Have Black Cats used up their nine lives?
Sunderland look doomed this term after staving off relegation over the years
Being an Arsenal fan is a tough proposition these days. I don't profess to be a Gunners supporter, although they are the English Premier League team I've often enjoyed watching over the years.
Each gameweek has become football's version of Groundhog Day, where I find myself bawling at the TV as Arsene Wenger's lily-livered back four concede yet another soft goal.
Once I've calmed down, I then text my Gunners-supporting mates to ask them how they can possibly cope with following a side who are wonderful on their day, but lack the backbone and character to truly compete for the EPL title.
But if supporting Arsenal is a fraught business, with fans trading blows while their manager plans his own timetable to departure like a dictatorial head of state, imagine what it must be like to support Sunderland.
The Black Cats are 10 points adrift of safety with eight games remaining.
Despite somehow surviving relegation against the odds so often in the past few years, thanks largely to the exploits of Paulo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce, this time the Wearsiders look well and truly doomed.
In all the above cases, Sunderland clawed their way out of trouble having changed their manager during the season and relied on the subsequent short-term lift to pull them through.
The fact that it's worked each time goes very much against the statistical grain.
This time around, the Stadium of Light hierarchy have opted to show faith in David Moyes, who is quite obviously feeling the heat, judging by his disgraceful comments to a female reporter following last month's draw against Burnley.
But, purely from a footballing perspective, I believe that Moyes deserves a crack at hauling the club out of the Championship next season, if and when their fate is sealed.
When you consider the players he inherited, the absence of financial clout at his disposal, and lack of time to overhaul an under-equipped squad, this was always mission impossible.
However, it's ironic that, in a season when the club belatedly show loyalty to their managerial incumbent, it's the very campaign where they sleepwalk towards relegation.
For a side that has often under-delivered, why do 42,000 people continue to file through the turnstiles every other weekend?
Sunderland fan Alex McCain told Roker Report: "To be a fan of this club is to be something beyond a simple connoisseur of football - it's to be gifted with the ideal that you should never stop believing.
"Sunderland is hope. It is hope in its purest form, and it is this hope that devotes you to Wearside.
"It is this hope that sustains you week-in week-out, home and away, through the most gruelling and glorious of times."
Unfortunately for McCain and other Sunderland fans, the Black Cats' nine lives look to have been well and truly lived.
Unless they manage to pull off another great escape, starting with a win over Moyes' former club Manchester United tomorrow night.
Richard Lenton is the lead presenter at Eleven Sports. Join Richard and his studio guests for Eleven's live coverage of the Premier League, which includes tonight's clash between Stoke and Liverpool (9.30pm), tomorrow's meeting between Sunderland and Manchester United (8pm), and the Crystal Palace-Arsenal tie on Tuesday morning (3am). For details, visit www.elevensports.sg