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Meet The Branches: Behind enemy lines... Sunderland fans flying the red flag in North Tyneside!

There’s a new Sunderland Supporters branch and they hail from the North of Tyneside, flying the red and white flag across Newcastle and Gateshead - and, to find out more about them, we sat down with Dave and Steve who head the group up.

Newcastle/Gateshead Black Cats

RR: What’s it like being a mackem on enemy soil?

NGBC: Great for me as I’m a mackem, but we also have plenty of Geordies who follow the lads - don’t let John Hall and his Geordie nation fool you into thinking Mackems follow us and Geordies follow that lot. I often tell people doing what we do is a bit like what mother Teresa did, preaching the gospel behind enemy lines.

RR: Have you enjoyed the last six years or so, being able to give it the biggun whenever we’ve played that lot?

NGBC: Superb, smashing them and getting to Wembley in 2014 was unreal, you couldn’t write a better script, playing them so soon after beating Manchester United. If we had lost we were still going to give them both barrels, so to whack them three nowt again was funny as....

RR: What was it like when we got relegated, having to deal with mags?

NGBC: We knew we were cack and probably going to struggle in the Championship as we were a basket case... but we didn’t expect a double relegation and yeah, they tried to rub our noses in it, but they never sent us down, they aren’t one win from Wembley and they aren’t one of us, so life is great.

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

RR: You’re a fairly new branch - how did the branch form and come to life?

NGBC: Initially there was pure laziness on my part. I was getting sick of having to get myself to the Stadium of Light for an away coach and thought “wouldn’t it be nice to jump on in the Newcastle area?”, so basically this is where the idea was formed and after a bit of discussion via glorious social media, the rest is history.

RR: How many members do you have?

NGBC: Good question, we currently have 20 paid up members to the branch (£10 a year) but we have well over 1000 followers through Facebook and Twitter combined.

It would be great to get more members signing up fully which is vital to the branch moving forwards.

RR: How regularly do you get to games?

NGBC: I personally have a season card for the new Roker end and I have been to five away matches so far this season, not as many as I would like, but as the branch grows it will hopefully be the majority in the future.

RR: Do you have any funny stories/memories from over the years/going to games together/away days?

NGBC: Personally yes, quite a few over the years, but as a branch we hope to build these memories as we get bigger and get that feeling of togetherness.

We did go down to Scunthorpe a few weeks ago and our bus drivers expletive reaction to the Scunthorpe steward who charged us £10 to park up was a joy to behold and was certainly a surprise given his previous calm and quiet demeanor!

RR: It’s never been more exciting to be a Sunderland supporter. With the club becoming far more inclusive, how important is it to you to feel a part of what is going on?

NGBC: Very important, Sunderland very nearly sleep walked into total oblivion which is absolutely terrible given the size and history of the club.

The new owners to me have been a breath of fresh air, and have made the club accessible and engaging more so than ever before. Long may it continue.

RR: What are your hopes for your branch in the future?

NGBC: To be as big as I know it can be. There must be hundreds of Sunderland fans living between Gateshead and Whitley bay... so to get these people together and be part of something for hopefully the good times ahead for the club would make me very proud.

RR: How can fans in your area get involved with your branch?

NGBC: We have lots of ways people can get involved...

Via Facebook - Newcastle/Gateshead Black Cats.

Via Twitter - @SAFCNE1.

Via email - behindenemylinesftm@gmail.com.

And we even have a website - newcastlegatesheadblackcats.com!