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Where to start? I feel like a broken record here, but again, the match wasn`t on the telly, so I was reduced to spotty internet feeds and a neutral Bet365 commentary (I swear they have a crowd sound effect loop running in the background.)

And again we didn`t seem to be able to string two passes together and win a bloody game. Bruce said in his post-match comments that he wasn`t instructing his players to hoof it up to the front over and over again, but then what is he instructing his players to do during training? Something smells. I think when the season is over the pundits and analysts will look at our team and scratch their heads in wonder. This is getting beyond silly. We have quality players, but they`re beyond sub-par.

So here it is: I count myself firmly in the "Bruce out" camp. The responsibility for winning matches falls ultimately at the manager`s feet - or at least it should. I know it`s tempting to point to our injuries and suspensions as the culprit, but those are done and dusted at this point. We should be back to where we started at the beginning of the season in terms of quality. And we`re not. Far from it, in fact. He`s grasping at straws now and we need to arrest the slide.

I just noticed something. I have used 'we` quite a few times in this article so far. My wife points this out to me on a regular basis. This is an interesting phenomenon to me. I fully understand you lot over there in Sunderland adding yourselves to the collective in this way, but why the hell am I doing it? Because it`s in me now. Like an evil, pernicious virus. When Sunderland lose, I lose. "We" all lose, don`t "we"?

And I notice I also referred to today`s draw as a loss. Because lately, those hapless, soulless, plodding draws are like losses for me. For us.

So what`s the verdict, lads? Do we stick with Bruce (I say no) or do we stick it out and see how he does next season, Championship or no? By the time this is published, he may have been shown the door and we may have been introduced to another manager who has extremely, heart-attack-inducingly-high expectations to fulfill. But I feel bruised by my ten years as a Sunderland supporter. I can`t imagine how those of you who are lifers feel.

It`s the hope I can`t stand. Ha`way the Lads.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: JJ Burch Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 1 2010

Time: 11:05AM


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