This season feels sluggish to say the least, but there's something I've been thinking about more and more this year – I'm less worried that Sunderland will not play on a Saturday.
I used to be disappointed when a weekend came when Sunderland did not play. There is always something to keep in mind when playing football on Saturday. Going to a match is often a good day, regardless of the outcome. It is a big event. My last game was the Shrewsbury game in October (I currently live in Wales) and besides the result we had a great time.
There were several weekends this season that did not have a match – be it for an international break or, like this week, for the first time in our history, we did not make the first round of the FA Cup.
Honestly, I was once disappointed when there was no Sunderland match on a Saturday. It just did not feel right, especially if we had canceled games for international breaks. Why we could not do without Jon McLaughlin or Tom Flanagan for a week or two was a mystery to me.
I thought that's my thinking because Sunderland is not very good. The fact that I enjoyed looking for the results in 16 years after the boys' persecution on Saturday means that this can not be the case.
How many times have we been really good at this time – a year and a half maybe?
That's probably pessimistic, but not too far from the truth.
Granted, when I write that on a Friday afternoon, I get frustrated when there's no Sunderland game. December seems to be a short month for games as only two games are played between the beginning of the month and Christmas. This is partly because Bury left the Football League, giving the division a strange look since the summer.
Watching Sunderland play was usually a novelty for me. I have lived, studied and now work far away from the bright lights of the SoL. Therefore, it has become more difficult to follow the games, and when the opportunity arises, I rarely miss them. If there is no game on a Saturday afternoon, the time between 3pm and 5pm feels empty. Yes, there is another football to keep an eye on, but it's just not the same, right?
The period in which we are currently finding our club is, as so often pushed in our faces and throats, the lowest in the history of Sunderland. The season, which has been shot five times by teams that have benefited from our performances, which are totally tactical or biting, is quickly becoming a dystopian nightmare … though I would like to think that George Orwell is in a better position would taste soccer team.
Still, it's getting harder and harder to get interested in Sunderland, not someone who can play a lot of games this season. The 2-1 defeat to Burton on Tuesday was better than ever. At least in the Premier League, when a team dances through our shy defense, you could almost accept that. If players like Aguero, Salah, and Sterling make your team look amateur, you need to know that Sunderland can not compete with such players.
When Liam Boyce and Adebayo Akinfenwa do it, it just feels naff.
This article may have slipped a bit, almost like Phil Parkinson's relatively short career on Wearside, but the point is: I say it's nice not to see Sunderland on a Saturday afternoon, but deep inside I'll be there miss it.
There are very few of us who would not do that.