With what looks like the biggest Tyne-Wear Derby in recent history I have previously stated that I absolutely HATE playing Newcastle despite the fact we’ve won the last times against them.
When we win, I love the aftermath and the feeling of getting one over our rivals, but the build-up jsut isn't good for my mental state.
Don’t even get me started on what I’m like watching the games. I’m petrified and every time Newcastle come into our half I’m scared that they’re going to score. Out of the last six derbies I’ve only enjoyed watching one of them really, two at very best. The rest have been torturous to sit through. I’m going to be exactly like that again from kick-off at St James’ Park on Sunday.
But, with that in mind, I thought I’d look back at the last six wins and give brief thoughts on them.
1) April 14th 2013 – Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland
Since I started supporting Sunderland, this was the least enjoyable season for me, but this was a game I’ll always remember.
I was away on holiday at the time but my nerves prior to the game were awful, considering how poor we’d played under Martin O’Neill that year. I was certain before his dismissal we would get beat. Whatever opinions you may have on Paolo Di Canio, I will always thank him for this.
I admit if Newcastle hadn’t played Benfica twice in the Europa League plus a Premier League game against Fulham before this match, we probably wouldn’t have won. Not to mention we did get a massive bit of luck with Papiss Cisse’s ‘offside’ goal being disallowed but we still scored fantastic goals.
Stephane Sessegnon is a player I wish we still had as he was one of those players that, despite his annoying inconsistency, he lit up a game when at his best. He was very good on this day and got us on our way before two good strikes from Adam Johnson and David Vaughan sealed a famous victory – our first at St James’ for thirteen years. Won’t be forgetting this one in a hurry.
2) October 27th 2013 – Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle
One point from eight games without a win, our worst ever start in the Premier League, the worst defence in the league with twenty goals conceded and Newcastle looking to settle a score – safe to say I was downright dreading this game.
Steven Fletcher’s early header helped considerably calm my nerves and we played alright in the first-half. After Newcastle drew level through Matthieu Debuchy, I feared the worst, but our little Italian workaholic Fabio Borini had other ideas.
I still remember BBC Match of the Day commentator Guy Mowbray’s words: "Ki, finds Colback.... Altidore leaves it to BORINNNNNNIIIIIIII."
I went wild and spent the remainder of the game praying for the full time whistle. When it came the relief was palpable. Our first win of the season and back-to-back wins against Newcastle meant I could sleep well that night.
3) February 1st 2014 – Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland
Déjà vu? It would seem so. This was the first time going into a derby I actually felt slightly confident. We were in decent form, then-head coach Gus Poyet had the team playing well and we had just reached the League Cup final.
I mentioned that out of the last six games against Newcastle at best I enjoyed watching two of them. This one I enjoyed watching because we were so dominant and went two-nil up in the first twenty minutes after Borini set us on our way. In-form Johnson doubled our advantage and should have scored after an amazing run in which he single-handedly out-skilled half of the Newcastle team.
Newcastle, who had just sold Yohan Cabaye and had Loic Remy suspended, didn’t offer any sort of threat whatsoever before Jack Colback completed a perfect away result and performance.
4) December 21st 2014 – Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland
We had only won two games prior to this game last season but had drawn ten, so we weren’t in too bad shape going into this derby.
Although Seb Coates had to replace Anthony Reveillere in the warm-up, we actually didn’t let that affect us as we looked relatively solid at the back.
Going forward we had chances to go in front through Connor Wickham, Jordi Gomez and Steven Fletcher and it just looked as though we were going to have settle for yet another draw but thankfully we got an early Christmas present which more than made my holiday.
I watched this game in the Stadium of Light sports bar and was in there from 10:00am, and for the three hours before kick off I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t even watch half the game. I had to keep going outside because it was too much but I arrived back just in time to see our late winner.
5) April 5th 2015 – Sunderland 1-0 Newcastle
Jermain Defoe’s stunning volley in this fixture is by far my favourite goal I’ve ever seen at the Stadium of Light.
I was convinced we couldn’t possibly make it five wins in a row but, considering the dross we’d seen in the previous home match against Aston Villa, the home support was outstanding and sang their hearts out all the way through the game.
This was the other game I somewhat enjoyed watching as we mainly won this game because of how toothless Newcastle were. They had ‘the best coach in the Premier League’ so for them to offer nothing was a big surprise.
But we still deserved to win the game thanks to Defoe and new head coach Dick Advocaat. Cue the annual escape.
6) October 25th 2015 – Sunderland 3-0 Newcastle
Enter Sam Allardyce. Like Di Canio, Poyet and Advocaat, he lost his first game in charge and faced the Magpies in their second. It surely couldn’t happen a fourth time, could it?
Similar to the home game in the 13-14 season my nerves were nothing short of gigantic for this game. Newcastle had scored six goals in their previous game against Norwich City - Georgino Wijnaldum scoring four of them - and I was petrified he was going to do the same against Sunderland.
Based on the first forty-five minutes it looked that way as Newcastle bossed the game before we got a penalty, which Johnson scored, after a foul from Fabricio Coloccini on Fletcher. The penalty, as well as Coloccini’s subsequent dismissal, was controversial.
I personally agreed with the penalty but the red card should never have been given. Nevertheless after we went ahead from the spot, I was astonished that we’d took the lead at the end of a first-half in which we played so poorly. Billy Jones and Fletcher sealed a fantastic result and that made my week before Everton brought me back down to planet earth the week after.
Hopefully by about 3:30pm on Sunday, we have made it seven in a row - Ha’way the Lads!