Sunderland fans have at last found something to get animated about.

Looking certainties to do the double (consecutive relegations, not league and cup one…), crowds have more than halved – now below the twenty thousand mark.

With no wins in the last 10 Championship games and only nine matches left, what is there to look forward to?

Well, their final game of the season is home to champions-elect Wolves and as well as a predictable high demand for tickets from the visitors, now plenty Sunderland fans are interested in going back for that one after having deserted their club on relegation.

News/rumours is sweeping Wearside that Newcastle fans are planning ‘another Gillingham’.

For younger fans, this relates to 1987 and Sunderland’s play-off game against Gillingham, the Mackems needing to win, otherwise they were going down into the third tier.

As you will see below, some Sunderland fans are in denial that it even happened at all, but 30 years ago you had a lot of Newcastle fans who travelled down to that game.

I now…because I was there.

On the morning of the match the Sunday Sun said that there were still plenty of tickets left despite the relatively modest capacity, so my mate and me decided to go down for a laugh. Unknown to us, there had clearly been a more organised effort, as the train was rammed with Newcastle fans (no colours) on the way down to Seaburn station.

The eventual gate was 25,470 and exactly how many Sunderland, Gillingham and Newcastle fans were there that day, will always be argued about.

On getting next to Roker Park we were asked by a copper ‘Are you Sunderland, Gillingham or Newcastle’? What a question.

We went in the Gillingham end, where I would say there were around 500 Newcastle fans alongside a couple of thousand Gillingham supporters, whilst Newcastle fans also had their own dedicated section in the paddock.

Gillingham won the tie on away goals and Sunderland were relegated, not sure what happened with those Newcastle fans in the paddock but we were locked in for a good while, as Sunderland fans outside were desperate to get at the Newcastle supporters who were in amongst the Gillingham fans. Though I don’t think the Gillingham fans were too popular either having sang ‘We love you Newcastle…’ for much of the match, aimed at those NUFC fans in the Paddock and in amongst them.

Anyway, moving forward 30 years and now Sunderland fans are hearing widespread rumours that a repeat of Gillingham is planned by Newcastle supporters.

Who knows if it is true or not but whilst some Mackems are seeing the funny side of it and offering their tickets to any Newcastle fans who want to watch the rubbish they are watching, plenty of other Sunderland fans are now very interested in suddenly returning for this last game of the season on Sunday 6 May (12.30pm kick-off). Many seeing the chance to take out their anger on any Newcastle fans who do make the trip…

Comments taken from the main Sunderland fans message board Ready To Go:

‘Has anyone else heard any rumours regarding a number of the unwashed trying to get tickets for the Wolves game?

It seems a few have got a bit carried away with themselves believing that thousands descended on Roker in ’87 and their web-toed offspring are possibly planning it this year?’

‘They’ll have no trouble getting tickets.’

‘They can have mine.’

We should be all for it. Think of the extra pennies off the debt.’

‘I’ve heard it from quite a few of the young (Newcastle) lads at work. “Their generations chance to do a Gillingham” they reckon.

They are adamant it is on.’

‘Give them their own alllocated section.

£50 a pop.

Sad f…..’

‘Wasn’t planning on going to another game until Short has packed his bags. But I would happily go to this at the prospect of splattering a few wannabe hard lads from Mordor.’

‘I was in the clockstand against Gillingham and I didnt see any Mags that day.’

‘I’d say about 300/400 in attendance. In the section below the seated Gillingham fans.’

‘They had the section near the Roker End.’

‘That could be brilliant a sold out last game of the season. Would help put much needed money back into the club. Howay you smelly b……s come and watch us play.’

‘I was in the clockstand against Gillingham and i didnt see any Mags that day.’

‘I was in the Roker End and I did. They were singing One Peter Beardsley I recall for some bizarre reason.’

‘I honestly wouldn’t be bothered, nothing will better the 6 in a row imo. The away games were absolutely class. I doubt they’ll ever experience anything like that.’

‘I hope so, we could do with the cash and a full stadium.’

‘There was a good hundred and the police protected them after the games, as they were getting a lot of attention. There were on the Roker End side of the Clockstand.’

‘Let them come !! be nice to vent and get rid of the pent up frustration of this season and last, and the one before that and the one before that…..’

‘Apparently they are looking to arrange a fight in Seaham after the game. Triple threat with the wolves money boys. Rumoured to be bringing thousands.’

‘I was in Roker End that day and there was nowhere near 150 , and I will gladly turn out for the Wolves game now.’

