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ITHICS FANZINE: Why do Newcastle fans keep turning up in black & white to watch Sunderland play?

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There appears to be a rather bizarre trend developing this season - Newcastle fans keep turning up at Sunderland games, sitting in amongst opposition supporters. Why?

@RokerReport on Twitter

Before I’m accused of an obsession with our Tyneside neighbours may I just declare that I have never, ever been to a Newcastle game wearing a Sunderland shirt (except a home derby) - unlike the sad b**tards who were sat among the home support on Saturday.

On the Roker Report podcast with George Caulkin last month, Connor Bromley asked the Times newspaper’s northern football correspondent if he felt Newcastle fans would take being relegated to tier three of the football pyramid if it meant being rid of its much reviled owner, Mike Ashley.

Yes, there were guffaws-a-plenty at our plummet through the leagues, but to be finally rid of a toxic regime is something the great unwashed can only dream of.

And, whilst it seems daft to even suggest it because we’re playing third tier football whilst they’re taking on top-flight opposition every week, it almost feels like they’re a tad envious of the fact we’re feeling positive about our situation on and off the pitch.

Turning up to our games, stalking our new owner on social media - is there a simple explanation for the bizarre behaviour displayed by members of the Newcastle fanbase?

The simpering tweet shown above is typical.

Steward Donald’s response, though, was legendary.

Possibly playing to the gallery, he responded with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek:

The price we were sold at suddenly made Sunderland an attractive proposition to prospective buyers - Ellis Short wanted to be rid of the albatross hanging around his neck, and he also had the class to do the decent thing and to pass on the club without debt.

Conversely, Mike Ashley clearly doesn’t give two hoots about Newcastle, the club and its fans. He’s holding out for a ludicrous sum of money before he even considers selling them, and can afford to do so as he’s not only a wealthy man, but has the club living within its means.

In the meantime the current manager, Rafael Benitez, is less convincing than Alan Pardew - a man who was hounded out of his job despite perhaps suffering under similar circumstances to the current incumbent of the Newcastle United manager’s job.

Jack Ross’s embryonic side are still fourth in League One and, despite delivering some indifferent performances in recent weeks, are constantly improving and working hard.

Up the road and in the Premier League, Rafa’s charges have managed to garner a mere two points from their first seven games - which is relegation form in anyone’s book.

The way things are going, next season we could see the first Tyne-Wear derby to be held in the second tier since Kevin Keegan’s entertainers and “everyone’s second-favourite team” romped to the old Division One title back in 1993.

Indeed, it would appear that there’s just a smidgen of jealousy from those up the road comparing our two similar situations at the start of the summer - how bizarre, eh?

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images