Anyone who has been on an away trip to the Stadium of Light will tell you that the Sunderland fans, much like their bitter rivals Newcastle United, live, eat and breathe football.
They are more passionate than most and put many Premier League sides, including defending champions Manchester City to shame when it comes to their attendance levels – and champions elect Chelsea when it comes to their vocal support of their team throughout the game. That is why it is so surprising that their home form this season has been so poor – and one of things that could well see them drawn into the dreaded relegation dog fight before the season is out.
Anyone looking at the Black Cats when they managed to stun Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea could be forgiven for thinking that they were a massive force to be reckoned with at the Stadium of Light – and so they should be. The club have passionate fans, a big and imposing enough stadium that is always full and players to do it – but they have faltered this term at home.
Yes, goals have been an issue and the January signing of Jermain Defoe will hopefully fix that, but surely that is something manager Gus Poyet should be focusing on?
It is a fact of modern football that owners are trigger happy and fans quick to vent, but Poyet and his players have had over half a season to sort themselves out this term – and have failed to do so.
It is all well and good calling on the fans to show some ‘understanding and patience’ but it is they who are paying the money to go and watch the team, they who are braving – according to Mario Balotelli at least – the coldest stadium in England, and they who are desperate for their side to perform and at least prove that they can stay in the Premier League.
There may be three worse teams than the Black Cats this term – in fact there certainly are, but Sunderland have to sort their home form out if they want to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap – and show some ambition and creativity for their fans to hold onto.
Sunderland fans. Do you think that you will stay up this season? Can your home form be fixed? What was your best display at home this season? Let us know your thoughts below, become a guest blogger or tweet us @LaFootyettes.