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?
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.