Sunderland are relegated. Sunderland are relegated because Sunderland are awful. Sunderland are relegated because Sunderland are awful and thus Sunderland will play their football in League One next season.
These are the well-established facts of the case known by fans of every team up and down the country. Naturally, in the age of social media and it’s diverse nature of internet humour, you have to expect all the usual suspects to have a dig.
It’s only natural to anticipate an ironically professional slideshow or fake interview excerpt from Paddy Power, or something more simplified and straightforward from LADbible. Then there’s all the Man United fans to watch out for, all of whom are apparently still deeply stung by the Poznan incident; a few local journos might join the fray, spinning a couple stories to make us look bad; James McClean might even pipe up again for all we know. The list is endless, really.
But obviously I’m not addressing the elephant in the room here, and hitherto it’s been stampeding all over the place, tusks shattering fine china and puncturing furniture as it demands my attention. Yeah, I’m talking about the mags.
Don’t think for a moment that I’m about to take the moral high ground over them just because they’re enjoying our misery, though. Exchanging digs at each other’s clubs is the very essence of football rivalry - any fan of any team is entitled to that.
That being said, I want to address something that isn’t dissimilar from all of this. It’s just that, I can’t help but think that there’s something very... I dunno... desperate... about their reaction?
Sunderland’s fate was confirmed five days ago now, but the geordie rejoice has been aggressively repetitive. A virtual open top bus has been rolling through Tyneside’s social stratosphere every hour of every day. Something about the cause and effect which links the relegation to the response seems strangely disproportionate.
Essentially, it’s interesting that the Newcastle fans are still laughing it up. They’re gloating, unrelentingly so, on every social media platform existent, with inane jokes and predictable punchlines that make you genuinely wonder if there’s such a thing as a banter famine - and if the aforementioned deprivation is currently taking place over on Tyneside.
But I digress. What I really want to focus on is the fact that they’re still giving it the biggun’ with their gloating and hollering over our situation. Why are they so incessant? How come they’re still going at it, as if it’s brand new, when such exchanges between rival teams normally start to die down around this time?
I present to you, the reader, a theory - a theory that doubles up as a window into the fundamental operations of geordie psychology.
Years of derby losses haven’t been kind on the temperament of the average mag - sheer loss after loss has made the Newcastle fanbase desperate to get even with Sunderland. With each consecutive defeat, the geordie was forced to prolong their bragging embargo and thus their deep-seated need to insult their rival football club floundered and intensified.
In some more extreme cases, where an individual’s resolve was unable to endure this lack of derby success, they turned to other comparative aspects of the cities in order to find some form of retaliation. (See: “Yas divvent even have an airport!”).
However, with Sunderland’s recent relegation to League One, Newcastle fans finally have that long-coveted outlet. All the fume they’ve been forced to suppress over many years is all coming out at once - and that, my friends, is why they’re still going on about us now.
In the pit of their stomachs has resided a strong desire to compensate. They needed this opportunity to tell us how shite we’re doing. They simply longed for their time in the sun and now they’re triumphantly throwing around their favourite acronyms to call us sad b*stards. Oh, how they pined for the very moment when they could once again validate those ‘big club’ credentials by comparing their situation to ours.
Newcastle United’s greatest modern successes are Sunderland’s shortcomings. It’s a truth self-evident that they depend on us for a feeling of satisfaction in their own club.
Incidentally, I don’t hate them for it. Nor do I harbor any other relatively negative sentiment. I do, however, feel a sting of pity - fleeting though it may be - mingled in amongst amusement. I always notice it whenever I watch that video of the middle-aged couple trying to recreate the infamous Accrington Stanley advert, while yet another Newcastle comment section marvels with incredulity at that inventively seamless switch of ‘Accrington Stanley’ and ‘Sunderland AFC’.
Let them laugh, my fellow mackems, and don’t waste your time intervening. They needed something like this to happen more than you might believe.
Still gets me every time, bless them.