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Opinion

That Liam O’Brien free-kick goes in…and we are sitting amongst the Sunderland fans

2 weeks ago
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Back in the mid-eighties I was a teenager, and like all lads of my age, was looking for an identity and a look that defined my generation.

And out of that era the casual was born, being football daft I was hooked first on mullet haircuts and going to the match dressed like Bjorn Borg.

However, like any fashion and counter culture, come the end of the eighties the football casual era was on the wane and acid house swept the nation, but me and my pals weren’t into that scene, as football was our drug of choice (as well as snakebite).

Like most clubs who had a football firm, we also had a name, calling ourselves the ICD (Inter City Drunks). There were about 20 of us and the motto was taken off Millwall but rejigged a bit (no one likes us, we drink beer).

Cme the 92/93 season and King Kev had Newcastle United on a roll and the prospect of an away derby at Sunderland on the horizon.

Now a few of us worked in the fruit and veg market, where each morning folks from all over the north east would come and buy their wares, including quite a few mackems. Obviously the banter was pretty fruity(!!!) to say the least, with the mackems always on the end of our barbs.

Coming up to the derby there was one mackem, who we will call Beneee. Finally, after weeks of jibes about the derby and mackems, Beneee finally bit, declaring “sun’lun got some geet ard lads, I bet yee woodna say it to their faces.”

Anyway, with Beneee having a season ticket holder in the Clock Stand, he got us six tickets for said Clock Stand. So come derby day there was me Monty, big Tony, Johnny the Diver, Simmo and Charge Sheet (see photo above of the five of us from another away trip back in the day).

On entering the ground, it became quickly apparent that the mackems had sussed us out, as Charge Sheet had an open neck shirt on, which showed off his tattoo of the Tyne bridge on his neck. Upon entering the seats, immediately a policeman apprehended big Tony (6’4 and 20 stone) and spoke to him, so that didn’t bode well for our foreseeable future.

Anyway, game kicks off and we go one nil up. Jump up and down to celebrate and not a peep out of the mackems.

Mackems equalised and still not a peep from our new match going Wearside cousins.

Then it happens.

Liam O’Brien scores that never to be forgotten free-kick at the Roker End…still not a peep out of the mackems as we celebrate.

End of the match and fair play to Beneee, he was magnanimous in defeat, then we were off to celebrate. Only to find, and I kid you not, at least a thousand mackems waiting for us on the concourse (I was guessing at this point these were the geeet ard lads that Beneee had alluded to).

It was at that moment I suddenly realised the true meaning of the saying discretion being the better part of valour, and catching the eye of a policeman, who recognising our (self-inflicted ) predicament, let us jump the barriers onto the cinder track and join the Geordie hordes in the Roker End to celebrate our memorable win and safety.

Happy days indeed.

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