How to get your head around Sunderland Association Football Club

Many have tried to understand the Mackems and how their club is run, few have succeeded.

It’s fair to say Sunderland have had a hard time of it lately. ‘Lately’ being the past forty years.

It’s incredible to think they have won the first division six times in their history, albeit all those times were before the war (the fifth title grabbed in 1913). There was a brief period in the early 2000s where they showed glimmers of respectability and managed to finish seventh twice. Quite astonishingly, 46,000 Mackems would turn up every week to cheer on Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn, Thomas Sorensen and Michael Gray. Such was the calibre of their most successful team since 1973, while we were chasing the premier league title.

1973 was the year when they upset all the odds and won the FA cup in a final against the mighty Leeds. To celebrate, they mocked up a coffin for Leeds United that still resonates in the memory of Leeds fans. Quite why a club would do that is beyond me. Imagine telling the fans then, what would happen over the next 45 years? They’d wish it was their coffin.

All football fans have felt the sick sense of humiliation, even the Man City neophytes, when the catalogue of failures and unwanted losing records becomes too much. But no one set of fans has been as humiliated as the Mackems. Not one. Not Portsmouth, Coventry City, Swindon Town or even Doncaster Rovers.

What other fans have seen their team set a record for fewest number of points in a season, then seen that team set a new record three years later? And that was before Ellis Short took over and the fun really began. Sunderland have not reached the magic 40 points mark in the last five seasons. Hang on, make that six seasons, the last being in the Championship. How is that even possible?

To underline quite what a failed state Sunderland are, they made a profit of just £5 million in 2006, and have lost £170 million since then. Not recording a profit once in 12 years and counting.

Many in the dark place point the finger at Ellis Short and his seemingly trigger-happy firing of managers in his time. But they’ve had good or even great managers in that time! Martin O’Neill, Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce (though I hate to admit it) and David Moyes have proven records of success. But none of them wanted to stay for various reasons that had nothing to do with the owner. Those he fired were fired with good reason as they squandered all their TV revenue on mediocre players who lost their inflated value.

The problem with the blame game at Sunderland is that there are so many places where the blame lies. I’d certainly put Adam Johnson on the list. He should have been a golden player, a local boy done good and an England international regular. Now he’s in jail and there are no star players from the local area in that team. The last star player they had was Defoe, and he couldn’t wait to leave.

This might be the difference between both clubs. We had talismans like Keegan, Beardsley, Waddle, Gascoigne and Shearer. They had Michael Gray and Kevin Ball. So in 1992 when we were on the brink of falling into the third division for the first time in our history, we had the former European footballer of the year Kevin Keegan come and manage. We found hope again. It was a similar story when we got relegated, because we had hope. Sunderland are just hopeless.

So it’s in that context that winning six in a row against the team up the road becomes a significantly-sized deal. When your crumbs of comfort are scattered so sparsely you cling to them. But the fans, just as they did after they beat Leeds, went too far.

They celebrated too wildly when we went down (for the record, they didn’t relegate us. We were relegated by a poor decision by a linesman when Sergio Aguero scored while offside. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and the signs, planes, banter etc. stuck in the craw. It wasn’t just banter either, it was more insidious than that. It was sadistic somehow. Almost like they were trying to kick us as hard as they could when we were down.

I’d like to pretend I’m not obsessed with Sunderland, or that I’m healthily interested in their goings on. But I am obsessed and it’s because of events in 2016. The fact is, we had one manager who left Barcelona to join us in the recent past and another who left Real Madrid and then came to manage us, played in Europe and beat some of the great teams, had 51,000 fans coming in the Championship. And in 23 years of supporting Newcastle I’ve never despised Sunderland like I do now.

The news has come in that Short is out and he’s cancelled their debt. This means they’re in the third division and playing Fleetwood Town with a pot of 26 million quid. They could bounce back and do a Leicester or a Wolves. But I feel confident that they won’t because…Sunderland.

Whether it’s because players don’t want to move there, the lack of an airport, the pronunciation of ‘whose keys are these?’ or the pink seats, Sunderland will carry on their tradition of abject failure.

And I can’t wait to watch it.

To feature like Frank Fforde submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Paul Patterson

    Can’t see the point of this. They’ve gone, hopefully never to return. Enjoy it, but let’s focus on matters that are important, ie- us!

    • Shaun Middleton

      Well if we gone why comment concentrate on your club and staying up again we will see yous soon that I guarantee 6 in a row FTM

      • Mark Davies

        More like six toes on one foot SMB. For what its worth I dont give a toss about your demise and would rather play you but hey ho.

