Our mini-series of away day derby nostalgia continues with young pup and regular TF scribbler, Alex Hurst giving us his thoughts on his previous visits to Chicken Town and all things Albanian.
Eyes down for a full house.
The 1 1 at the start of 2011. They were 6th in the league and had not long beaten Chelsea 3 0 and the previous home game beaten Man City 1 0. We went into the game after the Stevenage debacle. Andy Carole was out injured and Tiote was suspended. We went into the game with Alan Smith and Leon Best in the team and they were pumped to fuck about getting revenge for the 5 1 three months earlier.
The day started well with my first trip to Sunderland for any reason since the early 90s. There simply is no reason to go there.
We got off the train, and as I’ve been twice since, this was the last season before the police have got a grip on things. Various ugly mackems met us in their thousands at St Peter’s and we walked to the ground very close to our travelling mackem escort who threw currency at stones at us as we made our way to the ground. Once we were inside the game went unbelievably well and the mackems completely failed to live up to their manager’s (Brewce) pre match shite about them being ahead of us and the far better team. We deservedly took a 1 goal lead through a from a corner (remember them!) and Nolan did his chicken dance.
We battered them second half and I seem to remember Lovenkrands and Best playing blinders and we should have won it by two or three. Cue 6 minutes of none existent stoppage time and in the 5th Harper pushes a regulation save straight to Asamoah Gyan. It feels like a defeat and the mackems kick off with us throwing seats, bottles, coins and a couple of fireworks but end up showering metal on their own disabled supporters in the away section as well. It’s the only time I’ve been going to football and seen genuine violence and fights as the section where we were was totally unpoliced. The media basically don’t pick up on it apart from a fan running on the pitch and pushing Harper over. Several other lunes run on the pitch when they score but nothing gets done.
Overall a good performance and result but it sent them on a downward spiral which arguably they’ve never recovered..
Thoughts towards Sunderland, the club and its fans
Sunderland has a canny theatre by all accounts and that’s it. I’m sure it’s suburbs are much the same as our own but the city centre, train station and overall feel of the place is somewhat Eastern European during the cold war.
The club is run almost as badly as us. They have this Chief Exec or whatever her title is who only speaks publically when they’re regularly replacing managers or when she’s announcing a new concert at their stadium which will offset the huge losses they rack up each year. Their owner and chairman knows fuck all about football but has named himself chairman after sacking Niall Quinn who despite what you thought of him was a link between the owners and fans. Their ‘continental’ management system seems dodgy as fuck as Ellis Shorts best mates son has been put in place as chief scout and they’ve got a director of football who doesn’t consult the manager about the shite players they sign.
If it wasn’t for Newcastle United they’d probably be considered a big club in their own right, but they aren’t and years of squandered money and mismanagement sees them struggle much as we have to reach our ‘potential’.
I know several really good craic SAFC fans and they know as little about football as me and my NUFC supporting mates but in general a large proportion of their support hate us and would quite like to see us go out of business so they could expand the ‘catchment area’ they so lack (apparently) which means that there are regularly 10,000 empty seats at the SOL.
What kind of state do you think they are in right now?
They are odds on to go down. Fair play to Ellis Short for totally pulling the wool over the eyes of the fans as from the outside it looks as though he’s running a yard sale on their best players to get funds in. In the past 2 years the following players have left: Gyan, Malbranque, Bent, Henderson, Sessegnon, Mignolet – for the something like £60 million plus. Those players there are the spine of a pretty talented team. They’ve spent big fees on two players in Johnson and Fletcher since for about £17 million. The rest of the team is free transfers or shite. Take away the bullshit of their owners, the fans etc they have a really, really poor first 11. Sebastian Larson, Craig Gardner, John O Shea, Carlos Cuellar etc would not get in most other Premier League teams.
They don’t have a manager but it’ll take something special to keep that lot up.
All time loathed Sunderland figure and why?
I don’t loathe any of they aren’t important enough to me to provoke such an emotion. Sewper Kev/Micahel Gray come close as I have to listen to them in the media spout shite about United whenever they can/talk up the ‘glory days’ of beating the Mags and not qualifying for Europe.
Best ever moment in Sunderland for a derby match.
Playing shite and then watching Ryan Taylor float one into the top corner – pandemonium.
Biggest derby buzz over at Sunderland
Several thousand of them will be hyped for their annual trip to the SOL to see Newcastle play. My personal buzz is seeing them traipse away early when 84 minutes early they were going bananas at the prospect of beating us.
Prediction for the result
4 1 to us