I was born, very proudly, in deepest Northumberland.
On Mam’s side, the stripes are black; on dad’s, they’re red.
A bit like the ‘Boy Named Sue’ story, being raised as a fan of either club not only drains you, but forces you to find a depth of character you didn’t know you had.
Then there’s the abuse – especially for us brought up in Yorkshire amongst the venomous vitriol of the ‘mighty’ Leeds and the bitter snipes that started at primary school and never ended.
Then, there’s the false hopes, tales of mis-management, the sense of reality that leaves you celebrating points at Chester City or 3-0 wins at Scarborough (I know, don’t laugh…).
I have been a Sunderland fan all my life. But, before that, I’m from the North-East – and the sooner both clubs are back to full health, the better.
I’m also, my wife says, a ‘soft shite’.
I am genuinely unhappy that this has happened to the club so many of my ancestors and family still love and follow.
I hope lessons can be learned from Leicester, Watford and other ‘smaller’ cubs – and that my Mam’s half of the family have something to cheer again soon.
“Keep ahaad, Bonny Lads!”