Setting The Record Straight, by David Marjoram

Roker Report always welcomes contributions from talented writers, and the first of which comes from SAFC diehard David Marjoram, who you might recognise from ALS amongst others. David, along with many SAFC fans I'd imagine, is fed up with the media love-in on our neighbours up the road, and their wonderfully 'loyal' support. Here he sets about redressing the balance. Enjoy...

If there is one thing that has pissed me off for years more than anything else it is the fact the media and Sky Sports News in particular, love nothing better than to brown-nose the skunks, making them out to be the best and most loyal supporters in the world, whilst showing very little admiration for the enduring loyalty of Sunderland supporters. What makes this doubly galling are the little pot shots at Sunderland fans at the same time and, whether you agree or disagree with Niall Quinn’s latest call to arms, it has, if nothing else, provided more bait to those sniping at Stadium of Light attendances and empty seats.

When the topic of conversation is SAFC attendances, comparisons are inevitably often drawn with our black and white cousins – media darlings that they are - and to be fair they are a well supported club. However, the fact NUFC has generally had larger crowds than SAFC over the years is neither something that bothers me, or I wish to deny. Given they enjoy a bigger share of the huge North East fan base, it is only to be expected. For example, north of the Tyne must be 90% Newcastle at least, whereas County Durham and south of the Tyne is more evenly split for whatever reason. It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of the area that surrounds Sunderland is actually the North Sea.

The main reason I get frustrated with this situation is because there is usually little chance for SAFC supporters to respond effectively to any criticism; no right of reply. As a result, please excuse me while I vent my spleen because those in a position to defend Sunderland supporters and provide a bit of historical context either don’t or choose not to. I can’t say I’m totally surprised, given one such person is Mickey Horswill on the Leg-ends Football Phone-in; a man who would probably struggle to find his arse with both hands. I respect and admire the man for being part of Stokoe’s Stars in 1973, but his lack of knowledge regarding SAFC matters at times is astonishing and, to be frank, embarrassing.

I have taken it upon myself to pull together a few facts and figures that demonstrate the utter shit Sunderland supporters have been served up over the years, highlighting the unstinting loyalty we have shown in the process; hard evidence the skunks have been on to a cushy little number for years by comparison. Please feel free to use wherever necessary to settle any arguments with the cold, hard facts. It is grim reading I’m afraid, so as they used to say on the late news before Match of the Day years ago, if you don’t want to know the results, please look away now.

Wear-Tyne Comparison

Last 25 Seasons (1985/86 – 2009/10)

SAFC

NUFC

Seasons spent in old First Division (FD)/Premier League (PL)

10

21

Longest spell in FD/PL

4 seasons

16 seasons

Shortest spell in FD/PL

1 season

(3 occasions)

5 seasons

Top half finishes in FD/PL

2

(Best: 7th - twice)

10

(Best: 2nd - twice)

Top 4 finishes

0

5

Seasons ending in relegation

6

2

Longest time period between relegations from FD/PL

6 seasons

20 seasons

Shortest time period between relegations from FD/PL

3 seasons

20 seasons

Relegations immediately following promotion

3

0

Seasons played in Europe (European Cup/Champions League, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners Cup, Fairs Cup, Intertoto Cup)

0

10

Seasons spent outside the top two divisions in England

1

0

Last 50 Seasons (1960/61-2009/10)

SAFC

NUFC

Seasons spent in FD/PL

22

35

Longest spell in FD/PL

6 seasons

16 seasons

Shortest spell in FD/PL

1 season

(4 occasions)

5 seasons

Top half finishes in FD/PL

2

(Best: 7th - twice)

17

(Best: 2nd - twice)

Top 4 finishes

0

5

Seasons ending in relegation

8

4

Longest time period between relegations from FD/PL

9 Seasons

16 Seasons

Shortest time period between relegations from FD/PL

3 Seasons

11 Seasons

Relegations immediately following promotion

4

0

Seasons played in Europe

1

14

Seasons spent outside the top 2 divisions in England

1

0

 

Perhaps the loyalty of Sunderland supporters will be recognised and paid a decent tribute one day; recognition that we’re lucky to have retained the massive support we still receive. Maybe there’ll be a stop to unfair comparisons between two clubs who have endured vastly different fortunes over the last 50 years. Those in a position to defend us from unwarranted criticism could even start to do so effectively.

I’ll not be holding my breath however.

FTM

David Marjoram

You can follow David on Twitter too @MackemMarj

Wear-Tyne Comparison

Last 25 Seasons (1985/86 – 2009/10)

SAFC

NUFC

Seasons spent in old First Division (FD)/Premier League (PL)

10

21

Longest spell in FD/PL

4 seasons

16 seasons

Shortest spell in FD/PL

1 season

(3 occasions)

5 seasons

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