Nick Holden: It Has To Be 3-0
Don't get me wrong, last weekend's result was utterly brilliant in a way which only one win of recent years has been...and that other result was the 3-0 in April. There are doubtless many logical arguments for saying that battling for our first win of the season against our nearest and not-so-dearest is about as good as it gets, but this is a derby - there's no real room for logic. With derbies what matters are the simple raw emotions. What could possibly be as brilliant as going away to Newcastle and beating them by three goals to nowt? No, beating is the wrong word. Obliterating might suit better, or perhaps eviscerating.
It might be that the mind-numbing awfulness of the start of this season, and the disappointment in how Di Canio's tenure ended, have slightly blunted the memories of that day, so let me refresh them for you. Borini's goal was an absolute screamer on Sunday, but all three of the goals in April were probably it's equal. We may have been in utterly shoddy form going into the win at the weekend, but things weren't exactly blooming on Wearside back in spring either. Martin O'Neill's spell as manager had fizzled drably out, and although we looked improved as we lost to Chelsea in Paolo Di Canio's first game in charge we still lost and I was still busy fretfully doing the maths on how many points we'd need to survive.
Whilst in hindsight it is perhaps easy to see that Di Canio was a huge gamble that went badly wrong, we shouldn't re-write history and forget how brilliant he was for that game. He had his side totally pumped up, and his celebrations were sodding excellent. Yes, maybe they were an early sign of his egotistical need to turn the spotlight onto himself - but to be honest it's hard to care about what's ticking away in the manager's subconscious when he's knee-sliding along the St. James' touchline.
That game made it possible to believe in Sunderland again when we're facing the Mags, especially after a run of derbies when it just always felt inevitable that the lads wouldn't manage a win. So whilst the game at the weekend was amazing, it fell just slightly short of the euphoria of the earlier win. And a Mag punched a horse afterwards, which is still hilarious.
Michael Graham: Gotta Love A 2-1!
I loved going to their own park and giving them a good hiding. It was exciting and it resonated. In terms of sheer satisfaction, though, last week's 2-1 just about pips it.
Back in April, although the situation was worrying, it wasn't desperate. We had the insurance of other, more inviting games to come, on paper at least, and it always kind of felt we were flirting with relegation rather than anything else. This time, however, it felt like we had gone beyond flirting with the drop, had taken it home, knocked it up, and was all but resigned to having to introduce it to our parents before the bump started to show. THIS, was desperation.
Newcastle could sense that too. They were in a position to really stick the boot in. Had they come to our own pitch and beaten us - especially from a goal down - it almost certainly would have broken us. After all we have been through in the last few months, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to allow that to happen too.
We have been left feeling disconnected from the club and even alienated by the players themselves. It feels like we have been on a slow decline towards sitting on our backsides in apathy and accepting our fate. But not here. Not today. This was a reconnection through sheer shared belligerence. Fans and players genuinely coming together for what seemed like the first time in ages.
They may have put us through more nerves and tension in this one than they did at St James Park, but come on: an 84th minutes winner, on home soil, with a goal that dripped with quality and our bitterest rivals intent on revenge holding our whole season in the palm of their hand? They could put a picture of Borini's thunderbastard in the dictionary beside 'satisfaction' as far as I am concerned.
That was 6 months of pain and frustration roared away in one moment. It felt like an exorcism and you could feel the gloom lift and the wounds begin to heal. It was beauty in motion. Our club encapsulated in one second. That one moment felt more 'Sunderland' than the three back at the Wongarena put together for me.
Not that it really matters, of course. One 3-0 plus one 2-1 equals one 5-1. Do the maths. Sunderland being Sunderland we just drew it out a bit!