland simply had to win, those supporters – you – made yourselves heard from the first minute to the last.

It was spine-tingling stuff, the kind of atmosphere Sir Bob Murray can only have dreamed of when those first bricks were laid at the Stadium of Light.

Yes Roker had its roar but this noise was a swirling cacophony that seemed to hang in the air and visibly lifted every player in red and white.

In the Sky studio, the expression on Thierry Henry’s face said it all.

I’ve told you before how impressed Henry has been with Sunderland fans in the past but even he seemed bewildered by the noise.

And this is a guy who’s played on the biggest stage and in the biggest stadia the world over!

All that helps: players talk, agents talk, no one who saw and heard the game on Sunday can have failed to be impressed by the support.

You never know just how significant that could be when Lee Congerton goes chasing his targets this summer: yes the modern player is motivated by money but they all want to play in front of a crowd like that.

As for the goal itself, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one as stunning in its execution and of such magnitude by a Sunderland player.

In these pages I’ve been willing Defoe to show us his talent and I’m not surprised that strike brought a tear to his eye.

It was fitting of the atmosphere and the least those who created it deserved.

But we all know without the intensity of that performance, the noise from the crowd would have eventually fallen away.

It was as if one inspired the other, something we haven’t seen on Wearside for some time.

Dick Advocaat’s high energy game has been the perfect antidote to the previous regime and it looks like the players are enjoying it too.

My only concern is that for so much possession enjoyed over one of the Premier League’s poorest teams (who must be so thankful they had a strong first half of the season) Sunderland weren’t able to create more.

Four shots on target was the sum total of Sunderland’s threat, including the goal we will never forget.

Now more than ever we need Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher to come to the party as well – and the sooner the better.

Crystal Palace should be a much harder obstacle than Newcastle proved to be.

They are a totally different proposition to the team Sunderland beat at Selhurst back in January.

I saw them win at West Ham comfortably last month and since then they’ve also beaten Stoke and of course on Monday they ended Manchester City’s forlorn title hopes.

They have quickly become a formidable Premier League outfit under Alan Pardew, particularly away from home where their pace on the flanks has proved a potent counter attacking weapon.

In Glenn Murray they have found a talisman who always scored goals at a lower level but you were never quite sure could step up to the Premier League – much like Grant Holt at Norwich or Rickie Lambert at Southampton.

And having come back from a career threatening injury, he plays as if every game could be his last, draining himself of every last ounce of energy, and you get the feeling he would do anything to score.

It’s that same commitment we need again on Saturday from our players to take another huge step towards safety – and it’s the least the Sunderland supporters deserve.