5:45 alarm. Shower & Dress in lucky match day attire
6:15 sacrifice a lamb to appease vengeful gods, who’ve not been too helpful lately
7:00 beer in shields
7:45 sacrifice a goat in case vengeful gods missed the lamb, got to get their attention
8:30 taxi to Newcastle. Lash copious amounts of beer down
11:15 sacrifice rooster in case lazy, lazy, vengeful gods have been having a Sunday lie in!!!
11:20 much more beer
1:30 cross fingers and hope Pardew and the lads do the business
3:30+ This is very much in the balance
Yes, Sunderland are in town. I actually hate this fixture. It has my nerves shot, I will be honest, one of the reasons I take pleasure in any of their relegations is that I know I’ll be relieved of this torture for a while. It gets to me that much. Maybe it’s ‘cos I live in a mixed area, there’s no escaping the consequences when we lose. You can’t just go home and park it until the next derby comes around, it’s in your face, constantly. Anyway the stomach has been churning since full time on Wednesday night. I don’t think that game at Tottenham did anything for at all.
People like to compare derbies all over the world. Everyone thinks there’s is the best, personally I couldn’t give a fuck what someone in say, Exeter thinks of our derby. It’s important and big enough for us, and that’s all that matters. To every fan who ‘gets’ what this fixture means, every possible outcome dominates the thoughts for long before the game.
Your mind is full of potential dread, then potential victory, then more dread, you’ll momentarily snap out of it, but not for very long. The inside voice appears and throws up the compromise possibility of the draw.
Briefly, inside voice is offering the ‘save face’ option and it’s a good one, sound logic to it, no grief, no rubbing our noses in it, I like it, publically, I’ll even take it, but then you remember how painful previous defeats have been, you remember walking out of SJP in a daze after wondering how the fuck you’ve just been smashed (0-3 x 2) or dumped out of the Play Offs, they’re going to Wembley to try and win promotion and you’re staying in Division 2, you just want victory over the old foe and its’ “Fuck the draw, I want to win” – and before you know it, 20 minutes of your life has just passed by and the Boss is wondering why his report hasn’t landed in his inbox.
When the day of the game comes around, fuck me, that’s even worse. The nerves crank up another gear, If you’re lucky, you’ll have the nod from a sound pub owner to get things underway at an unprecedented hour of the day. 6:00am has been known. Your thoughts are 100 mph, you can’t eat anything, no chance of sleep, you don’t even have much craic with the people you’re with, you just drink.
The beer doesn’t really help, but convince yourself that it does and plough on. Everyone you meet wants to know what you think will happen but, A) There’s no way you want to jinx it and B) You haven’t got a clue….. I mean, all of your ‘derby day superstitions’ have been ticked off, but fuck… what if some slack bastard has put the wrong socks on? Fuck that, so you say nowt, drink more and wish it was over, look at your watch, it’s nearly time.
The actual 90 minutes….. Pure, mental anguish, you just want it finished, the team news wasn’t quite what you were hoping for, panic has set in, you consider the lucky piss, but maybe it’s too early, and this is how it goes until the final whistle sounds………….upon which, there are 3 possibilities….. !, win – Celebrate, this is what supporting your team is all abou, victory over the neighbour, obviously acting in a mature, manner goes out of the window, and drinking goes through the roof, the world is a fantastic place and you will probably buy a printed newspaper or two on the Monday. 2. Draw – could have been worse, life goes on, everything is as it was, friendships remain intact. 3. NUFC fuck up and it is the 2nd worst feeling in the world of sport. (Relegation is the worst). The world is no longer spinning on it’s axis, everything is fucked. No drink! Fuck that, that’s not going to help and the mood has taken a turn for the worse, fuck it, straight home, in a huff, won’t talk to anyone for days. Everyone’s a bastard and the chance for revenge seems a long way away…..
So, what will United have in store for us this time?
Well there’s an absolute disaster going on with our goalkeeping situation. I really did hope we’d bring in an experienced, keeper for Sunday but it hasn’t happened, so, with that in mind, we need to get right behind Alnwick, he’ll be feeling the nerves a little bit, but it’s our job to help his confidence. It’s also the rest of the team and the management’s job to boost the lad. You never know, he might just have a stormer!!
Sunderland’s away form has been respectable. They’re stubborn and difficult to beat. They’ve won once at Crystal Palace (3-1), drawn at Liverpool, Burnley, WBA and Leicester. Of course they got battered at Southampton (8-0) and lost at QPR (1-0).
Away goals haven’t came easy, they’ve scored 5 in 7 games. Stephen Fletcher is their leading scorer, with 4 goals. Gomez and Whickham have 3. They appear to be free of injury worries, I have no idea what that feels like.
You know what you’re going to get from Sunderland. A back 4 that’s not full with pace, so they won’t get right up the park and play a high line. To compensate that they put defensive reinforcements in midfield through the likes of Cattermole and/or Bridcutt. The likes of Larsson, Gomez and Rodwell are tasked with supplementing hard work with a bit of string pulling. To me, out wide looks like their best area, Johnson is a threat, Buckley has looked decent, Alvarez is an option, Giaccherini has had his moments
Your guess is as good as mine here, I don’t know who’s really fit and who’s knackered, but lets hope we have enough.
