132 years of history on the brink of disaster…
Sunderland must not be allowed to make history.
Schedules have been cleared, superstitions prepared, for the game that has been in our diaries since the release of the fixtures, is almost here.
They stand on the edge of history, as victory in the Sunderland v Newcastle fixture would give them a sixth, yes a sixth, consecutive victory over us, which no team has achieved in the 132 year history of this fixture.
This has not been due to the Mackems having a multi-billionaire investor propel them into the stratosphere of European football. Indeed, in the last two seasons Sunderland would have been relegated were it not down to the kindness of their arch rivals.
Yet there can be no doubt about it, other than perhaps last year’s 1-0 victory at St James in the dying seconds, all of the conquests have been fully deserved. The final scores telling their own story: 0-3, 1-2, 0-3, 0-1 and 0-1.
I asked a Sunderland fan if he had been at the game when they had demolished Newcastle 3-0 at St James Park.
His response was innocent, cutting and brutal. He replied without a hint of irony upon his face, which one?’. Those two words said it all. The mere fact that Newcastle have been beaten so comprehensively by a team who have not finished in the top half of the Premier League for 15 years…
As usual, Sunderland are languishing at the bottom of the league, and once again with the regularity of trains at Newcastle Central they have changed their manager. This has of course happened before with unfortunate results for the Magpies.
However, Sunderland have not just brought in a new manager, they have elected for Big Sam.
Big Sam has already made history as the first person to have managed Newcastle and Sunderland. He is right when he says that the pressure is upon him, his side are the only team in England’s top four divisions without a single win and after just 9 games they are already five points from safety.
In truth the picture is hardly rosy for Steve McClaren, although he does have the luxury of the feel good factor produced by Newcastle’s 6-2 hammering of Norwich last Sunday, with £15m signing Wijinaldum contributing four goals. The first Toon player to do so in the Premier League since Alan Shearer scored five against Sheffield Wednesday back in 1999.
For Newcastle there can surely only be one option and that is to go all-out attack. The approach worked against Norwich and is the best way to face a Sunderland team lacking in confidence and skill.
For the home side, they can rely on a cauldron atmosphere with the backing of 45,000 home fans who will never tire of beating the old enemy and will do all that they can to make the Magpies as uncomfortable as possible.
It has been four years since Ryan Taylor’s free kick won the derby at the Stadium of Light.
On Sunday we need to get mean, get passionate, but most of all get the win.
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