The start of February sees our second Tyne-Wear derby of the season where United will be looking to avenge both the disappointing 2-1 defeat earlier on in the season and the quite frankly embarrassing 0-3 loss back in April. The Mackems arguably deserved to win both of those matches against a lacklustre Newcastle United. Whatever happens this upcoming Saturday though can’t be as humiliating as the 9-1 hammering we experienced back in 1908, we can only imagine what was going on with The Magpies on that day especially as we went on to win the league that very same season. We did manage a crucial 1-0 victory over our arch-rivals at the back end of the title winning season in 1927 when Hughie Gallacher settled the points in front of 67,000 spectators. The tradition in the 1950s was to play games in the Christmas period between teams within a close vicinity and on the 22nd December 1956 we ensured it was a black and white Christmas in the North-East with a 6-2 thrashing of Sunderland, the hero that day was Bedlington born reserve striker Alex Tait; scoring 3 of his 10 goals accumulated over 5 years on Tyneside in that game, isn’t that what we all dream of? After spells of both sides languishing in the second division; the Tyne-Wear derby was a top level fixture again by the time of 1966 with 52,000 Geordies going home happy after watching Alan Suddick putting Sunderland to the sword with a brace. We came out on top by the same scoreline of 2-0 ten years later when Sunderland born Alan Kennedy opened the scoring with the win sealed by Geordie Paul Cannell.
The late 70’s/early 80’s were dark days for United but one memorable game from that era was when we beat The Mackems 3-1 on New Year’s Day 1980, our goals that day coming from Peter Cartwright, Tommy Cassidy and a penalty from Alan Shoulder; again we managed to repeat that same scoreline exactly five years later when Peter Beardsley managed memorable hat trick in a game that provoked the terrace chant “Hark now hear, the Geordies sing…” The Mackems goal that day came from Whitley Bay lad and Mag, Colin West.
In 1990 we experienced one of the darkest nights in recent history when we were turned over 2-0 by Sunderland in the play-off final second leg with Eric Gates and Marco Gabbiadini scoring for the great unwashed; the second goal sparking a pitch invasion by disgruntled mags. We managed to avenge that defeat by beating Terry Butcher’s Sunderland side in 1993 on our way to the Premier League; Scott Sellars hit the winner with a free kick on a soaking day on Tyneside. 6 years later, Sunderland were in the Premier League after a period of being in the wilderness whist we had been on a whirlwind adventure at the elite of English football, on another rain sodden night we were beaten by Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips goals which turned out to be a blessing in disguise with Ruud Gullit getting the sack after benching both Duncan Ferguson and Alan Shearer; Bobby Robson was installed and the rest as they say, is history.
We beat Sunderland 3-2 in 2005 in a game which was a lot closer than it perhaps should have been given the level of ability of The Mackems that season, Shola Ameobi began his blitzkrieg of goals against the Wearsiders with a brace and the match was won with a stunning free kick by Turkish midfielder Emre. Finally, we gave The Mackems a Halloween trouncing in 2010 when Shola again bagged two and Kevin Nolan became the first man since Beardsley 25 years before him to score a hat trick in a Tyne Wear derby.