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Video Special – Sunderland v Gillingham Play-Offs 1987

6 years ago

The second round League Cup draw on Wednesday night saw Newcastle United picked out to face Gillingham.

The match will be played at the Priestfield Stadium in the week beginning Monday 25 August, with Sky having the live broadcasting rights and expected to show games on Monday, Tuesday and the Wednesday of the week.

With our shambolic cup participation under Mike Ashley, it looks a knocking bet that they will be choosing us for yet another hoped for humbling experience in front of a TV audience – the full NUFC fixtures for the coming season can be seen [intlink id=”191″ type=”page”]HERE[/intlink].

For fans of a certain age, any mention of Gillingham will always evoke a smile and memories of 1987.

Gillingham sent Sunderland into the third tier of English football after a crazy two-legged play-off ended 6-6 on aggregate.

Able to pay on the gate at the second leg at Roker Park, many Newcastle fans travelled over to support the team from Kent – with most Newcastle fans who were there estimating between 1000 and 1500 black & whites were in attendance, the police reacted by allocating a section of one paddock to Newcastle fans, while many United fans were amongst the Gillingham supporters in the Roker End corner.

Sunderland supporters generally dispute those numbers while still acknowledging the United support numbered in the hundreds.

Gillingham won the first leg at home 3-2, with Sunderland winning by the same score at Roker Park in ninety minutes. A goal for both teams in extra time meant Gillingham went through on away goals into the final of the play-offs but lost out to Swindon.

These play-offs were between the teams who’d finished 3rd, 4th and 5th in the third tier and Sunderland who had finished third bottom in the second division as it was then, defeat meant the red and whites went down to the third.

Many fans believe that the raised levels of bitterness/rivalry certainly from the Sunderland side, date back to that match at Roker Park in 1987.

After the second leg match, Gillingham manager Keith Peacock was interviewed (also included in this video footage below) and was asked about Tony Cascarino, the striker scoring three goals in the first leg and two in the second.

‘I think the Geordies will remember him for a long time to come.”

Enjoy highlights of the first leg and then the second leg footage from Roker Park starts at 2.17 –



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