Well it's been an interesting discussion I've enjoyed nonetheless kostas. It's a shame I don't really care about Serie A
Warren Hughes wrote:Jeroen, I love your passion. What led you to start supporting Sunderland, and when?
I've been asked this question many times by puzzled family members and friends alike. And for quite awhile I refused to answer simply because it's a ridiculously stupid reason
But here goes anyway!
So the first season I remember watching was 2004-05, and a small approx. 6-year old me was introduced to the beautiful game. But I didn't really have anyone to support. My mum and uncle were diehard Spurs fans, both my granddads on the other hand were Gunners, but none of them tried to indoctrinate me, though had I been exposed to my uncle more often, I may very well be a Lilywhite! (although I am a big Spurs fan thanks to the aforementioned family members) Anyway Chelsea were the big team at the time, so I just went ahead and jumped on the bandwagon. Woo! Go Chelsea! Lampard, Duff, Gudjohnsen were my favs.
But there was this team who played in red and white stripes whom for some reason I was watching playing. Chances are it was a Chelsea game. Anyway I found red and white aesthetically pleasing, and I've always had an affinity for good-looking people, and we had Liam Lawrence (I would later find Dean Whitehead very handsome too!) at the time
I discovered the team's name was Sunderland, and decided, 'hmm, I'll support them too!'. When my grandparents headed to the UK for a holiday, my grandmother asked me what jersey(s) I wanted. I said Chelsea and Sunderland (she asked me what player names I wanted, I of course said Lampard and Lawrence
). Alas she only came back with a Chelsea jersey...
Anyways as we all know Sunderland got relegated with the worst Premier League record ever (although thankfully Derby came along and beat us!) and disappeared. I don't think I realized this, I was too busy pretending to be a real Chelsea fan. But Sunderland reappeared in 2007-08 with Roy Keane at the helm! So I thought, 'hey! Roy Keane really rocks! We rock!' And then the news that we had signed Craig Gordon for a record fee, and my pathetic little mind immediately thought; 'wow! we're so rich we can afford the best goalie in Britain! woo!!!'
Of course I never expected us to be challenging for the title, I was smart enough to realize that, but I thought Gordon and Richardson (signed from Man Utd) were world class. By then I think I had inherited my mother's knack of supporting the underdog. As the season progressed, I found Kenwyne Jones and Michael Chopra fantastic as well... I recall watching a Sunderland vs Arsenal game, and Grant Leadbitter scored one hell of a goal! This was an upset in the making! Just a few more minutes! And... That idiot Cesc or whoever it was went and equalized. Ah well.
The next season we got Pascal Chimbonda, Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio (though I forgot the latter existed until recently), and, all being from Spurs, and my mum and uncle being Lilywhites as mentioned, I thought they were all world class
'Yeah! We got players from Spurs! We're really big!' We got Cisse on loan, and that was really it for me really. I mean, this is DJIBRIL BATHPLUGGING CISSE. That Liverpool striker right? And then we got Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio! He's his brother! This was it. I forgot about Chelsea, I was a SAFC fan from here on end! (Sidenote: I thought very highly of El-Hadji Diouf for some awkward reason... I only just discovered he didn't score a single goal on Wearside!
I thought highly of Sbragia and was surprised when he didn't stay on, though of course I was too young to understand all the factors properly. So when Steve Bruce came along, I thought, 'Hey he's good!'. And I mean saying this was justified later on. Zenden, Bent, Catts, Henderson and the like. One season we were as high as 5th! My uncle came up to me and said; 'Seems like someone has European aspirations!'
Unfortunately for some reason I let go of the football bug... And the next thing I knew... Darren Bent was gone! WHAT? He said he was happy right? He said he would never leave right? Pfft... Yeah well my uncle later told me some guy named Sol Campbell did something similar to Spurs... Following results showed we were on the decline. Bye bye 5th... We were down to 13th or something like that. And football began to bore me anyway, so I said bye bye! It's just F1 from now on!
Until last year... My friends invited me to watch a City/Liverpool match with them. Something clicked. It's like... I'm not sure how to explain it, but immediately after that match, I decided to check on Sunderland. We were... to say the least, in a bathplugged up situation... But then soon after, I heard Martin O'Neill was joining! Hey this guy is really good! I watched Sunderland vs Blackburn. From then on, football took over me. I learnt my history, every single rule of the game, I started playing, and I absorbed myself with everything Sunderland, the legends and so much more. I'm a total football nut in general now! I have tactics, my own squads for various teams and so much more!
The basic reason I started supporting SAFC was because of their jersey and Liam Lawrence, but I've accepted its history and the club. I'm SAFC For Life.
And that, is my rushed but still ridiculously long story I could go on and on telling the full story