It has become an all too familiar sight. Around five o’clock on a Saturday evening, a man in a sharp suit and red and white club tie will stare dejectedly into a camera and struggle to find the words to comprehend what they have just seen.
They will mumble a few platitudes about how their side wasn’t brave enough, lacked a bit of luck or were up against a superior opposition.
They will then go on to praise the supporters that continue to watch this side in their numbers, promise that they will strive to improve the situation and then scuttle off to repeat the same speech in a week’s time. Whether it is David Moyes, Chris Coleman, Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce or Robbie Stockdale that same bleary-eyed explanation remains the same year after year.
However, this time the current incumbent of this hilariously incompetent football club said three simple words – among the rest of his post-match analysis – “sorry about that”.
Sorry about that.
Sorry for absolute car crash the past 12 months have been. Sorry that for only the second time in 140 years Sunderland will be playing third tier football next season. Sorry about that.
Sunderland supporters don’t need to hear apologies. We need to know what happens next.
If you want to create unity then this is the time to do it. A clear plan needs to be vocalised from the club’s hierarchy to the fans as to where we go from here.
Are we about to be taken over? Is Chris Coleman going to remain our manager? Is there going to be any money to spend next summer? Is half the stadium going to be shut down.
Tell us how we are going to effectively navigate our way through a league that no one has really given a second thought to the best part of three decades. Tell us how we are going to make this city proud of the football team that bears its name on its shirt and tell us we are going to end the cycle of being the national media and the footballing world’s punchline.
That is what I’d like to know.
Saturday’s inevitable and calamitous defeat to Burton Albion has put Sunderland at an overwhelming point in its history. The decisions that are made over the coming months will define it for the rest of its existence.
Get it right and there could be a rebirth and reinvigoration akin to the one’s seen at Leicester City, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, get it wrong and we could have Coventry City or Charlton Athletic situation on our hands.
Given the track record of the board and management teams when it come to making key decisions, the future does indeed look very bleak. However, something has to change, something must change.
And that change needs to happen soon.
Over the next few weeks there will be more people lining up to say how sorry they are about the situation the club finds itself.
Please save your apologies. We don’t need them.
The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Chris Coleman.
You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes