“SHOW me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” said legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi.
As memorable sporting quotes go it is, of course, utter nonsense – as if being gracious in defeat is ever a bad thing.
It is only sport we are talking about here, after all.
In football there are such things as bad defeats and not-so-bad defeats.
There is a big difference between losing by seven goals to a team from League Two and putting up a decent fight against a side which costs more than a small country’s GDP.
However, is there a point when you get too good at accepting losing games?
Last weekend was a prime example of this. Newcastle played much better during Saturday’s defeat at home to Manchester City.
At least they gave the champions, a club with pockets deeper than the Grand Canyon, a run for their considerable money in the second-half.
However, it was still a home defeat, Newcastle’s third in the league this season. That’s not particularly good, you have to say.
To the other side of the great divide and nobody really expected Sunderland to take anything from Old Trafford.
They did not disappoint and they, too, lost 3-1.
However, James McClean said, “on another day we might have got something” as if that made up for another Saturday with no points taken.
For Newcastle against City, there was the passion and genuine good play in the second-half, while Sunderland scored against Manchester United and at least were not humiliated.
The two Manchester teams are the best in the Premier League by some distance. They will beat just about everyone else from now until May.
However, it has reached the stage when the post-match comments from Newcastle and Sunderland have centred on picking positives from another defeat.
It is not that either camp has ever said losing is acceptable.
Rather it’s understandable given the problems both squads have. Is this really what supporters want to hear?
Football fans are actually very good at talking up the positives after watching their team lose the odd game.
If they didn’t, then most would give up their season tickets around about October!
Those in the North East, though, have grown weary of trying to look on the bright side after another bad day at the office, many of them coming against average Premier League sides.
It’s time both teams gave their followers something else to talk about apart from how Saturday’s defeat was actually nearly encouraging.