It was supposed to be a celebration to mark 20 years since Sunderland opened the Stadium of Light - the ground that replaced the club’s famous old Roker Park home.
Instead the current imcumbents of this once proud football team laid on a party for thousands of Glaswegians in the late July sunshine.
Any neutrals who happened to be spending their summer on Wearside and thought they’d pop along to SR5 to enjoy the locals putting on a show to mark two decades in their once shiny stadium, could have been forgiven for thinking they had bought tickets to the wrong event.
This was another afternoon in which Sunderland AFC got it all wrong both on the pitch and off it.
With barely a mention of the anniversary this ‘showpiece’ friendly against Celtic was supposed to represent, the lads in red-and-white handed the Hoops five easy goals to send the visitors from north of the border into raptures and display their full repertoire of Gaelic Ultra celebrations.
Where was the procession of famous old professionals Sunderland had hinted at? Where was the 20th anniversary speech to mark the occasion, perhaps the burying of a new time capsule adjacent to the one laid two decades ago when the Stadium of Light was being built? Where was the nod to Roker and the century of history at the grand old football ground which was bulldozed twenty years ago in 1997?
Where were the videos of the ground’s most famous occasions and goal celebrations? Hell, even some ‘SOL20’ clackers and a few balloons would have sufficed, perhaps a firework or two and a giant birthday cake with Kevin Ball leaping from within.
Not a peep. Sunderland invited Glasgow Celtic to take part in this afternoon’s non-celebration most likely with an eye on raking in a few quid from ticket sales put way ahead of pondering how best to mark the occasion.
And celebrate they did - those from Glasgow that is, as those from Sunderland watched on in utter bewilderment.
With those in red-and-white quickly hastening through the spectrum of emotions from horror, to dismay, to abandoning watching the hopeless proceedings of their team on the pitch, all eyes turned to the ten thousand Bhoys thronged in the stadium’s south stand to watch a glorious green-and-white technicolour display of songs, chanting and dancing. And it was epic.
The Celtic hoardes shook the very colliery shafts on which the Stadium of Light was built.
But it should have never been like this. Sunderland were the ones supposed to be glorifying in their past and their culture this afternoon.
Wearside was supposed to have gathered to revel in its history and those roots which this facile club hierarchy occasionally nod to with their hashtags and unending slogans. Claptrap and cock-ups - that’s all that seems to be left within SAFC now.
#Keep The Faith, #Unity Is Strength, #Our Future Is Rooted In Our History? Bold words which this afternoon were simply exposed for being nothing more than superficial bullsh!t.
I left on 75 minutes feeling cheated, bewildered and desperate to get away from the football ground which has been as much a home to me as anywhere else in the last two decades of my life.
No doubt as I was whisking out of Sunderland with a growing anger brewing in my gut, those who had trekked down from Glasgow were overrunning my city to continue their party just as they had overrun Simon Grayson's players on the pitch.