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My First Game: #14 - Fulham, November 2012

Roker Report reader Rowan Clark was once an exiled mag, but a trip to watch the lads at Craven Cottage in 2012 was enough to make him see the error of his ways and become a massive lads fan.

I took a very odd journey into being a Sunderland fan.

I am only sixteen years old, and I live in Essex, yet I have to admit I randomly chose to follow Newcastle United when I was young and stupid. I wanted to be different at school, and I guess Newcastle were the oddest team to spring to my head at the time. By this point, my mum had got together with a new bloke - a Scottish man who I literally only spoke to about football, and he'd tell me night after night that Sunderland fans were mental and the best in the country.

I was stubborn, and tried to convince myself I was a Newcastle United fan, despite what this man was telling me.

Anyways, this happened for a few years until I was not enjoying my time at my mothers and my stepdad offered me the chance to go and watch Fulham v Sunderland on the 18th November 2012 at Craven Cottage. I took this opportunity - reluctantly at the time - and was given strict instructions on saying nothing about Newcastle whilst in the pub before the game.

He should of had no worries, as within minutes I was chanting that Alan Shearer was illegitimate, and all the rest of it.

I just was engrossed with the way thousands of people can be so passionate about one thing. There was a special feeling throughout the day, and especially when Sessegnon scored a long range screamer to give the lads an important three points. The game ended 3-1.

I've never had a feeling like it anywhere else. The atmosphere was something different. I had a much different accent to the other 3,000 or so Mackems but I already felt part of a family and that feeling has stayed with me since.

Obviously - due to where I live - I can't go to the Stadium of Light every weekend, but I try my best to get to London for the away games and be part of the best twelfth man in English football. The feeling I got when seeing Fletcher, Cuellar and Sessegnon score has never left me. I'm proud to say I'm am an unorthodox Mackem.

Being from Essex, I am mates with people who support the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, and they all ask me the same question - why?

Why Sunderland?

I simply reply - I didn't choose my team, my team chose me.

When supporting Sunderland there are plenty of highs and lows but I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm so happy my step dad took me to the game that day, as now I can proudly say that I'm Sunderland 'til I die.

If you're reading this article, then this feature is open to you. We want to hear YOUR tales of your first ever Sunderland game.

If you're interested in telling us your story, please send us an email - rokerreport@yahoo.co.uk - and provide us with no less than 500 words. We'll be more than happy to publish your piece and give full credit.

It can be about anything - the smell of the burger vans, buying your first matchday programme, the roar of the crowd or even holding your dad's hand as you climbed up the steps for the very first time - we want to hear your first ever memories of going to a Sunderland game.