Golly, we are all getting rather serious now in our derby build-up, aren't we! Nerves becoming frayed, dreams becoming dominated, stomachs just about starting to churn. That's the way it should be so quit your moaning and suffer in silence like the rest of us.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the anger and nervous tension. Well, lets take a break from it all with a lighthearted and quirky little run through of a few derby day 'did you knows?'. Banned fans, world records, horse auctions, and disgruntled wives... we have them all!
Did You Know: During the second world war, Jackie Milburn made two guest appearances for Sunderland. Another Newcastle United striker, Albert Stubbins, went a step further by representing Sunderland in a War Time Cup Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Stubbins got on the score sheet, but Sunderland were to lose the game.
Did You Know: The Tyne/Wear rivalry can be traced back to the 1600s in a despite over trading rights. Merchants on the Tyne were awarded the exclusive regional rights to trade coal, leaving Sunderland in poverty. Sunderland were to hit back in the civil war, when a Parliamentarian army from Sunderland, reinforced by the Scots, defeated the Royalist Tynesiders at the battle of Boldon Hill in 1644 leading to the Scottish colonisation of Newcastle. In other words - they started it.
Did You Know: In 1968, on August the 20th (exactly 43 years ago to the day come Saturday), Sunderland played Newcastle United on Wearside. The visitors won 3-0. Luckily 'twas only a friendly.
Did You Know: Whilst big-money modern transfers between the two clubs are almost unheard of today, when Scottish right back Andy McCombie made the short trip from Wear to Tyne in 1904 he cost a whopping £700 – a world record at the time.
Did You Know: When Len Shackleton made his British record transfer from Newcastle to Sunderland in 1948, there was no negotiations between the clubs. Newcastle invited sealed bids for his services with Sunderland's offer of £20,050 being £50 higher than the nearest bid. The transfer has been dubbed "the horse auction transfer".
Did You Know: Sunderland haven't completed a derby-double over Newcastle since the 1966-67 season, when they won both fixtures 3-0. Newcastle United's last double was in 2005-6.
Did You Know: There has been a total of 57 players who have represented both Sunderland and Newcastle United – including Danny Simpson and Titus Bramble in the current squads.
Did You Know: Of the current Sunderland squad, only 2 players have experienced beating Newcastle in Sunderland colours. Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand both started the club's last derby victory in 2008, with Phil Bardsley an unused substitute.
Did You Know: Whilst you could be forgiven for thinking that Shola Ameobi is the highest scorer in derby history, you'd be wrong. That distinction lies with Seaham-born George Holley, who scored 15 goals for Sunderland against Newcastle between 1904 and 1919, including a hat-trick in the 9-1 win at St James Park in 1908.
Did You Know: When away supporters were 'banned' from the final ever derby at Roker Park in 1996 they were not actually banned at all. Sunderland and Northumbria Police reached an agreement to allocate 1,000 tickets for the game to visiting fans but Newcastle United turned them down claiming the ageing Roker Park was unsafe. Newcastle's then Chief-Executive, Freddie Fletcher, told fans "Don't blame Newcastle United. Don't blame Northumbria Police. Blame Sunderland.".
Did You Know: The 1901 Good Friday derby at St James Park had to be abandoned when 70,000 fans tried to squeeze into the 30,000 capacity ground. When the abandonment was confirmed, rioting ensued.
Did You Know: The game at St James Park in 1999 was not the only time Sunderland have gone to Newcastle in adverse weather conditions and won. In 1913, two goals from outside right Jackie Mordue helped Sunderland to a 3-0 win amidst a veritable blizzard in a rare FA Cup meeting. The result brought to an end five hours of football in the quarter final tie. Sunderland would go on to lose in the final against Aston Villa in front of a then world record attendance at Crystal Palace.
Did You Know: The influence of WAGs in football is actually nothing new. Indeed, prior to lining up in a derby game in 1956, goal-shy Sunderland centre forward Bill Holden was told by his wife of just a few weeks, "It's time you scored again. You'd better get a goal today and break that bad run". Like any of us, Bill did exactly what his wife had commanded and notched a goal in a comfortable 2-0 win.