Elliot – Thigh – January
Krul – Ankle – January
De Jong – Groin – no return date
Santon – Knee – no return date
Ryan Taylor – Knee – no return date
Good – Groin – no return date
Obertan – Groin – no return date
Aarons – Hamstring – fuck knows
Possible Team (4-2-3-1)
1.Alnwick: 2. Janmaat, 5. Steven Taylor, 6. Coloccini, 3. Dummett: 4. Tiote (Capt), 8. Colback: 7. Perez, 10. Sissoko, 11. Ameobi: 9. Cisse:
Woodman, Haidara, Williamson, Armstrongn, Anita, Riviere, Gouffran
Referee: Anthony Taylor
History vs The Mackems at SJP
1984/85: Won 3-1 United were not finding the return to Division One easy and had been on a tricky run. By New Year’s Day, the spine of our team were missing (you may want to clutch at this straw for Sunday) as skipper Glen Roeder, centre midfielder, Dave McCreery and striker Chris Waddle were absent from the team sheet. What followed, was a master class by our star man, Peter Beardsley. He cracked in a hat-trick. Sunderland would be relegated despite a league cup final appearance at Wembley. Attendance, 36,529
1989/90: Drew 1-1 By the time United joined them in Division 2, our team had changed considerably. With promotion on the agenda, Sunderland arrived in February. Mark McGhee rescued a point after Gabbiadini had put them ahead. Attendance, 31,572
We’d meet again for the play offs disaster, you might not want to watch this fucker
1991/92: Won 1-0 Ossie Ardiles had left us staring at Division 3, but Keegan arrived and gave us hope. Throughout the doom and gloom of this campaign, a couple of players stood out and deservedly have their names etched in memories of everyone who was around to see them. One was Gavin Peacock and the other was David Kelly. Both were genuine players, never shirked responsibility and scored crucial goals for United. If modern day players had their attitude and ethics then the club’s fans would still feel a connection with the players. Kelly hit the winner to settle this one in front of 30,306
1992/93: Won 1-0 With United heading for the Championship and Sunderland dangerously close to relegation Scott Sellars fired home a superb free kick to win us the points. Keegan had a hex over Sunderland and we won every derby under his management. No wonder they don’t like him. Attendance, 30,364
See this link 6 minutes in
1996/97: Drew 1-1 With Keegan a thing of the past, Dalglish was in charge and having been blown out of the UEFA cup by Monaco, he set about finishing as high as possible. We went behind to a Michael Gray goal but Shearer equalised. Kelly was applauded on a Mackem substitute whilst Waddle, the fucking, Judas, cunt, was jeered. Attendance, 36,582
Shearer’s goal is here 2 mins 45
1999/00: Lost 1-2 The night to forget. Pissing down rain, Stand In goal keeper (Oh Fuck), Shearer and Ferguson on the bench. Kieran Dyer put us ahead but Quinn and Phillips turned it around. Attendance, 36,420
2000/01: Lost 1-2 Now under Bobby Robson, again we suffered defeat on our patch. Gary Speed put us in front but Hutchison (spit) and Quinn did for us again. Attendance, 52,030
2001/02: Drew 1-1 After Phillips had put them in front, a superb Laurent Robert ball put Craig Bellamy away and unusually for him, he finished 1 on 1 with aplomb. Attendance, 52,021
Bellamy goal after 40 seconds
2002/03: Won 2-0 Finally we won. Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer in a pretty one sided game. Attendance, 52,181
Bellamy goal 1 minute 40
Shearer goal 15 mins 30
2005/06: Won 3-2 A fucking unbelievable game. With our fans singing ridiculous fate tempting shite and made to look like cunts, twice! The Fenham Eusebio and Emre eventually settled it. Attendance,
Shola Ameobi’s goals
2007/08: Won 2-0 With Keegan back at the helm this result was never really in doubt. They weren’t much cop and Michael Owen scored 2. Attendance, 52,305
2008/09: Drew 1-1 It really is best if you black out Kinnear’s stint in charge in this season. Shola Ameobi got us out of the shit after Cisse had put them in front. Attendance, 52,084
Shola’s goal 1 min 9 – Click here
2010/11: Won 5-1 The day it all came together and we delivered a right good hiding. Kevin Nolan whacked in a hat-trick and danced like a chicken! Shola Ameobi obliged with 2. Attendance, 51,988
2011/12: Drew 1-1 Ameobi to the rescue again after Bednter’s penalty had us staring at defeat. Ba missed a penalty and everyone wondered why Shola didn’t take it! Sessegnon and Cattermole would both see red cards. Attendance, 52,388
Shola’s goal after 3 minutes Click here
2012/13: Lost 0-3 Completely outclassed, outthought, outfought and outplayed. A day where Pardew’s credentials were questioned by many. Attendance, 52,355
2013/14: Lost 0-3 As if to prove the previous year wasn’t a total fluke, we went and did it again. Another comfortable victory for the visitors. Test that Pardew, his staff and his players had failed. Attendance, 52,280
If you’re sick enough to want to sit through those highlights as well, I’ll let you search for them.
A Love Supreme – Click here
Johnson has been a thorn in our side many times. Fletcher is a threat. You should probably expect Altidore to score. They’re going to be putting Alnwick under real pressure
Alan Pardew simply can’t afford defeat. 4 defeats to Sunderland on the spin is simply, unacceptable.. There is no hiding place for anybody, but Sunderland have looked more ready for the task in hand on each of the last 3 fixtures. By the time kick off arrives I will have been convinced of every single possible outcome, but I do fear another defeat the more I think about the GK situarion.
CHRIS BETTS – Folow Chris here – @tfbettsy1892
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