      • Dillon Tovak

        If we’re talking recent history then 9 games unbeaten and throw in 5-1 and 1-4 at le stade de shyte 🙂

        • Lhc

          I was there, there was about 10 thousand empty seats, and they had mini pitch invasion when they went 1 nil up, tin pot.

        • Shaun Middleton

          If we talking history Dillon,then that suggests we have won 6 IN A ROW and 7 undefeated,that 1-4 and 5-1 is well gone m8 enjoy ya season when Rafa leaves half way through 😂😂

          • Lhc

            Ya cheesy chips n panda pop are waiting n ya sisters got the arctic roll ready smeared over her 3 t!ts for afters so crack on

          • murdy

            At least we don’t sh*t on our seats

          • Albert Stubbins

            Enjoy Accrington Stanley!! David Attenborough hasn’t visited half the places you’ll be playing next season!!

          • Dillon Tovak

            Exactly, 6 in a row is ancient history too.
            Especially by the time we next play, cos I hate to break it to you…you won’t be back in a respectable league for at least a decade 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂

      • Billmag

        Who’s the best player you lot have had in the last 40 year’s and for eff sake don’t say what a lad said to me at work (Gary Rowell) I nearly choked on my tea.

        • Wor Lass

          On a serious note, Bill, Kevin Arnott was a terrific player. He should have gone to the top level but was too dim to stay out of the bookies. I`d rate him as one of the best players I`ve seen.

      • East Durham Mag

        LMFAO 6 in a row? Your in the 3rd division now, half your stadium shut, new owners who have to pay in instalments and players like Rodwell on massive wages or O’Shea and Cattermole who are over the hill. Its worth the 6 in a row to see the sh*te SAFC are in now.

        • Peaky

          And who the f*ck is the new manager ?? Ross….??? Is it the gormless one from ‘Friends’……..

          • East Durham Mag

            He played for Hartlepool for one season thats as much as i know. Like i said “who”.

      • Paul Patterson

        You nearly strung a sentence together there. Well done.

        • Ram Kishore

          I think this article got a sizeable number of clicks from Mackems and Mag is so smart lol

      • Dillon Tovak

        👏 talk about desperately clinging onto something 😂
        I actually respect your ability to find positives in what is a horrific situation, better you than us though 🤙 have a fun season, the pies get better lower down the league and you and the other 5 fans that turn up can sing about 6 in a row or whatever else keeps you from jumping from the ledge.

  • Rich Lawson

    I’d like to see us play them home and away in the pre-seasons rather than the usual dross.Be more fun and guarantees a good gate for both clubs ?

  • Football fan

    As I said why are we so obsessed by THEM …your sad frank…if they went away for good what you have to moan about

  • Dillon Tovak

    You should get a life 🤦‍♂️
    I had 10 seconds of mild happiness when they were relegated, then I went back to forgetting they exist.
    If you’re that obsessed, just go support them. They need the numbers.
    Personally I’m obsessed with the team I support, not the negativity of disliking something or someone else.

    • Mrkgw

      Well said.

    • Ram Kishore

      I will be very happy when we beat them in a match..

  • Bbb

    Get a life and get over it sad person

  • csh

    Couldn’t give a monkeys about them now. I had a really good laugh when they went down and now my only concern is the Toon. Mag can we please see less of these posts please, it’s getting really boring (not to mention embarrassing).

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The club has been sold for a knock down fee of £40m but so far the new Chairman Stewart Donald has only paid Ellis Short five million and has been given two years to pay the rest. The Chief Executive who runs the club has been made redundant and will not be replaced. So there is no one there on a daily basis just the Chairman and his deputy popping in every now and again. They have a new manager on £350k a year who very few have heard of from St Mirren. If they stop up he should get a bonus. They are indeed a club in disarray but do not expect any sympathy on here for pointing out the truth as a large number on here love Sunderland more than Newcastle because of Mike Ashley and would gladly swap places with them Jezza being one of many.

    • panther

      idiot

    • TheFatController

      Ellis Short deserves praise for wiping out the debts of his relegations.

      Whereas Ashley wants someone to pay for his relegations when buying the club.

      That’s disgraceful and he should look at Ellis and learn what honourable owners do..

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Ellis Short still wants £40m repaid and is a skint flint only spending £1.5m on players while Ashley spent £60m on buys and loans a great guy in comparison that is why they are in the third divison us top ten Premier League. Be plenty room next season for you and Jezza to sit together.