‘If this rumour gathers pace it’ll probably put a couple of thousand on the gate …

…. all Sunderland hoping the dopes actually show up and make themselves known.’

‘Why don’t we just allocate them 3000 places in the NW Upper at £50 a pop.

Club makes itself £150,000 of much needed cash and they are made to look like the obsessed tw.ts that they are.

Everyone’s a winner!’

‘It doesn’t bother me – we’d take the pi.. if it was the other way round

I just hope the daft lads get a few clips.’

‘Lad at work has said he’s heard at their games that plenty of them planning on coming.

Should be fun.’

‘Any mag thinking he can take the pi.. is f…ing deluded.

This isn’t roker park in the 80s .

I hope they try it, I really do.’

  • TheNutJob

    shouldn`t mock the afflicted, that could well have been us but for Rafael

  • Paul Patterson

    SAFC, doing their best to get out of the Championship at the first attempt . . .

  • Dillon Tovak

    Here’s a scenario, it gets organised, more Sunderland fans actually turn up, the atmosphere is the best of the season, they win and stay up.

    • Paul Patterson

      They’ve got to win games between now and then for that to happen . .

      • Dillon Tovak

        True, what was I thinking 😂

        • Leazes.

          They will probably be down with three games to spare.

  • Dekka Bread

    I always have a little chuckle when folk from the beautiful ‘city’ that is Sunderland call us unwashed, smelly and web-toed. Their grasp of irony is phenomenal. That said, most of them look like they’ve had a shower when they travel up to Newcastle for their flights to Benidorm.

  • Leazes.

    Cant take criticism Jim? Poor form chum! You and your Tory mates at the Mag sure are dumb.

  • Kevin Henderson

    its all part of the fun for us mags. the smb are going on as if they would not do the same

  • Neil Hutchinson

    I didn’t realise that there were so many people keen on tennis on Wearside. Apparently SAFC fans will all be getting tickets for Wimbledon. #lalas

  • Grahame Johnson

    A mate and I escorted a Leeds fan earlier this season to sos he was a good lad and sat still, my mate loudly shouted get in when Leeds second went in I forgot and stood up clapping, sometimes its hard to keep it in, another strange one was in the leazas on new years day the chant was n and an e and a WC castle uni ted Newcastle united #@$% off, which nearly caught me out, also just to say there’s some rough makems about then there’s the men

  • Benton Bob

    Any NUFC fan who attends that game would be classed as deranged IMHO. Why bring ourselves to their level — planes flying banners etc. Let them stew in their own juice — I wouldn’t rule out a triple relegation next year as well. We shouldn’t delude ourselves too much — if not for Rafa we’d already be relegated.

  • Mrkgw

    We have had our laugh at their expense. Done. But, I can’t help feeling a tinge of sadness to see yet another former Premiership side falling from the big time and into oblivion. Whether it be the mackems or not.

  • Brian Standen

    I’m not ashamed I was in the clock stand paddock some 30 years ago, and yes it was nervous times at full time, just a spur of the moment thing deciding to go and paid on the gate – turnstile 18!

    It was the Police who directed us to Turnstile 18 ( why we were not sent back is odd to this day)

    However on the full time whistle we were ushered underneath and kept in for an age, we could however see a scene from ‘28 days later’ through the gaps as the locals were for some reason unhappy!

    When we did eventually get out it was surprisingly quiet and calm!

    Numbers from Newcastle attending is disputed but I honestly estimate there was about 6 – 800 in the clock stand paddock next to the Roker End, Gillingham fans were sitting above!

    The Roker End had about 1000 Gillingham fans adjacent to the Main Stand with a few hundred more Newcastle intermingled!

    Am I going to the Sunderland Wolves game , absolutely not, different times , different era but no less funny!

    • Leazes.

      You are a moron!

      • Brian Standen

        Of course I am , we all have been at some time , we’re you not on the pitch invasion in 74 against Forest?
        Or is your name just a charade? Maybe your name should be A Wing Paddock ( older fans will know)!

        • Leazes.

          Yes I got pushed on…there is a photo in the mag somewhere of me standing next to a policeman.

          • Brian Standen

            I think that puts us both in the moron bracket!

    • X,WHY,Y MAN.

      Like you say it was a different era but in today’s climate it will be an utterly stupid thing to do.
      The powers that be will probably ban any Newcastle fans attending for years with today’s snowflake attitude towards anything and everything !

      Like some of the Sunderland lads said above, It will help them out financially if a load of divvies from Newcastle go to the S.O.L.

      • Brian Standen

        Totally agree. I can smile from a distance!
        It’s less than 2 years since they partied while confining us to oblivion, well oblivion beckons ….. but not for us!

