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Opinion

Sunderland collapse does Newcastle United no favours

1 month ago
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Sunderland haven’t done Newcastle United fans any favours in recent seasons.

The embarrassing fall through the leagues has given us all a laugh.

Your biggest/local rivals being that hopeless they manage to finish rock bottom two seasons/divisions in a row, is spectacularly bad.

Then struggling to even get out of League One, what more could you ask for?

Obviously, it has been even more delicious after Sunderland fans took such great delight in Newcastle’s 2016 relegation.

Which was then compounded when they even tried to claim that despite finishing as Championship champions, Rafa Benitez had somehow still underachieved.

However, those laughs can become a little hollow, when you have an owner such as Mike Ashley anyway.

I don’t particular miss the Sunderland derby matches if I’m honest.

Yes it is great after a victory when you can enjoy the aftermath..but in the days and weeks leading up to these games, the thought of losing is always greater than the anticipation of winning.

I say this as well based not on the infamous ‘six in a row’ which the Mackems believe we carry around as a burden on our backs every waking hour.

I felt the same (dreading derby matches) when Newcastle went 28 years (1980-2008) without losing on Wearside, as well as losing only 3 of 29 regular league matches over 33 years (1980-2013), Newcastle winning 13 and drawing 13 in that period.

The bottom line though is that Newcastle United miss Sunderland in my opinion.

Not for the actual games but when you have an owner such as Mike Ashley, having the only local rival wiped out, simply plays into his hands.

We have always laughed about Sunderland supporters due to the fact that they are obsessed with Newcastle United and that seemingly they would be quite happy finishing second bottom of any division, just so long as Newcastle were bottom. Their ‘success’ defined’ by being above Newcastle.

Their (Sunderland’s) owners have often carried on in the same way, with one past owner declaring a commitment to trying to have at least one more seat than Newcastle’s St James Park. Their new owners doing similar, trying to get fans on board by slagging off Newcastle United and their fans.

Local rivalry used to a negative effect rather than positive.

Sadly, some Newcastle fans are just as easily pleased, Mike Ashley delivering a club that are doing better than their big local rivals.

Not exactly the highest bar ever set!

When Sunderland got a couple of seventh place finishes in 2000 and 2001, did it do Newcastle United any harm?

I would argue that it helped galvanise our club into action, Sir Bobby was backed with the signings of Laurent Robert and Craig Bellamy and Newcastle finished fourth, third and fifth the next three seasons, as well as memorable runs in both Champions League and UEFA Cup.

We are out on a limb in the north east and there are only two major clubs, Middlesbrough mean nothing.

Back in Kevin Keegans’s day, the Hall/Shepherd regime took that overwhelming superiority as a chance to become THE only north east club.

Mike Ashley wouldn’t recognise such a thing.

Rather than try to build an ever bigger and more successful club, instead he makes a few million for himself by selling off land for development opposite the Gallowgate that will make it impossible for St James Park to ever be increased in capacity. This at a club who averaged over 51,000 in the Championship.

Everton are always doing their best to try and match/catch Liverpool.

Man Utd and Man City drive each other on, Arsenal and Tottenham the same.

Even in the Midlands you have the likes of Wolves and Leicester, with then Villa, Birmingham and West Brom trying to get out of the Championship.

Yorkshire could even be waking up again, Leeds and Sheffield United in the top three of the second tier.

In the north east we have Mike Ashley and now these clowns that have taken over the Mackems,

After having previously ripped the St James Park signs off our home, maybe the next move for Mike Ashley will be to place a new motto on St James Park, ‘At least we are better than Sunderland’…

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