It wasn't until this morning that I realised what we'd lost. While Sunderland open with a game-of-the-day at Bolton Wanderers, we face the long, unfamiliar trudge to West Bromwich Albion. They play Blackburn, we play Palace. They get to visit Stoke, we get Leicester at home. Hack out eight defeats and several extortionately priced away ends and the only gulf between the two divisions is on the balance sheet.
Unfortunately, between a holiday in Croatia and a job in Japan I won't get to see as much of this as I'd hoped. Leicester at home, definitely. Plymouth too. Maybe even Cardiff away.
What little remaining interest I have in the Premier League rests with the Mackems and Manchester City. "I hope they break into the top four," a Sunderland fan said at the weekend. "Yeah, watch Liverpool go bankrupt," agreed his Newcastle-supporting mate. There isn't much that Newcastle and Sunderland fans ever agree on, but watching the Big Four squeal is a universal pleasure these days.