The Newcastle v Sunderland derby is obviously the first match everybody looks for when the fixtures are released, then of course the reverse game on Wearside.
Despite the hopeless nature of both clubs in recent times, it obviously is a big deal for us locals (Image above is Gallowgate End – Newcastle v Sunderland).
However, what about for those outside the north east, what do they make of it?
Well, an excellent feature by Four Four Two has seen attempt to put in order the 50 Biggest Derbies in the World.
Whilst you can use some criteria, a lot of it is of course subjective (and good for arguing about…).
They are releasing the rankings in groups of 10 and Newcastle v Sunderland feature in the latest list released.
As you can see below in rankings 30-21, the north east meeting comes in at No.24 in the World, below these rankings find below the interesting write-up on Newcastle v Sunderland from Four Four Two:
30 Genoa v Sampdoria (Italy)
29 Colo-Colo v Universidad de Chile (Chile)
28 Benfica v Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)
27 Hadjuk Spilt v Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
26 Raja v Wydad (Morocco)
25 Real Betis v Sevilla (Spain)
24 Newcastle United v Sunderland (England)
23 Corinthians v Palmeiras (Brazil)
22 Partizan Belgrade v Red Star Belgrade (Serbia)
21 East Bengal v Mohun Bagan (India)
‘Whether locked in a battle at the bottom of the Premier League or bitterly disputing who has the better trophy haul – somewhat resembling two bald men fighting over a comb – Newcastle and Sunderland are never far from each others’ thoughts.
As with the Liverpool-Manchester spat on the other side of the Pennines, it began as a commercial rivalry, but things turned deadly during the English Civil War.
Long favoured by regally granted coal export rights, Newcastle was Royalist – while overlooked Sunderland went Parliamentarian; in the inevitable battle, King Charles’ troops were defeated and Newcastle subjugated.
A century later they were again riven by constitutional conflagration during the Jacobite rebellion (supported by Sunderland, resisted by Newcastle loyalists). And by 1883, they had the first derby.
Newcastle fans at a derby in the Roker End
The footballing rivalry has veered from the banal to the barbaric.
Some fans boycott bacon (because it’s red-and-white) or Sugar Puffs (because Kevin Keegan advertised it), while others make the mutual hatred known more viscerally, and not just by the infamous 2013 punching of a police horse.
In an apparently pre-arranged incident in March 2000, more than 70 fans fought with bricks, bats, bottles, pool balls, CS gas and knives, leaving one brain-damaged with a fractured skull and dozens sentenced to up to four years in prison. It wasn’t even a matchday.’