Who Are These Jobbers?
What’s sexier than a trip to Middlesbrough in winter? TWO trips to Middlesbrough in winter. And it’s time once again to tediously argue with our Teesside brethren over whether this game is a derby - it’s not. Yeah, they may take it more seriously and they’ll probably beat us but, honestly, does anyone care about getting beat off Middlesbrough?
I wonder if any Sunderland fan has ever woken on the morning of a Wear-Tees “derby” and thought “yeah I really want to get the bragging rights over that team from North Yorkshire today”. Here’s a spoiler alert for you - they don’t.
Unfortunately, like your annoying cousin (probably called Bradley or something) who really wants you to play FIFA with him, those little cherubs from down the road take this really seriously. Not content with their actual derby match against Hartlepool United (although I think Hartlepool class Darlington as their actual rival) they cling on to ourselves and Newcastle hoping that one day, just one day, we’ll take them seriously.
Since claiming they were ready to “smash the Championship”, chairman Steve Gibson has given Garry Monk over £40 million to spend, subsequently sacked him and employed charisma vacuum, baseball cap enthusiast and yer da Tony Pulis. So, if you’re looking for some slick, free-flowing football then get yerselves down to the Riverside this season.
As it is an FA Cup third round tie, expect to see two reserve sides playing out the most turgid game of the season with someone like, I don’t know, Rudy Gestede scoring the winner.
How Do I Get There?
If you need me to explain to you how to drive from Sunderland to Middlesbrough then there really is no hope for you.
The good people of Northern Rail have put on an extra train leaving Sunderland at 10.25, while the 10.50 and 11.50 (at a push) will get you into the beautiful sunlit streets of Teesside in time for the match.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
Those trendy cats at Cleveland Police (weird that the law enforcement of Ohio are offering alehouse recommendations for Sunderland supporters in Middlesbrough but hey ho) suggest Doctor Browns on Corporation Road and Spencley’s Emporium on Albert Road as the places for away fans to slurp in.
They’ll both be crammed and will no doubt take ages to get served. So yeeeeeeeh, have fun.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Why are you planning on staying over in Middlesbrough, you weirdo? Just go home.
What’s The Ground Like?
I plopped out my only fact about the Riverside Stadium in the away guide for November’s trip but here it is again - Derby County got their inspiration for Pride Park from the Riverside.
For some reason, there’s over 4,000 of us going on Saturday so that’ll probably bump up the crowd to about 13,000. Have fun everyone.