The Top Ten: Our Most Memorable Derby Day Moments!

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The derby. We all love it and hate it in equal measure, the sleepless nights over the days leading up to it and then the nerves on the day itself. A win gives you bragging rights at school or in the workplace if you reside in the area, a defeat and you have to take the jibes squarely on the chin. One thing that the Tyne/Wear derby never fails to throw up are incidents that stay with you, whether it be a goal, a tackle, a great piece of play or a bad decision from the Referee, there are always talking points.

If you're on Twitter, which you should be, you will have seen us ask you for your favourite Derby Day moments (keep them coming by the way @RokerReport, hashtag - #RRDerbyMemories) which we will look at in more detail later this week, but for now you'll have to make do with my favourite incidents, which I have put together in a handy Top Ten list. 

So how are your nerves? Frayed a little already? Let's see how you feel after the TOP TEN MEMORABLE DERBY DAY MOMENTS...

10: Steven Taylor's Wink

Hate is a very strong word. A word reserved for those that carry out such a despicable acts that justify such an intense emotion. I hate Steven Taylor. Why? Let's think back to the 1-1 draw at St. James' in February of 2009.

For me the Derby is all about commitment and passion, mixed with, hopefully, just enough class and creativity with the football to grind out a result. The game itself that day was a perfect example of this - an eye catching, end-to-end affair that was marred by Steven Taylor doing what Steven Taylor does best in the opposition's penalty area - dive.

If this wasn't enough, after Webb had pointed to the spot, Taylor picked himself up, dusted himself down before giving a knowing wink to his team mates. Despicable.

9: The Away Fan Ban of 1996/97

This is a game that I will never forget. Mainly because the 1996/97 season was the first that my father and I had Season Tickets, braving the elements on the old Roker End, because we're 'git hard. Anyway, I digress.

In the lead up to the game the powers that be at SAFC realised that large scale segregation of the two sets of fans was virtually impossible due to the unfortunate dilapidated state Roker Park had fell into. After discussions between the two clubs and Northumbria Police, NUFC came to the conclusion "Well if we can't come to your gaff, you can't come to ours" and away fans were disappointingly refused entry to either leg.

Sunderland bossed the first half but left the field with only a solitary goal from the penalty spot courtesy of Martin Scott's trusty left boot to show for their superiority. In typical SAFC fashion this was to come back to haunt the home side as headed goals from Beardsley and Ferdinand but Sunderland to the sword.

The one thing that sticks with me from this game was the haunting atmosphere that greeted both Newcastle goals. The usual reaction from the travelling fans that meets an away team goal was replaced with the despairing groans of the Roker Park faithful as the Magpie players looked bewildered not knowing whether to celebrate or just trot back to their half.

8: Barton Knows Kung-Fu?

The home leg of the 2007/08 Derby will be remembered for many reasons, but for me anyway, it will always be the day that @Joey7Barton unveiled his hidden talent for martial arts. I don't know whether Barton had been watching some classic Bruce Lee the night before to help take his mind off the game, but what I do know is that Dickson Etuhu probably wasn't the best Sunderland player to practice his new moves on, as shown in the video below:

7: Steve Harper's Tumble

I'll preface this entry with a little disclaimer; I certainly do not condone the actions of fans that enter the field of play. We all know that emotions can run high when football is concerned, even more so on Derby day, but lets try and keep it in the stand eh chaps?

That said, following Asamoah Gyan's injury time equaliser, courtesy of his shin, knee, thigh, never-regions, an over exuberant Ross Miller decided to celebrate with his heroes on the pitch, colliding with Newcastle Keeper Steve Harper in the process.

Harper went down like the proverbial sack of excrement, giving @Joey7Barton a run for his money in the theatrics stakes following his antics at the weekend. 

Miller tried to apologise to the fella in person at NUFC's training ground, but Harper was absent from training. Rumours that his team mates had mocked him so much over being floored by the youngster he had ran home crying are unfounded.

6: Patrice Carteron's Celebration

The Derby often throws up heroes in the most unlikely of forms. Step forward Roker Report Cult Hero, Patrice Carteron and his unforgettable reaction to his Derby day goal.

For me this was one of those goals where if I close my eyes I can replay it from start to finish. The moment when Carteron took off on his run, when Hutchison held onto the ball before slipping it into the path of the flying Frenchman who drilled his shot past Shay Given.