        • TheFatController

          Haha, you’re getting riled…

          Calm down. We all know Ashley hasn’t spent anything on players. How do we know?

          Because he told us.

          You above all should know, a stitch, in time, saves 9.

    • Ram Kishore

      U know a lot about Sunderland and it’s day to day functioning.. do u work at Stadium of light?

  • Mrkgw

    They are an awful club and that much won’t change. By the same token, I don’t necessarily like seeing clubs fall to such depths of oblivion and you can be sure of the fact that they won’t be ‘rivals’ of ours anytime soon. Their supporters behaved disgracefully towards us during the relegation season – it went beyond banter for me but, I refuse to lower myself to their level. Neither should any of our support otherwise, we aren’t any better than them.

    • Football fan

      Some of there supporters…… don’t judge all people the same

      • Mrkgw

        Agree – thats fair enough. Good and bad at every club, there are no exceptions unfortunately.

  • panther

    I never thought about them ever until derby week, dont care about them at all now

  • Tino11

    Leazes what do you make of this authors name?

    • Peaky

      😂😂😂

  • Philip Saint

    Amazing, staggering waste of words. I remember two, yes two fanzines produced to celebrate our relegation and the ‘ let’s all laugh at Sunderland’ posters. Ok, some of us mackems overreacted when you went down but they had been waiting a long time for revenge.
    Also, check your last gate before Keegan came in. 13k I think you will find.
    We are all as good and bad as each other but thanks for pointing out how incredible our support has been considering the absolute dross we have suffered.
    Please don’t try to justify your small minded peroquial attitude which sets you apart.

    • csh

      Parochial.

      • Philip Saint

        Ha – spell check

    • Albert Stubbins

      13k but still averaged 17 k for our worst season on record. The mighty makems have had a higher average seven times since the war lol. Last season at joker you only sold out for NUFC and MUFC. Stick to tormenting Middleborough about their attendances as they are on your level. As for NUFC you’ll always be in our shadow!!

      • Geordiegiants

        Always.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Ten pounds for adults and kids go free has got you into a lot of trouble financially. Our attendances both in league and cup are on average ten thousand higher.

      • Philip Saint

        Wish that was true. My season card was £470. Selling 43 players out of 45 at a loss has been a bit of a problem as well as paying inflated wages for mediocre players. Is this a wind up?

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Sadly it is true they give thousands of tickets out to schools and firms at reduced prices to boost the crowd. For one game they gave away two thousand free tickets. Nial Quinn even said it was unfair on the genuine season ticket holders. Keep on supporting your club as that is the most important thing.

        • Ba ba.

          Smb with a massive chip on your shoulders, rubbish fans rubbish club and a clap out soulless city.. Hence why you all come to Newcastle for a night out. Now go away.

          • TheFatController

            Is it sunderland who voted for Brexit, then we discover they have a Just In Time production line at Nissan, reliant on easy movement of parts across Europe.

            So if we leave the EU, movement of parts becomes majorly problematic and nissan’s ‘just in time’ production becomes ‘out of time’..?

            Is that the Sunderland place we’re talking about ?

    • Shaun Middleton

      🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Because Newcastle United has had a successful past with an abundance of trophies and a club that has been well run !
    There was a time when Keegan first took over we were one game away from being in the third tier ourselves.

    Rivalry is one thing but when you are putting the boot into Sunderland just look at where they are now.
    It is a cautionary tale because it is not so long ago they were gloating like there was no tomorrow like some have mentioned.

    People should think on though because it can all turn around in an instant and with an owner like Ashley, Who knows where this club could end up with him at the helm !

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      With out him just like Sunderland as he is the only person willing to put money into the club £279m what has any one else put in sweet F.A.

      • TheFatController

        I heard Mansour was interested in Newcastle before he had to turn his attentions to Man City.

        What could have been eh? He’d make Ashley look like a complete loser by comparison I would think had he arrived.

  • Andy Mac

    I’ve never thought taking the plss out of the makems should be classed as obsessed ? It’s banter between two rivals pure and simple. I’ve been at SJP when they’ve beaten us, listening to their crowing, but I’ve also enjoyed taking revenge at their place too.

    If we didnt have rivalries this game would be a lot less enjoyable ! #FTM

  • Bob

    Christ, you’re a bloody obsessed!!

  • Geordiegiants

    Focking hate them as well. I worked at sheepfolds for a couple of years and they feel so inferior its unbelievable. I was standing outside my yard one day talking to a motorbike instructor, as the metro passed he said “look at all the poshies going to Newcastle”.