There is an adage that success has many fathers while failure is an orphan.
The saying is probably attributed to someone clever who died yonks ago. I can’t be bothered to find out whom. This is a footy column.
Furthermore it isn’t even true. Failure has as many antecedents as success.
Failure at Sunderland has an inordinate number of fathers – and a minimum of one mother – and you might think it reasonable to attach at least some culpability to the players.
Not so, said the easily confused Bolton defender, Karl Henry who, straight up, blames the supporters.
After his side’s recent draw on Wearside, he burbled: “It’s a toxic atmosphere for the home team. I wouldn’t want to be a player here with those fans.”
There are children in this world who may well live through two Christmases before one Sunderland home win. Karl seems to have trouble grasping the fact that this sort of statistic tends to leave paying customers feeling just a mite cheesed off.
But don’t worry Karl. I’ve watched you a few times and you can be assured that the gladness you feel at not playing for Sunderland is reciprocated.
However, apart from the players, who else is not to blame? Apparently, the last-but-one manager.
We would prefer to forget about David Moyes and his spectacularly incompetent stint at Sunderland. But we aren’t allowed even that small pleasure.
If his appointment at West Ham last week seems inexplicable, his accompanying bellyaching about how terrible Sunderland were to him was completely predictable.
He says he “had a great year” at Real Sociedad before they ... er ... gave him his cards for poor results.
After that: “I came back and made a poor choice in the club I chose.”
Wrong way round mate. He inherited a club that appeared to have turned a corner; losing only two of its last 14 games of 2015-16.
That run included a victory over Manchester United and another against Chelsea; the latter being played in as buoyant and bouncing an atmosphere as any in world football.
Well he soon put paid to that; transforming that scenario to wintry misery by assembling the worst Sunderland team in over a decade. He was, in his own way, quite the magician.
His confidence-draining negativity saw good players turn bad before our eyes. He compounded this with ludicrous team selections and disastrous signings.
The oft-repeated claim that he was given “no money” at Sunderland is the sort of thing we expect to be Tweeted from the White House these days.
After not bothering to sign Yann M’Vila, he recruited among others, Papy Djilobodji, Didier Ndong, Donald Love, Steven Pienaar, Joleon Lescott, Darron Gibson, Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer.
That lot cost over £30m in transfer fees. Try not to torture yourself by even imagining their salaries.
In the aftermath we have had to endure codwallop from the likes of Harry Redknapp, about how no manager could have saved Sunderland last season, when various bosses had preserved the club’s Premier League status for a decade.
Richard Keys (remember him?), an “expert” and friend of Moyes has defended the Scotsman’s time at SAFC.
Keys came out with: “What chance have you got in those circumstances? There simply was no money to make the team better.”
Writing in her dreadful Sun column, Moyes’ new boss, the part-time game show host Karren Brady defended her new appointment.
She said: “The pundits point to the ex-Everton and Manchester United manager as the man who failed to keep Sunderland up last season. That is too simplistic.”
It certainly is. For a start it overlooks the fact that Moyes also flopped in Manchester and Spain.
Undeterred, she continued: “Sunderland were on a lengthy slide towards relegation – and are now at the foot of the Championship table lacking high-quality players to bolster them.”
The first part of that sentence is false. Sunderland were rising under Sam Allardyce. The second part is true – and largely attributable to Moyes.
But why should concern ourselves with the ill-informed waffle and selective memories of Brady, Moyes himself, Keys and all the others?
Don’t they just come out with all this junk for reasons of self-interest, cronyism or simply not knowing what they’re talking about?
Well yes, but the problem is that all this banana oil they spouted has received national coverage – to a credulous audience – while Sunderland have been looking for a new manager and owner.
The club doesn’t need to be made to look even less appealing than it already is.