clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Today marks the anniversary of two famous Sunderland derby victories over Newcastle - rejoice!

Since there’s precious little else to be positive about at present it came as a nice surprise this morning when I noted that the 25th of October marks the anniversary of two fantastic recent derby victories.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The 25th of October - not a date that immediately jumps off the page, admittedly.

Google it if you want. I just did, and found out that today is Darron Gibson’s birthday, the anniversary of the coronation of King George the 3rd - and the day that Sunderland managed to last beat their nearest rivals on home turf.

Of all of the victories in that six-in-a-row series, this was probably my favourite. Not because it added yet another number to the growing line of impressive wins that we racked up against Newcastle, but because we managed to somehow achieve a comprehensive scoreline in a game that our opponents arguably dominated for huge periods - and it tipped them completely over the edge.

The run and cross by Younes Kaboul that led to Steven Fletcher’s late nerve-shredder was just sublime, as was the goal itself, and it put the cherry on top of the cake as we danced into the night celebrating our latest success. It was a happier time, a time when the Stadium of Light was bouncing and us Sunderland supporters were actually allowed to enjoy supporting our football team for once.

True Geordie’s reaction - it just made it taste even sweeter.

It was different to when we beat them 3-0 at St James Park in the previous year - that was just a complete and utter masterclass. No, this time we probably didn’t deserve to take Newcastle down in such a devastating fashion - but we did, and that’s all that mattered.

Today also marks the anniversary of our home derby victory in 2008, a result which ended a barren run stretching 28 years where Sunderland were unable to beat Newcastle on home turf.

Not since 1980, a tightly contested affair settled by a 73rd minute Stan Cummins goal, had Sunderland beaten the Toon Army on our own patch up until that day.

That was probably around the time I last felt completely assured by the ability of our team to win home games in an orderly fashion. Roy Keane had established the Stadium of Light as somewhat of a fortress and when Newcastle United, managed by the hapless Joe Kinnear, rocked up on Wearside they came up against a Sunderland team led by a true winner that wouldn’t have accepted anything but the best, especially having failed in the previous season to secure a victory against the Tynesiders in our two league attempts.

We had a real threat up front in Djibril Cisse, committed midfielders and a defence that were prepared to throw themselves in front of anything and everything.

The roof lifted off as Cisse tucked away the opener, but the joy was short-lived as Shola Ameobi levelled proceedings just ten minutes later.

Then came the winner, achieved in almost perfect style by Kieran Richardson.

Having been ribbed and incessantly mocked for our inability to overcome Newcastle by friends and colleagues for what felt like an age, we finally had the bragging rights - Sunderland were back, and we marked it in the most emphatic fashion possible, by scoring an absolute thronker with mere minutes left on the clock.


I feel better having written this - it’s an escape that the reality that we find ourselves in, taking a trip down memory lane to reminisce about a happier time where we used to enjoy football at the Stadium of Light.

It’s perhaps a reminder - and a message to the players that currently occupy the positions of Sunderland first team squad members - of just how beautiful and boisterous the Stadium of Light can be if they give the opportunity that they have at this club their all.

Presently it’s a morgue, occupied by those of us hardened enough to still turn up, pay our money and watch the team we fell in love with many years before this current catastrophe occurred. But with a little luck, some hard-work and imagination it isn’t difficult to imagine what the Stadium of Light could become once again in the future.

Sunderland fans appreciate honesty, integrity and hard work, with a little flair and creativity sprinkled in amongst it. Starting this Saturday, it would be wise if this manager and these players could take inspiration from those that achieved so much in those famous derby victories on this day in 2008 and 2015 - if they do, there might yet be hope left that this season can turn around some time soon.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report