The look on the wingback's face was magic. You genuinely got the feeling that he couldn't believe that he was the architect of the delirium from the stands and took off on a lap of honour around the Stadium of Light lapping up every last ounce of joy from the moment.

5: Never Drop Shearer For The Derby

Whilst he might just be a "Slaphead" in the eyes of @Joey7Barton, Alan Shearer is undoubtedly Newcastle United fans' favourite son and even as a diehard Sunderland fan you have to acknowledge his place as the greatest British Striker of his generation. So, if fit, what Newcastle manager in their right mind wouldn't want big Al in their side for the Derby?

Well, Ruud Gullit apparently.

Who can forget the now iconic image of the sour faced striker sat behind the guru of sexy football on the bench for the game at St. James' in 1999? Gullit was to pay for this indiscretion as the 2-1 defeat in the monsoon was the finally nail in his Tyneside coffin.

Even the late and great Sir Bobby Robson fell foul of daring to leave a fit Alan Shearer out of his starting eleven, as a defeat to Aston Villa in 2004 was the beginning of the end for the talented manager's career with the Magpies , leading ultimately to his unceremonious departure.

4: The Beam Back

Back in the archaic days of following football, days before anyone had ever heard of Internet Streams, there was only the option of the old Wireless to follow the Lads' antics on the road. Once in a blue moon however the club would arrange for a "beam back" of the action and fans would turn out in force to watch a, relatively small when you think back,  screen placed on the pitch to cheer their side on.

The game in question for said Beam Back was the famous 2-1 victory in the rain. When Kevin Phillips managed to put a ball over both Tommy Wright and a despairing Warren Barton on the line into the net from an impossible angle and send a few thousand Mackems down the road mental. 

The scenes that greeted this goal were superb. Fans spilled out of their seats to celebrate in the aisles, dance on the concourses and even indulge in a Klinsmann-esq slide across the sodden turf towards the big screen.

3: Bally Hits The Bar!

If there was one thing you could never fault Kevin Ball for it would be his full blooded commitment to the Sunderland cause. For a lad not from the area Bally give everything for the North East side. However it would be this commitment and dedication that nearly immortalised the Midfield General for all the wrong reasons on that rain soaked afternoon.

It was in the dying moments of the game, with Sunderland clinging on to their 2-1 lead, when Bally was to put in one of his routine tackles on Gary Speed (Ferguson as pointed out by Michael Todd on Twitter, @Haway501, cheers buddy) just inside the SAFC half. Whilst poor old Gary Speed (see previous) tried to work out if he had been hit by a car or a truck the rest of us watched, mouths agape, as the ball took off on an agonising journey onto the top of a stranded Thomas Sorensen's bar and out of play.

Wearside breathed a sigh of relief and Bally's reputation as Mr. Sunderland remains intact.

2: THAT Penalty Save

Heroes are made an an instant and Sunderland favourite Thomas Sorensen wrote himself into Sunderland folklore in November of 2000. With the game finely in the balance, Sunderland leading 2-1, the usually composed Niall Quinn went to ground with a typical strikers challenge on Rob Lee, leaving Graham Poll no option put to point to the spot.

Sunderland fans' hearts sank as they saw the ever dependable Alan Shearer step up and we began to come to terms with leaving St. James' with just a point for our efforts.

The Great Dane had other ideas however, throwing his frame across his goal line to turn the ball around his left hand post before being mobbed by his team mates and break Magpie hearts.

1. Richardson Bursts The Net

I began to wonder as a Sunderland fan in my early twenties at the time if I would ever see Sunderland beat Newcastle on home turf. I began to wonder if it was me, was I bringing bad luck on Derby Day? Then on that October afternoon in 2008 with fifteen minutes to go El-Hadji Diouf was cynically felled by Nicky Butt on the edge of the Newcastle penalty area. 

Whilst it seemed to take an eternity for the referee to sort out the wall, Richardson remained composed, before unleashing a freekick which blew away twenty eight years of frustration as Wearside erupted. I have never celebrated a goal like that and doubt I will again. 

Sunderland 2 Newcastle 1 One Day Like This (via Destored2)

Disagree with some of my choices? Have I missed something you believe deserves a mention? Never fear because we're after your memorable derby day memories to feature here on Roker Report later this week. Send your suggestions to @RokerReport on Twitter, using the hashtag #RRDerbyMemories to help us find them!

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