Photo credit: Jamie Smith
Sunderland’s Wembley win on Saturday broken a horrible dark spell over our club, one that had hovered us for four years.
That spell was the misery of being in the third tier, having faced two successive relegations, and sinking to the lowest and darkest moment of Sunderland’s history.
Not only did we fall down to there, but three attempts to get out ultimately failed. Things on and off the pitch painted a grim picture, as anger and discontent grew over the club’s owners who were perceived to have cheated the fans.
Worse, only months ago we seemingly lost hope for this season as Lee Johnson’s well oiled start to the reason fell to pieces. A 6-0 humiliation at Bolton, the false hope of Roy Keane returning and the Jermaine Defoe saga all added to our woes.
Then, along came the underdog. The glamour of having Keane again meant that Alex Neil came into the Sunderland job as an unwanted manager. Expectations were minimal.
And he proved us all wrong in ways we never could imagine. They say a week is a long time in football, it was here. Neil transformed a feckless SAFC into an ironclad side who would go on to lose just one of their last 13 games.
Reorganized, solid, energetic and unbeatable, Neil revived our faltering promotion hopes, took us to Wembley and won it in spectacular style. In doing so, he broke a longstanding curse which had seen the lads lose every single Wembley playoff final since the competition began.
Now, the nightmare is over. The rugged and unaspiring life of the third tier is gone and this club’s fanbase, having held strong through this horrible experience, stands prouder and stronger than ever before.
Awakened from our deep sleep of disillusionment and apathy, we find ourselves in love with this club all over again and are looking forwards to the future.
Bring on the championship.