The most alarming aspect to Sunderland’s perfectly woeful season so far is the opposition.
That isn’t to say that other teams in the league are operating at a consummate level of footballing skill that can only be gawped at.
Quite the opposite.
In the dozen fixtures played so far, we haven’t seen an opposing side that actually looked any good.
Yet Sunderland have won only one game.
Now that, is something to worry about.
Queen’s Park Rangers were quite possibly the worst of the lot.
At times it was quite bewildering how bad they were.
They were still good enough to take a point from Sunderland.
Aiden McGeady’s equaliser was propitiously timed, coming as it did when the atmosphere in the Stadium of Light was about to become irreparable.
When the afternoon’s previous biggest cheer was of the ironic type because someone had managed to successfully control the ball, you can safely conclude that Sunderland are plumbing the historical depths.
It took me back to 1 February 2003 when, during the 19-point season, under slate grey drizzle, Sunderland were trailing Charlton 3-0 at home – to three own goals.
At this point the crowd began a Mexican wave: the only one that ever served any purpose. That’s because it wasn’t in essence a Mexican wave at all; it was really a display of mass sarcasm and communal popjoying.
Still, the sneering led to an immediate improvement. It finished 3-1.
Supporters back in the current era were not placated by the boss’ post-QPR comments.
A manager whose team is performing as dreadfully as Sunderland will be criticised for anything he says after yet another bad result.
But Simon Grayson invited more obloquy by affecting unconcern.
Asked about occupying the bottom three, he said: “The position will only become a worry when you’re still in it and it’s mathematically impossible to catch the teams above you.”
Have I missed something? This sounds as though he will only become worried when Sunderland have actually been relegated.
This is akin to Anne Boleyn dismissing any fears of execution until her head had actually bounced into the wicker basket.
I suppose Mr Grayson was attempting to exude confidence and reassurance.
It didn’t work.
He would be better served politically by swerving awkward questions by talking about the next game; bearing in mind that any direct answer he gives to awkward questions at the moment will be used to bludgeon him with.
With more than a quarter of the season elapsed, Sunderland sit three points from safety.
It is inconceivable that Grayson is not worried.
He has perhaps failed to grasp the distinction between worry and panic and is pretending to do neither.