Survival Showdown Atmosphere Not One To Miss

Shaun Botterill

It's in our hands, to do it in front of our supporters on our turf. You don't want to miss it.

Last week we asked you to tell us the best atmosphere you can remember experiencing at the Stadium of Light. The response was overwhelming.

It wasn't just the volume that was striking, but the variation. The play off semi-final against Sheffield United was mentioned, as was the stadium's first derby and the day that Kieran Richardson broke Newcastle's net.

There was the battle with Everton last season and the promotion party that followed a win against Leicester when other scores filtered in. There was the day against Burnley that immortalised Carlos Edwards and his right foot. There was Ji Dong-won, of course.

There was also quite random contributions, like a Premier League draw with West Ham United when Kenwyne Jones was sent off and 'that game with Tottenham', which obviously struck a memorable chord with someone. There was, of course, last week's demolition of Cardiff City. There were, in fact, far too many to mention.

The point is here, that The Stadium of Light is capable of some very special atmospheres. This Wednesday against West Bromwich Albion could be one for the ages. In fact it could be the one for the ages.

However diverse the list was, there was one common thread - none of the atmospheres produced a Sunderland defeat.

That's not to say that the Sunderland crowd can't be detrimental to the effort. With the best will in the world, there have been plenty of occasions over the years when anxiety and frustration has transferred itself from the stands onto the pitch. That's happened. It has happened this season, more than once.

But I can't honestly ever remember it happening on the big occasion. I can't remember it happening when the stakes have been high and the prize in sight. The Sunderland crowd has always done their part then.

This current run of form is as extraordinary story as I can remember as a Sunderland fan. If the job is completed on Wednesday night, it will be a stunning achievement.

Yeah, you can moan on at the mess we somehow managed to get ourselves into and demand it doesn't happen again, regardless of the outcome of this season. In fact, it's something we have all done.

If we are brutally honest, relegation showdowns happen way too often here. We are all veritable experts in relegation mathematics. It never gets any easier and every one we survive seems to mean that little bit less than the one before.

This one is different though. If we win this one, on one will sit back this summer with a sigh of relief knowing in their heart of hearts, like last season, that other teams lost the scrap rather than us winning it.

This time there would not be a man, woman or child who didn't know that Sunderland had saved themselves; that this football club had toiled, wounded, through self-inflicted pressure and hardship and achieved something special.

That's why you're going to want to be there. That's why you need to be there. This isn't one to be missed.

Tickets can also be purchased online at www.safc.com/tickets or by telephone, 0871 911 1973, 24 hours a day.  Standard tickets are priced at £25 for adults, £19 for over 65s and just £10 for under 16s.

TICKET OFFICE OPENING HOURS:

Monday 05 May, 10am-1pm (Bank Holiday)
Tuesday 06 May, 9am-5:30pm
Wednesday 07 May, 9am until kick off (SAFC V West Brom, 7:45pm)

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