The Hope I Can’t Stand
Groundhog Day is certainly in effect at Sunderland.
December 10th, 2012
Every game is the same. We make horrendous errors – ones which schoolkids would be ashamed to make – gifting the opposition a couple of goals, then fight back a little bit but it’s all too little too late. The outcome of which is we’re asked by Martin O’Neill post-match each week to ‘take the positives’ and the general feeling around the more sensible fans is that we’ll be fine.
However I find myself in some sort of no-man’s land between both sense and taking O’Neill’s point, and generally being a bit angry about the situation in which we find ourselves. Especially reading the guff we’ve to endure following our most recent defeat.
Playing well for simply a half or an hour isn’t good enough, and while we’re asked kindly to focus on the positive aspects of the game, I do worry about whether or not anyone at all is focussing on the negative aspects behind the scenes at the club. There’s simply a huge amount of errors. None of which O’Neill can control on the pitch, but he can do something to drum it into the players that they best never do it again or they’ll be having to find somewhere else to put in their sub-par performances.
Fingers are being pointed everywhere at the moment at O’Neill, at the players, even at each other in the stands. The fault lies, for me ,with a bit of everyone. It’s fair to say that this isn’t Martin O’Neill’s side and he’s left with a lot of rubbish left over from the Steve Bruce era. On the other hand though he hasn’t been quick to really go out and fix that problem.
Obviously we don’t have an unlimited pot of money, and the signing of Steven Fletcher was needed to fill the void left by both Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan’s acrimonious departures. However money has been spent elsewhere, and some of the worst elements of the Bruce era – such as Phil Bardsley – have been roundly praised by O’Neill and the backroom staff, with no indication that they are on the chopping block.
Then of course there are the players themselves who’ve massively contributed to our downfall. Bardsley made some horrendous errors against Chelsea, as did Seb Larsson, while Matt Kilgallon probably hasn’t slept since Norwich away – and rightly so.
Then there’s us, and I include myself here. A negative vibe going around the stadium won’t help anyone. I’m doing my absolute utmost to not have a pop at anyone too much publicly but time really is beginning to run out for some players in this squad, and there isn’t any harm in saying “hey, I’m not happy with this”.
Right now everything rests in the hands of O’Neill and whether or not he has the ability to inspire this team to turn around. I’m sitting here, with my tongue very much bitten, hoping he can.