The lads must be having such a good time this summer that they have twisted Mr. Bruce's arm and arranged another friendly, taking on the Killies tomorrow at Rugby Park.
With the SPL season already underway fans travelling to the game can expect a mixed bag from both clubs in terms of personnel. However with the season opener looming the more chances the new look squad has to gel the better, barring any injuries of course, please no more injuries!
So after Simon Walsh flogged his Hanson CD collection on Music Magpie to raise the funds to free the trusty Robin Reliant from Police Custody we're on our way again! Join us after the jump for the low down on everything you need to know!
Founded in 1869 Sunderland's next opposition this summer are currently the oldest club plying their trade in the top tier of Scottish Football. Originally more concerned with cricket the lads quickly needed something to do during the winter months. Then, I'm guessing, realised that they are in Scotland, playing cricket is a ridiculous idea, lets take up this football malarkey fulltime.
The former cricketers were elected into the top flight in 1895 following consecutive Division Two titles and have becoming one of the more successful sides North of the Border, certain other sides not withstanding.
Kilmarnock's golden era came in the 1960's under the guidance of Willie Waddell, what is it with the Scot's and the name Willie? Anyway, I digress... The side won the league for the first and only time in the 1964/65 season following finishing as runners up four times out of the previous five seasons.
Such is the turbulent world of the SPL many touted Kilmarnock to face the drop last term, however they managed to secure a fifth place finish.
Rugby Park has a capacity of just over 18,000 and is made up of four all seater stands, three of which were built in the mid 1990's. Two of the stands also feature unusual subbuteo-esq floodlights which give the ground a distinct look.
Whilst reading up on the ground one thing about Rugby Park kept cropping up time and time again... Pies. Kilmarnock have won countless awards and the legend of their pies has gathered somewhat of a cult hero amongst both home and travelling supporters.
So be sure to pick up a Killie Pie or a Peppered Steak Slice... hell, get both!
One of the many things that Scotland is renown for is Whisky and Kilmarnock is no different. It was in a Grocers on King Street in 1820 that Johnnie Walker created and sold his whiskey. To this day the bottling plant still employs hundreds of the cities residents.
There's also the "Dick Institute" which serves as a library and art gallery in the town centre. Certainly something to check out for all the lovers of dick...
Staying with a cultural theme travelling fans could also stop by the home of Scotish poet Robert Burns at the Burns House Museum which can be found on the cobbled streets of Mauchline. Here you can find out where the famous Scot spent his formative years and the people that helped inspire his works including Holy Willie... They're obsessed I'm telling you!
Just a short distance away from Rugby Park you can find Howard Arms in Glencairn Square which would seem to be your best bet nearest the ground for a quick dram before KO.
Rugby Park is a stones throw away from the town centre where, as you can imagine, there are a number of pubs and bars to take your pick from. Be it the Paris Match, a French themed bar, no doubt right up our very own exiled Dan Williams or the more family friendly Scots Bonnet for a bite to eat and a leisurely pint before the game.
PLAYED FOR BOTH
The benefit of Sunderland returning to the British Isles is that it makes it a lot easier and more likely to be able to identify players past, or present, that have represented both sides. This one was a no brainer I'm sure you'll agree. I could talk all day about this fella as he is an all time favourite of mine, so I'll point you in the direction of this article and this rather fantastic compilation video!
Sunderland Legends: Allan Johnston (via jimb5024)