If there was ever a prize for the club that most deserved to be relegated in the Premier League, Sunderland would win it with ease.
A board with zero ambition, no discernible style of football, zero continuity, and fans who have been conditioned into accepting it, there is a lot wrong with Sunderland at the moment. Rivalry aside, the only good thing about the club is the passion of the fans who probably deserve better from the club, no matter what some may think of their other antics.
Antics, such as when the same aforementioned fans flew a Sunderland plane banner over St. James Park last season for “banter”, celebrating the relegation of Newcastle United.
They even had the audacity to do it near the 17th minute of the game, even knowing what the minute was for.
It appears a group of Newcastle fans have now decided to fly a banner over the Stadium of Light, seeing that the shoe is truly on the other foot, with us going up and them going down.
So far, no real issue, even though we’ve usually ignored their rivalry as they were the smaller club, and this is giving them importance they truly don’t deserve.
Personally, I think completely ignoring their relegation would have annoyed them a hell of a lot more than this banner ever will, because it is the fact that Newcastle is a bigger club that can ignore them which truly enrages Mackems. But then comes the main issue with the Sunderland plane banner.
The chosen message is:
“UNITED BY CANCER, DIVIDED BY LEAGUES.”
I do not personally know any of the people responsible for the message which was voted on, but bringing cancer in for a banner like this is tasteless, and shows a lack of judgement.
Hardly offensive, but still something that will probably cause some grief to those who have cancer, including potentially the young Sunderland fan, Bradley. There was zero reason to reference cancer in the banner.
It is not some amazingly witty message, as some seem to think it is, but a completely ridiculous one.
There are two things the banner supposedly sets out to do. One, mock Sunderland, two, spread awareness of cancer. It manages to do neither.
We are all aware of cancer and the banner is hardly encouraging or even spreading information on how to donate. As for mocking Sunderland, this is possibly the least offensive combination of words for most Sunderland fans. It’s ridiculous in how much it does not mock Sunderland, and how much it does not take the mick out of them.
It’s schoolboy stuff and the only Sunderland fans that will be potentially upset by this are the ones with cancer, or with relatives who have cancer. I do not buy that the banner is offensive to people with cancer but I do think it is juvenile and completely fails at what it sets out to do.
Cancer is a serious disease, to trivialise it on a banner intended to mock your local rivals does not spread awareness.
On a more joyous note, Rafa Benitez won the Championship, over managers who Newcastle should supposedly have hired because they have “experience”, according to some pundits.
Some of these pundits, even now, don’t believe that Benitez winning the Championship is a sign that they are wrong, and now are maintaining that he should have won it much earlier. It’s bitterness, which makes zero sense, as it is a continuation of a general theme of English “pundits” believing English football is in someway different.
It’s not, the English leagues are more exciting because of the similar quality of teams. One of the main reasons for this is because there is no standout great team in the English Leagues, like Bayern, Real Madrid or Barcelona. No surprise English teams don’t do well in Europe. Benitez and Marcos Silva, two managers of vastly different experience who have made the pundits look a bit silly this season.
This weird desire to mark the English League as different is particularly weird, as there is no need for it.
As for Newcastle, the future is bright, the future is Benitez.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])