Sunderland must beat Fulham on Saturday if their winless run at the Stadium of Light is not to extend beyond a year.
It was on December 17 last season that home fans celebrated as David Moyes’ side beat Watford 1-0 in the Premier League.
One relegation, another experienced manager in Simon Grayson, 364 days and a new English record of 21 matches later and supporters are still waiting for that winning feeling.
Sunderland have not won at the Stadium of Light since the 1-0 win over Watford last DecemberiPhone transfer software
Sportsmail's CRAIG HOPE speaks to thier fans about what it's been like to witness the decline
And yet, the club are still declaring attendances of around 28,000 a week this season — third-highest average in the Championship.
Here, Sportsmail talks to those followers who have lived through the pain of the past year…
THE FATHER & SON
Stuart Bailey, 36, Family Enclosure season-ticket holder with son Harry, 12.
■ What’s been the lowest point?
Leaving at half-time is something I don’t do and have vowed never to do again... but against Southampton last season we’d had enough and walked out at 0-2. We were having a beer in town and got news of Southampton’s third and fourth. We just glanced at the score and carried on talking about something else, not football.
Apathy takes a long time to be drummed into a football fan and it’s a horrible feeling. So that was the lowest point, not relegation, that was actually a relief.
Sunderland were put to the sword by Southampton last season that saw many fans leave early
■ How much money have you spent since the last home win?
I would say about £1,000 to include tickets (£30 per game) and food and drink (£20 per game). Although after Harry goes home you can probably treble that given the amount of beer it takes to drown our sorrows!
■ Do you still enjoy going to the match?
If I just took Harry to the game then that would be a bit cruel! So I try to make a day of it, a few games of pool and seeing friends.
But the actual 90 minutes? How can anyone enjoy what has been served up in the last 12 months?
Going to the football is still an enjoyable day out but the actual action on the pitch has been tough to watch for many Sunderland fans recently, particularly at the Stadium of Light
■ What does your son think?
I really feel for him, he thinks it’s boring. This is his fifth season-ticket and I’d hate to check how many wins he’s seen (it’s 18, an average of less than four per season).
When I was his age I stood in the Fulwell End at Roker Park with my old man but I’d nip over and see my mates and have a good craic. He hasn’t got that, the stadium is soulless right now and not much fun for anyone.
The happy times are just memories.
■ So why don’t you stop going?
I’ve been following them since I was six and I can’t help it. I won’t say it’s a habit, because that’s not true. It’s a lot more than that — SAFC are like a family member, someone my wife would like me to stop seeing, but you can’t