It’s brilliantly strange how expectations have already risen for most Sunderland supporters.
While it’s still easy to acknowledge how difficult this season will be, it speaks volumes that a 4-1 home win was met with a response of “that’s the way it should be.”
It would be overly simplistic to dismiss that attitude as arrogant or complacent. The club as a whole is rediscovering it’s identity and we’re in the process of remembering how great SAFC can be.
In the not too distant past, a half decent run of form would trigger as many nerves as it triggered hope. An extra few thousand would clink through the gate and unless it was during one of those great escape runs towards the end of the season, the hope and expectation would be shattered.
Sunderland are meeting those expectations now though, especially at home against the more “beatable” sides in the division. Sneer all you like about it “only being League One” but as a club and as fans, we could really do with a year when winning comfortably becomes normal.
With two matches at the Stadium of Light where we’ve won by three clear goals, it’s fair to say that Jack Ross is making significant strides towards victory becoming the norm and not just a one off.
The supporters are reflecting that as well, with home crowds around the 30,000 mark and away allocations up and down the country being sold out. The Lads wont be on home turf this Saturday but a huge away following at Coventry will mean those big expectations will follow them.
To add to that, it’s a lunchtime kick off in front of the Sky Sports cameras, so you don’t have to worry about being labelled a parasite if you choose to watch the match in the boozer! Result!
No matter where you watch the match from though, whether it’s at the Ricoh Arena, the pub, the house, wherever, you’ll be anticipating a positive showing. By the time kick off comes around, the usual nerves will build up and you’ll be hoping the players just go about their business in the same way they did against Rochdale. That’s all you should have to worry about as well.
You don’t have to worry about matters such as how you should support your club because in some way or another, we’ve all given time and money to Sunderland AFC when we probably should have known better.
Not everyone realises that, especially those who haven’t been closely associated with the club during the truly difficult times. You only have to look at those who mocked the empty seats at the SoL in recent seasons rather than acknowledging the filled ones.
Often though, time can give you perspective and the realisation that situations are often more nuanced and not as simple as they may seem.
It’s been a hard few years supporting Sunderland and it’ll take a while for some peoples wounds to heal. No matter where you cheer the lads on from though, you’re contributing. You’re contributing to the buzz that’s building around the club, around the city and around this young, exciting team.
The longer that feeling builds, the more people will click the turnstiles but it won’t happen overnight.
For now though, let’s enjoy the positive feeling around the club and remember that we are all a part of it.