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Watching them is a chore

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Watching them is a chore

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-02-15, 5:33 pm

'Watching them is a chore - it's a horrible feeling': how Sunderland fell out of love with its football club

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Luke Edwards
15 FEBRUARY 2018 • 2:43PM


Sunderland will open an impressive new bridge spanning the River Wear in the spring. The imposing Northern Spire Bridge is a grand project that will hopefully unlock miles of underused river bank for redevelopment, a symbolic act of regeneration for a city that, like so many others in northern England, has never quite recovered from the loss of its heavy industry three decades ago.




Just under two miles away, and Sunderland's Stadium of Light stands as a monument to a different kind of decay. The club's drop into the Championship last May - after a decade of struggle in the Premier League - was supposed to be rejuvenating. The team would remember how to win, supporters would remember what it felt like to enjoy going to games again.
Instead, it has simply precipitated a more intense gloom. Sunderland have won just five league games since and risk sliding into League Onefor only the second time in their history. The Stadium of Light is half full most weeks - although an average crowd of just under 28,000 is no mean feat given the meagre entertainment served up by the home team - and those supporters who do attend are on the verge of open revolt.



“You’re supposed to enjoy going to the match, but it’s not enjoyable at all," says Stephen Goldsmith of popular supporter podcast, Wise Men Say. "You turn up and the city is like a ghost town. The crowds have dropped by around 15,000, sometimes as much as 20,000. That’s a lot of people missing, especially on a match day in a city the size of Sunderland.



“People aren’t smiling, it has become a chore. As soon as the opposition team score, that’s it, heads go down and you’re heading towards yet another defeat. It’s a horrible feeling you can’t get rid of.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world to say you should turn up and get behind the team, but that’s just not human nature when things are this bad. I don’t think any fan, of any club in the world, could accept so much failure.”
That is no exaggeration. Since August 2014, Sunderland have won just 18 home games, three of which were against lower league opposition. Six were secured by Sam Allardyce during his brief seven-month reign in the 2015-16 season, and in the whole of last year, Sunderland won just three times on Wearside - two of which were delivered by new manager Chris Coleman in November and December.



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Sam Allardyce saved Sunderland from relegation in 2016, but things have gone downhill ever sinceCREDIT: PA


The impact is felt across the city. “More cosmopolitan cities like - and I hate to say it - Newcastle will always have a vibrancy,” added Goldsmith. “But in Sunderland, the football is the thing that holds it all together.



“When the football team is doing well, this city is buzzing, it’s alive. The frustrating thing is that things are actually improving in the city. There is a lot going on, a lot of redevelopment, but the football team are bringing that down.”
Some fans even blame the city's defeat to Coventry in the bid to become UK Capital of Culture in 2021 on the football's side struggles. 
“If Sunderland had still been in the Premier League, I think we would have won it," said season-ticket holder Cara Hills-Smith. "I think relegation had a negative impact on perceptions of the city. I don’t think the football team has done much to make the city proud in recent years.
“I blame the owner, Ellis Short. He isn’t interested, he doesn’t want to invest. None of the Sunderland supporters I know blame Chris Coleman. I think we are lucky to have him, but he’s had no support from those above him."
There is also frustration from the council’s perspective that the city’s regeneration is being undermined by the football team, even if it comes laced with defiance.



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Ipswich condemn Sunderland to another home defeat CREDIT: SUNDERLAND AFC


“I can understand the frustration fans feel with the club, though we shouldn’t forget this isn’t the first time it has struggled in the second tier, never mind in the first,” said Councillor Mel Speding, Sunderland Council cabinet secretary, who holds the city’s regeneration portfolio.



“I also understand the frustration that some might feel how, as the city continues to regenerate itself, the club has, let’s be fair, not done so well recently.
“But Sunderland, and indeed the North East, has more than bounced back from the years of decline and the wrecking of its traditional economy, and I’m not alone in hoping the club is going to bounce back up too. Like Sunderland itself, you have to be resilient if you’re a fan of our club.”
As for Coleman, he has tried to be upbeat since he replaced Simon Grayson, but Sunderland have spent just £1.25million on players since relegation - despite selling goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30million. 
Things have improved a little on the pitch. The 3-3 draw at Bristol City last weekend – Sunderland were 3-0 down at half-time – could spark their revival, but they remain in the bottom three ahead of Saturday's home game against Brentford.



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Sunderland come from behind to draw 3-3 at Bristol City - a rare highlight of the season so far CREDIT:SUNDERLAND AFC


For the first time, last week, having been relentlessly positive about the club and its potential, Coleman slipped into a different mode. He talked about needing to be backed in the summer if he is going to reverse years of decline.



