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Opinion

Can’t believe I’m saying this but I now miss when Sunderland used to be Newcastle’s rivals

5 months ago
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Just like we are heading for an entire generation of Newcastle fans who know nothing but the ownership of Mike Ashley.

It looks like we are also seeing the foundations laid for a generation of Newcastle fans who won’t have any understand of what used to be local rivalry with Sunderland.

You may dismiss this but just look at Leeds United.

Who could have ever predicted that when they got relegated in 2004, it would take fully 16 years for them to get back in the Premier League.

If you are a Newcastle fan with even relatively a few miles on the clock, you will look at Leeds as one of the historically big games of the season.

Yet talk to any younger Newcastle fan, say 25 or younger, and they have no comprehension. Probably seeing Leeds as little different to other Yorkshire clubs such as Hull and Sheffield United.

I must admit, I am starting to feel a little bit almost nostalgic about Sunderland as Newcastle’s rivals.

At this moment in time I struggle to feel any great emotions about Newcastle United, put simply, just waiting for a takeover as otherwise it is all just a little pointless. Under Mike Ashley we know that after these 14 seasons worth of his ownership that nothing good and sustainable will ever happen, NUFC are simply a Zombie club. Existing but not living.

At least in the past no matter how pointless everything might have seemed, at least the two games against Sunderland got you going a bit.

As things stand, it is already four years nine months since Newcastle last played Sunderland, a 1-1 draw in March 2016 when a late Mitrovic goal made it 1-1 at St James Park.

If you are looking optimistically simply for derby matches against the mackems, then mathematically August 2021 would be the very earliest Newcastle and Sunderland could meet.

That would be five years and five months after the last derby match and would need Newcastle to be relegated this season and Sunderland to be promoted.

Neither thing is going to happen.

No matter how badly Mike Ashley runs Newcastle United, it is very difficult to get relegated. He will manage it again sometime but there are always at least a few really really bad teams each season at the foot of the Premier League and the two times Ashley has managed to get us relegated, it did take a serious amount of own goals by him to lay the foundations.

Rafa Benitez did such a brilliant job, with no net spend he got Newcastle promoted and established in the Premier League with a very good base of players. Which then meant Mike Ashley could get to throw around over £100m in the three transfer windows after he left, managing to waste a good part of it on Joelinton but the likes of ASM and Wilson also coming in.

Newcastle have a far better squad than at least six other PL clubs, so it is almost impossible for Steve Bruce to relegate NUFC for some time, plus even Mike Ashley will realise / accept eventually he needs to get a proper manager in who will then further ensure Newcastle stay up.

As for Sunderland, I see they sacked their manager and brought in another one this week.

Today they lost 1-0 at home to Wigan who are rock bottom of League One, Sunderland not now winning for the last six games.

They are now establishing themselves in League One, a third season and in mid-table, going nowhere.

Newcastle United are going nowhere in the Premier League and I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.

However, after 16 years away, Leeds are going for it, so why should I?

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