Who Are These Jobbers?
Urgh, another game against Middlesbrough. Another trip to the Riverside Stadium for a game we would prefer didn’t exist. Another excuse for the people of Middlesbrough to get VERY excited and another opportunity for Sunderland to roll over and lose to our Teesside (or north Yorkshire) neighbours.
The decision to even propose this game as a final pre-season test in the first place is ridiculous enough but to then switch it to the Riverside Stadium on a Friday night is even more baffling. Although, I guess it does finally put to bed the idea that this fixture can even be loosely described as a derby - soz, Red Faction.
Our Smoggie neighbours continue to tread that lovely line of spending bucket loads in the Championship to desperately get promoted before getting subsequently bodied in the play-offs. Remember that this is a club that let Garry Monk blow £6.5 million on Ashley Fletcher and then loaned him to little old Sunderland four months later.
Club shop enthusiast Tony Pulis has bolstered his squad this year by purchasing twice relegated Paddy McNair (25 games in two years, baby!) from lowly Sunderland to fire them back to the promised land. They can now seriously look forward to losing to *throws dart at the Championship table* Nottingham Forest in the most drab play-off semi-final in living history.
How Do I Get There?
Is anyone even the least bit excited by this fixture? Every time I think about it I get the overwhelming feeling of “can you even be arsed?” but, I guess, there will be some of you out there that openly want to ruin their Friday evening.
Anyway, take the A19 to Middlesbrough, leave for the A66 and then follow the signs for the Riverside Stadium - it’s really not rocket science. There’s a load of car parking spaces available around the ground. If you get lost (if that’s humanly possible) just put TS3 6RS into your sat nav.
Middlesbrough railway station is about a 15-minute walk from the stadium for all you big dawgs getting the train.
A Love Supreme buses leave the Stadium of Light at 4.30pm with fares priced at £15. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
I had the enviable joy of having a layover in Middlesbrough en route back from Hartlepool a few weeks ago. Having toured northern England in search of a delicious alcoholic beverage, I can only be in awe of the pricing structure in operation at the Teesside watering holes. For those on a tight budget, you are going to love Middlesbrough (and Bolton, for that matter).
I’m really not sure if the police are going to operate the derby match policy of kettle-all-fans-in-one-terrible-pub but if that’s the case you’ll end up in Dr Browns on Corporation Road. If not, then Middlesbrough really is your oyster for the evening - you lucky buggers.
There’s The Isaac Wilson on Wilson Street for all your Wetherspoons needs, a Yates (please note that Yates is the more upmarket version, compared to Yates’ - note the apostrophe - which are actual hellscapes) on Newport Road.
TripAdvisor lists O’Connells on Bedford Street as being the second best pub in Middlesbrough (the first being one in Stockton) while The Star on Southfield Road has a massive beer garden which should be nice in this neverending beautiful weather we’re having.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Don’t be daft, just go home.
What’s The Ground Like?
It’s the same as Derby County’s Pride Park, I’ve mentioned this before.
Do you really care?