For seasoned observers, this is known as Stage Two in a Sunderland manager’s journey. Stage One is excitement and talk of potential. Stage Three is disillusionment and self-preservation. Stage Four is blame the owner.
“It’s not the first time I’ve been staring into an abyss in my career,” Coleman explained. “Injury ended my career when I was 30 and there were dark moments then. “I completely understand the frustration of the supporters. They are stuck because they love the club. As angry as they are and as frustrated as they are, it's like a magnet. But that should never be abused. 



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Chris Coleman has had little money to spend on saving Sunderland CREDIT: IAN HORROCKS


“At the minute we’re in the bottom three and for Sunderland in the Championship, that’s rock bottom. It’s a psychological barrier you have to break down. But if we stay up and we’re serious about making progress, we need to spend money. I don’t know what will happen in the summer.”

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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  MrRAWhite on 2018-02-15, 8:12 pm

Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..

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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  Vincemac on 2018-02-15, 8:41 pm

MrRAWhite wrote:Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..
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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-02-16, 5:31 am

MrRAWhite wrote:Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..
Well you know m view.

It's hard work at the moment watching the team but IMO in most games they try their best.When heads drop its rarely lack of effort or not caring, IMO again. It's lack of confidence and that here we go again feeling.

The Asoros done seem affected at the moment and will drag the others back but I am at a loss to see how booing helps anyone except the opposition.

I like Coleman and for me his positivity is his greatest asset.

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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2018-02-16, 5:38 am

cyprussyd wrote:
MrRAWhite wrote:Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..
Well you know m view.

It's hard work at the moment watching the team but IMO in most games they try their best.When heads drop its rarely lack of effort or not caring, IMO again. It's lack of confidence and that here we go again feeling.

The Asoros done seem affected at the moment and will drag the others back but I am at a loss to see how booing helps anyone except the opposition.

I like Coleman and for me his positivity is his greatest asset.

You & all whom do, deserve a medal for sitting through it in the freezing cold  I love you

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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  cyprussyd on 2018-02-16, 11:12 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
MrRAWhite wrote:Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..
Well you know m view.

It's hard work at the moment watching the team but IMO in most games they try their best.When heads drop its rarely lack of effort or not caring, IMO again. It's lack of confidence and that here we go again feeling.

The Asoros done seem affected at the moment and will drag the others back but I am at a loss to see how booing helps anyone except the opposition.

I like Coleman and for me his positivity is his greatest asset.

You & all whom do, deserve a medal for sitting through it in the freezing cold  I love you
I hear what you say Kiwi but in all honesty this one comment shows how different football supporters are, BTW I have only been freezing once this season, we tend to dress for weather.

I see nothing strange in going to games, no medals needed. If I wanted guaranteed entertainment and good results why on earth would I ever have started supporting Sunderland. Indeed I can give a very long list of teams that would have no supporters who meet that criteria.

I am annoyed at how the club have been dragged down, annoyed with Short and very occasionally annoyed with the team.

I rarely get annoyed with the players for been short on quality because they are what they are and I will be there on Saturday because I want us to win and feel all I can do to help is to be there and support. Booing and walking out at 2 down is not my style, if we learnt nothing else last Saturday it is stay and support, you just never know.

I'm not having a go at anyone, we are all different and all have the freedom to make choices, I'm just saying why I make my choice, not for medals just because its my idea of what supporters do.

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Re: Watching them is a chore

Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2018-02-16, 8:05 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
MrRAWhite wrote:Regardless of how bad the team is doing there is no excuse for the utter negativity that for me has been a major part of our decline in recent years.. A positive vibrant atmosphere would work wonders for the teams performance, of that I am sure..
Well you know m view.

It's hard work at the moment watching the team but IMO in most games they try their best.When heads drop its rarely lack of effort or not caring, IMO again. It's lack of confidence and that here we go again feeling.

The Asoros done seem affected at the moment and will drag the others back but I am at a loss to see how booing helps anyone except the opposition.

I like Coleman and for me his positivity is his greatest asset.

You & all whom do, deserve a medal for sitting through it in the freezing cold  I love you
I hear what you say Kiwi but in all honesty this one comment shows how different football supporters are, BTW I have only been freezing once this season, we tend to dress for weather.

I see nothing strange in going to games, no medals needed. If I wanted guaranteed entertainment and good results why on earth would I ever have started supporting Sunderland. Indeed I can give a very long list of teams that would have no supporters who meet that criteria.

I am annoyed at how the club have been dragged down, annoyed with Short and very occasionally annoyed with the team.

I rarely get annoyed with the players for been short on quality because they are what they are and I will be there on Saturday because I want us to win and feel all I can do to help is to be there and support. Booing and walking out at 2 down is not my style, if we learnt nothing else last Saturday it is stay and support, you just never know.

I'm not having a go at anyone, we are all different and all have the freedom to make choices, I'm just saying why I make my choice, not for medals just because its my idea of what supporters do.

I hear you & I've NEVER booed in my life. I was offered tickets to a match the other night but it was 0c & so I chickened out, hence my comment.
Glad to now be home with 28c at 9am...lol

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