As the crisp packets blow around the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night, Sunderland fans may even feel like travelling seven years back in time if they had the choice.
Halloween 2010 saw Newcastle hammer the Mackems 5-1, with a hat-trick from Kevin Nolan and two from Shola Ameobi.
However, the end of the season saw Sunderland in a very rare top half of the table finish (10th), one point and two places above Alan Pardew’s Newcastle, with Chris Hughton having been dispensed with as soon as possible by Mike Ashley mid-season, when Newcastle were safely in mid-table.
Moving seven years on and whilst Sunderland supporters may have enjoyed Monday night’s defeat for Newcastle at Burnley, it is back to reality for them tonight, or at least it is for the handful who are still bothering to go.
They face Bolton and if the visitors win, Sunderland go rock bottom.
Newcastle loan striker Adam Armstrong is likely to start and his manager Phil Parkinson is backing him to get his first league of the season very shortly (see below).
Whilst after being released in the summer by Rafa Benitez, Sammy Ameobi is now back fit and maybe no coincidence that his return to the team has seen Bolton pick up five points in their last three games with two goals scored by the former Newcastle winger, they had only picked up two points from the previous 11 matches.
Sunderland fans are predicting (see below) what could be their lowest ever league crowd at the Stadium of Light.
It must seem an awful long time ago now for them when they were celebrating Newcastle United’s demise 17 months ago, when relegation struck in May 2016…
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson talking to the Bolton News:
“I think it (Adam Armstrong’s first league goal of the season) will come.
“Every week he has chances. Last week he went clean through, the keeper makes a save and we score from a corner. I think he’s had about six or seven shots there, which is good.
“He’s a player who has scored at league level, had a great run at Coventry (scored 20 League One goals in 2015/16), scored goals at Barnsley last year but he’s doing a great job for us out on the left side, you have to give him some credit for that.
“His discipline and tactical awareness is very good and I am confident the goals will come.
“Adam was a threat (last weekend against Fulham), our whole attack looked a threat.
“It is good that the lads are growing into this division.”
Sunderland fans ‘looking forward’ to tonight’s match and commenting via their ‘Ready To Go’ (bottom of the league) message board:
‘Bottom of the league, freezing and the bairns all trick or treating. Maybe they could huddle us all into one stand to keep warm?’
‘Will be our worst league attendance for donkey’s years. Possibly the worst ever at the Stadium of Light.’
‘It’s looked sub 20k for the last two or three games.’
‘I sit next to 20 odd empty East Stand seats to my left – ya kna about it once the wind n’ that starts swirling.’
‘Take plenty of cats with you….you’ll never get a better chance of swinging them.’
‘Turned a free one down tonight from one of the lads I told him cheers but shove it up his backside.’
‘There’s Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. Then there’s the method we are using to give the bums on seats figures which is totally fictitious.
If it was over 20,000 at the weekend then my eyes must be deceiving me. Could be a shocker tonight.’
‘I was talking to a steward at the QPR game and he told me that the ‘through the gate’ attendance for Forest was 18,000.
‘He also told me that the section where I was sitting was expected to have 15 people in it.
They were thinking about closing the upper sections to reduce costs but didn’t want to annoy season holders that had been in the same seats for years.’
‘Obscene the way some on here are reveling in and loving our low attendances.
Mags and traitors all of them.’
‘They’ll close the upper bowl next season completely and move the away fans back down to the lower. Absolutely pointless keeping it open now for the amount of fans using it and an unnecessary waste of money having it open.’
‘It wouldn’t bother me at all if/when they do. Saves money and a better atmosphere. They must be burning cash having beer/pies up there for no one to buy.’
‘There’ll be pre pulled pints on the bar waiting since the Cardiff game.’
‘Anything over 10k is a bonus imo.
I tip my hat to anyone willing to sit there in this weather and watch that rubbish.
I’m not even gonna listen to it on the radio.’
‘There’s cost cutting to be had. Could open just one stand and it would save a few thousand pounds.’
‘Official attendance will be about 24,000 but in reality it’ll be about 15,000 and look ridiculous. The top tier all the way round needs closing and the away fans put in one of the corners.’
‘Feeling highly optimistic. 0-0.’
‘A win tonight could see us relegated as it might mean Grayson stays around a bit longer.’
‘I suspect that 99.99% of the people in the ground tonight will be expecting Bolton to lob high balls into the box from free kicks and throw ins and put pressure on our back four and keeper that are struggling for confidence. I also bet that the 0.01% that are not ready for it are the players.’
‘We will start the better team.
They will go one up on their first dead ball situation.
We will get a fortunate equaliser, and then second half we won’t have one shot on target and they will deservedly get a winner.
And I’m one of the biggest Happy clappers going anarl.’