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      I was in the Clock Stand paddock as well, but was well along from where the Newcastle fans were gathered, so had to keep my mouth shut.
      The funniest thing was I nodded off on the train back to Newcastle. When it arrived at the Central, a Sunderland fan said: “Wake up. You’re in the Third Division.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth.

  • Paul Cannell

    This will never happen as the police will be able to spot Newcastle fans trying to get in, “if you’re smiling, you’re a Mag get out”

  • Siderian

    Glad we’re so fondly remembered all the way up there in the North East. Looking forward to taking 6 points off the Mackems next season as well. GFC

  • Antenociticus

    There were at least 2 NUFC fans on the Fulwell end that day, I know ‘cos I was one of them. On a Sunday afternoon with nowt to do my mate and I drove through the tunnel to Roker. We could see the potential for bother in the clock stand paddock and the Roker end so we decided the safest place to be was standing on the Fulwell. We just paid on the gate and were entertained!
    From where we were I reckon there were 500-600 Geordies in the paddock and a couple hundred more on the Roker end.
    The game itself was pretty entertaining: Cascarino getting his 2nd hat trick of the tie for Gillingham. The third coming in the early minutes of extra time, it had finshed 3-2 to the mackems after 90 minutes. That meant that Sunlun’ had to get 2 more to live another day. Of course they only got one back and despite winning 4-3 (6-6 aggregate) they were relegated on away goals.
    It was a surreal experience, being in a stadium with three sets of supporters. I’ll never forget the looks on the mackems faces when Cascarino got his third.. .

    • Jezza

      Make that 3 Newcastle fans in the Fulwell because that’s where I was stood on that very wet spring day on Wearside. To be truthfull I watched as a “neutral” and took no pleasure in Sunderland’s demise. Back then as now I could see that it was in nobody’s interest to see the North East in danger of becoming a footballing wilderness.

      You’re right about one thing though but. It was a cracking game. One of the most entertaining I’ve ever been at. Goals flying in, end to end football, drama, tension, excitement, it really had everything.

      • Mark Potter

        A neutral, don’t make me laugh. I bet you had a tear in your eye when they lost?

  • Jonas

    Newcastle being involved one way or the other is the only way they ever fill their grounds

  • Jonas

    “nothing will beat the 6 in a row – i doubt they will ever experience anything like that”
    wow!!! Champions league?, beating Barcelona, not losing a game in Sunderland for 30years,.Keegan winning every derby game he had,dominating the fixture 91-98, 01—08.
    its creeps like that that make the benefit of rubbing their noses in s**y.

    we’ve never experienced anything as pitiful as tier3 football,.but that’s a fact not a imo

  • Jonas

    Bet the same people who say they will miss the banter slag this prospect off

  • Joseph Burton

    Think you need to learn to count – not sure what you’re going on about referring to sub 20k crowds. Its 25k/27k most weeks.

    • Paul Cannell

      Even sunderland fans admit the official attendance is not the real turn out,as it counts season tickets holders who have not turned up.

    • Brian Standen

      Reality check. Arsenal get 60000 every week as well!
      La la land if you think Sunderland are getting 25k in!
      Most Sunderland fans admit its less than 20k each week!
      That’s no criticism by the way as at least it’s showing the owner what you think

  • edmund.allcorn

    As a Gillingham fan at the game in the away end, my estimate was about 1,500 Gills fans in total, mostly on the away terrace along with hundreds of Newcastle fans plus 500-ish in the paddock in front of the away seats! Got hugged by an insanely happy Newcastle fan when Cascarino scored… We were chanting “Geordie Gills!”

  • East Durham Mag

    The Sc*m deserve all the sh#te coming their way after what they dished out to us. Stuff them.

  • Scott Robinson

    ‘This isn’t joker park in the 80s ‘

    Yes that fearsome place of cowardly clowns.

    Yes the place where we usually had 10k tickets for the derby and they were snapped up in no time when they could never sell their home tickets. The place we took over including the venture into the wellfull. The mackems were an embarrassment, but they have white washed history with the new generation of keyboard seaburn cretins and you’d have to be in your late 50’s even to remember!

    Imagine 150 or 1000 mackems at St James Park in the 80’s to take the pi$$. Just couldn’t and wouldn’t have happened due to words rhyming with ‘loft’ and ‘height’.

    Anyone with memories of a certain age would know it isn’t an exaggeration to say 75% of our support at Sunderland were lads prepared to do battle (morons). The 2-2 draw when Peter Cartwright equalised with a header in 82 midweek League Cup. I have never seen more toon nutters (morons) at a match before or since, as that day. We were untouchable.

