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Sunderland fans struggle to cope with FA Cup crowds humiliation v Newcastle United women’s team

1 year ago

I had to smile on Monday when reading on The Mag the comments from Sunderland fans, reacting to what had happened at St James’ Park on Sunday.

The Newcastle United women’s team going through to the third round of the (women’s) FA Cup, a thrilling comeback to win 2-1 against the Barnsley women’s team.

It wasn’t so much the actual result that comments from Sunderland fans (see below) were concentrating on, it was more about the people that had turned up and paid to watch the game.

The attendance at the game making headline news, this from BBC Sport just one example…’Newcastle United set a new Women’s FA Cup attendance record as they came from behind to beat Barnsley in the second round at St James’ Park. The crowd of 28,565 marked the tournament’s highest attendance outside of a final.’

I wondered if maybe there was more to this, whether perhaps for Sunderland fans their bizarre over the top reaction to the Newcastle United women’s team had been because this women’s FA Cup attendance had touched a nerve?

I had an hour to myself last night and did a little bit of digging, then as often happens, I dug a little more…

Well, I was laughing hysterically after I had dug out the following, the number of Sunderland fans who had turned up to all of their FA Cup matches across the last decade.

You know that 28,565 crowd that the Newcastle United women’s team attracted on Sunday?

Well, the last four home FA Cup matches they had, if you added all four crowds up of Sunderland fans, it would still be a few thousand less than the NUFC lasses pulled in on Sunday!

I am being slightly unfair, but not much, as one of those four crowds was zero, due to covid rules. However, the other three ‘crowds’ of Sunderland fans would have still fitted in no problem, with as I say, a few thousand spaces.

These are the Sunderland fans attendances at home FA Cup matches this past decade:

8,620 – Sunderland 0 Mansfield 1 (6 November 2021 – First round)

0 – Sunderland 0 Mansfield 1 (8 November 2020 – First round)

7,892 Sunderland 1 Gillingham 1 (9 November 2019 – First round)

8,212 Sunderland 0 Walsall 1 (11 December 2018 – Second round replay)

17,632 Sunderland 0 Burnley 0 (7 January 2017 – Third round)

30,302 Sunderland 1 Leeds 0 (4 January 2015 – Third round)

22,961 Sunderland 0 Fulham 0 (24 January 2015 – Fourth round)

21,973 Sunderland 3 Carlisle 1 (5 January 2014 – Third round)

25,081 Sunderland 1 Kidderminster (25 January 2014 – Fourth round)

16,777 Sunderland 1 Southampton 0 (15 February 2014 – Fifth round)

17,505 Sunderland 0 Bolton 2 (15 January 2013 – Third round replay)

As you can see, only one of them exceeds the Newcastle United women’s team crowd and even then by less than two thousand. Clearly that one only due to the number of Leeds fans travelling.

I just checked up and there were 7,200 Leeds fans in the official away section for that 2015 match and no doubt plenty as well amongst the Sunderland fans.

At least there is a temporary gap before further humiliation for the Sunderland fans, as they got an away draw at Shrewsbury last night in the FA Cup third round draw.

BBC Sport reporting on a remarkable Sunday at St James’ Park – Sunday 27 November 2022

‘Newcastle United set a new Women’s FA Cup attendance record as they came from behind to beat Barnsley in the second round at St James’ Park.

The crowd of 28,565 marked the tournament’s highest attendance outside of a final.

After Emily Pierrepont opened the scoring for Barnsley inside 15 minutes, Georgia Gibson equalised with a 30-yard strike midway through the second half.

Minutes later, Sharna Wilkinson scored the winner with a long-range effort.

“I’m genuinely lost for words,” Wilkinson told BBC Radio Newcastle after the Lady Magpies booked their spot in the third round.’

To put Sunday’s astonishing crowd really into perspective, both the Newcastle United Women’s team and the Barnsley side, both play in the fourth tier of English women’s football.

Well, surely a good news story all round. For women’s football in general and especially for the north east, this kind of crowd turning up to break all FA Cup attendance figures in the women’s game, outside of the actual finals at Wembley.

A day that suggests a great future ahead for women’s football on Tyneside, especially in the context of how women’s football is prospering generally, both internationally and domestically, especially the Lionesses having won the Euros. With Newcastle United determined to support their women’s team all the way into the top tier Super League in the future and yes, maybe even a day out at Wembley to (hopefully) win the FA Cup in the women’s game.

It (women’s football) is of course still growing and has a long way to go in terms of fully getting to where it wants to be, but another great landmark yesterday at St James Park, apart from some bizarre Sunderland fans (and others) who reacted to the BBC Sport coverage and other national / local reporting like this…

‘Was in Newcastle today. Mad the amount of over 40s in football shirts. Sad fu..ers’

‘Probably ganning woman’s match.’

‘Can confirm that they were handing out free tickets in their thousands for this.

People talking about women’s football and attendances.

People thus aren’t talking about beheadings and murder.


‘I think there was a womens game on. You’re right though – there’s definitely loads more black and white shirts around than recent past.’

‘Aye, there was lads bringing them into work last week asking who wanted one.

They were freebies what had been given out.’

‘Free Ticket Mags mate.’

‘Sad Knackers.’

‘Sad c…. think it’s the best attire to do their Christmas shopping in.

Got to prove the are the most geordie, of all geordies.’

‘Yup. Anyone over 16 wearing a footy top out and about needs to give their head a wobble. These muppets were 40s and 50s..’

‘It’s sportswashing mate. I’m just making sure people are aware. The Saudis want headlines about women’s football. It’s obvious they flooded the schools and local clubs with tickets to get people to go and break that record.’

‘Funny how there weren’t any women to be seen watching their national team in Saudi’s 2 games in Qatar,

Obviously didn’t fancy it.’

‘There’s an article on the Guardian website about female Saudi fans at the world cup if you’re interested.’

‘Getting over 20000 more people to attend a woman’s FA cup match than the amount who attended Sunderland men’s last FA cup match at home is still impressive.’

‘Free tickets, on a high after doing well in the PL and women’s football more popular that ever after the euro win. Very good attendance, but not surprising really all things considered.’

‘I assume the c…. who now love women’s football ‘apparently’ hated the Lionesses success since a lot of its foundations were Sunderland ladies based ?’


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