There can’t be a better or more thrilling way to win any football game than coming from behind to score a last-minute winner in front of your own delirious fans.
Throw in the fact that those same fans have had precious little to cheer for what seems like forever and no wonder there was a great feel good factor after Saturday’s win over Charlton.
It wasn’t technically the perfect win and we are certainly not the perfect team, but you just can’t underestimate the huge importance of an opening day victory by a team that showed huge character to bring back belief to a fanbase that has become used to disappointment and failure.
Sunderland don’t usually do opening day wins – the first win of the season most years usually comes around October time – but not this season!
We’re up and running and you’ve got to go way back to 2009 for the last time we got maximum points on the first day.
On Saturday the fans turned up, the sun shone and there was a feeling of optimism about the place, all the factors that usually see Sunderland fall flat on their face, but even allowing for a calamitous start, somehow it all ended the way we hoped it would.
Yes, in terms of winning promotion this was just a small first step, but in terms of lifting the morale of the fans and convincing them that Sunderland are heading in the right direction, it was an absolutely huge leap.
Losing yet again didn’t bear thinking about, a draw I could have lived with, but by winning and getting the season off to a flyer, means far more than just the three points.
As we all saw, it didn’t start well, and Sunderland’s usual early gift to the opposition came from a clumsy challenge, giving Charlton a clear penalty and they were more than worthy of their early lead.
If they scored a second, and they should have, when Lapslie missed a glorious chance, what turned out to be one of the best matchday experiences the fans have had, certainly at home in recent years, might never have happened.
That’s why the manner of the win pleased me more than anything. Sunderland’s new, young team had to dig deep, nothing on Saturday was easy, but they came through a difficult contest in difficult conditions and found a way to win which is always a great sign.