    Before any neo-toonarmies want to criticise, remember in those days the more morons that went to away games the safety of the 25% of non-morons was guaranteed! Only morons found their way into the Leazes End and the later Gallowgate corner; you didn’t need opera glasses to see that.

    • Brian Standen

      That league cup game was not even a sell out down there ( as is the norm), if memory serves me well crowd was around 30k mark of which 8000 came from up here- in those days on Derby Day the Blue Bell at top of Fullwell Road was black and white!
      It was different days of course but it was how things were!

    • Geordiegiants

      Howare, the corner was just a laugh man, it might of been full of lunatics, but it was the best atmoshpere in any ground in the country, we even had a go at the score board for a bit of craic.
      Can’t even imagine anything like that happening again, it was a terrible time to watch the match, but the best time ever to be a fan.

      • Brian Standen

        I think Scott was being ironic because everything he said was right really

    • anders

      Will never forget 67 McNamee swinging on the crossbar in front of the fulwell end after equalising and thousands of Newcastle fans celebrating in front of him,the scum apart from hammy and a few of there game lads having abandoned the Fulwell for the rocket end

    • Leazes62

      Hell of a walk back to Seaburn station that neet n’all, think that was the “busiest ” return journey to the Toon from the dark place I ever had> Tommy Cassidy from about 35 yds was the other scorer iirc

  • Mike

    how do i get a ticket?

    • Martin Rooney

      Just ask they’ll give you one

  • Graham Chapman

    Let’s keep our dignity this time around; it will upset them more if we don’t give a toss

    • Lhc

      F*k that!

      • Graham Chapman

        OK, lets behave like f**kwit morons, punch another police horse and embarrass ourselves! Rise above it, let the Mackems dig their own hole

        • Lhc

          Who said anything about horse punching you t*t! 1 nufc fan tried to punch a copper on a horse then the media jump on it n spin it as nufc fan punches a horse, if you believe he the media then your a thick as 🐖 s**t! The mackems have got it coming in all shape so n forms of us when they down, watch this space.

  • Kev-82

    Why help them out financially? Sod that.

  • Alreet

    If it happens itll be something that will never be lived down for another 30 odd years.

    Be really carefull what you wish for scummers. Having such a big stadium. Less than half the fan base and double relegation….. barge pole doesnt come close.

    An owner that cant sell means administration could be a real threat. With less and less revenue and selling players below cost.

    Oh well……Lets all laugh at Scumderland.

    Oh the green green grass of the town moor. Ha ha

  • Ba ba.

    They love the “6 in a row”. … “it well never be achieved again” .. Thats right because you won’t be in the same league as us long enough .stupid fact wits.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    There was a game against West Ham at Roker Park near the end of the season on a Wednesday night. Why the lads went cannot member but loads went and lots of bother mainly with West Ham think there was fifty thousand there a great crowd.
    Must have been thirty odd years a go think it ended nil nil

    • Brian Standen

      Nearly right, ended 2-0 to Sunderland – WHU has played cup final 3 days earlier
      Loads of Newcastle went but could not get in as it was full.
      Sunderland got promoted that night!
      The train back from Sunderland was timed to meet their fans getting on at Seaburn!
      I was only an underage teenager clinging onto the coat tails of those older.

      • Davey drape

        Very true brian. Monday night loads of benders. About 50 West Ham and possibly same toon numbers
        Toon lads ended up in town centre pub amongst the shops

        • Brian Standen

          Except I was underage and had to skulk about outside!

  • gallowgate26

    They will already be down though (very likely) so it would just be a bitter atmosphere and ripe for trouble, whereas if they still can survive the focus will be more on the game itself. Why not wait till they are playing Gillingham next season and go then in homage? haha

  • Toon

    If they planned to do this at a st James we would be calling them sad and obsessed. Surprised The Mag is encouraging this as it just potentially leads to hooliganism which taints the good reputation of NUFC fans, the ‘southern’ media will have a field day telling the masses

    • Dillon Tovak

      You are actually completely correct.

    • Steven05

      I’m certainly not ashamed to admit how much I’m enjoying sunderland’s current situation – but the idea of some of our fans going to their place this season will make us all look as bad as them

      Please lads – enjoy it all you want, but don’t give them your attention (it’s what feeds them!)


    Might be playing Gillingham next season on minus 10 points as I can see Short handing the keys over to the bank to cut his losses. No one will pay £1 to buy the existing club with its current contract obligations to players etc. Very messy lol