Danny Rose Will Be Playing For Your Team At The SOL Again
It's not quite the same as seeing him play in red and white, but still, the game tonight is a chance for us to see Danny Rose play for our team again, albeit in an England shirt.
During his time at Sunderland, a season long loan spell during the 2012/2013 campaign, Rose became a firm fan favourite, collecting the club's Young Player of the Year award along the way. Nobody at the Sunderland wanted to see him leave and return to Tottenham, but the sky was always going to be the limit for Danny and since his loan spell on Wearside he has gone on to establish himself as a top quality left full back, and as a first choice pick under both Mauricio Pochettino and Roy Hodgson.
Rose's affection for the club has always remained, and he even returned to Sunderland for our midweek game against Everton earlier this month. Rose drove up to the North East to take in the match live as he felt he needed to be there to support us, before returning back to London that night so that he made training for Tottenham the next morning.
I for one will be singing his name loud and proud if he gets on the pitch - he's one of my favourites, and his time at Sunderland played a huge part in him being where he is today as England's first choice left back.
It's A Friday Night Sell Out
The last time there was a Friday night game at the Stadium of Light was when Carlos Edwards pinged one from the banks of the River Wear into the top corner of Brian Jensen's net, securing Sunderland's place back in the Premier League after just one season away from the top flight.
Since then we've just about remained as a Premier League club, meaning we never play on Friday evenings, and if I'm honest I really miss those early weekend night-time games. There's something different about the atmosphere on a Friday night, as most people attending are gearing up for the weekend and are in a jovial, if slightly inebriated, mood.
Add to that the fact that the game has now sold out, the atmosphere should be absolutely brilliant and I'm looking forward to turning up to a game after a few pints with absolutely no pressure on the team that I'm supporting.
We Owe The Aussies One
The last time that England and Australia played each other was in 2003 at Upton Park, when the away side shocked a team full of England superstars and comfortably won the match 3-1.
Of the players on the pitch that day, only Wayne Rooney still remains, and he's expected to start the game at the Stadium of Light this evening. The Australia team then was far stronger than the squad they currently possess, with the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka lining up for the Socceroos, but they're still no mugs - thus far in 2016 they have won the AFC Asian Cup, and also drew 2-2 with Germany in March - a game they were winning until Lukas Podolski earned a late equaliser for the current World Champions.
England and Australia's sporting rivalry goes beyond just football, and there's just something particularly beautiful about getting one over on them. I can't pinpoint why, but I really hope we give them a good hiding.
Tim Cahill Won't Be There To Spoil The Party
Sunderland fans are no strangers to Tim Cahill, and for anyone going to the game I imagine they'll be particularly pleased to hear that our old arch-nemesis will not be there.
These days the former Millwall and Everton forward is playing over in China for Hangzhou Greentown, and they have a league game on Saturday afternoon which Cahill is needed for, so he hasn't been released for the England friendly. Shame.
Just incase you need to be reminded about Cahill's record against Sunderland, he's got eight goals in sixteen games against us. In all sixteen games, we've won none. So, put in simple terms, Sunderland fans have never seen their team beat a side featuring Tim Cahill.
The National Team Playing At Your Stadium Doesn't Happen Every Day
The last time that we had an England game at the Stadium of Light was in 2003 for a European Championship qualifier against Turkey, and anyone there that day will remember just how brilliant an occasion it was.
Other than that Turkey game we've had just one other England fixture at the Stadium of Light, a friendly against Belgium in 1999 probably best remembered by Sunderland fans for a performance by Alan Shearer which seen him score once (I struggled to celebrate it), spending the rest of the game purposely not passing the ball to Kevin Phillips in order to make him look crap. Not the greatest memory, in truth.
As sad as it is that Jermain Defoe wasn't selected by Roy Hodgson for the European Championships, he is giving a chance to young Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford to show what he can do in tonight's game, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how he does.
When the squad was first announced I was a little perplexed with Rashford's selection but I guess time has allowed me to reflect upon it and I guess I'd rather be cheering him on than Daniel Sturridge. It's always good to see young players doing well for themselves.
Going To A Game With Your Mag Mates Doesn't Happen That Often
How many of you that are going to the match are attending it with your Newcastle supporting mates? It can't be just me.
As much as we love our friends, we can't help that some of them choose to support a Championship club. Still, Friday is a unique occasion as, for once, there will be Sunderland and Newcastle supporters standing side-by-side cheering on the same team.
Make the most of it, because it doesn't happen too often.