Who Are These Jobbers?
I wonder how many times Clive Mendonca’s phone has rang this week. I wonder if anyone has managed to find Saša Ilić. I wonder if Lionel Perez still lies awake at night regretting running out for that corner. I wonder if Michael Gray is really enjoying reliving one of the most galling points in his career (spoiler, he’s not). I wonder if little Denver Hume has any idea what us old folk must be going on about.
Aye, it’s Charlton. It was always going to be, wasn’t it? It was the ending the Netflix producers must have been gagging for. It’s an opportunity to gain revenge for that bloody play-off in 1998 and another opportunity to lay the ghost of Wembley to rest - we haven’t won there since 1973, boys and girls.
After what has been an almighty slog of a season, 60 bloody games, it all comes down to a final day out at Wembley. It is the chance for this team of lovely boys to write their own piece of Sunderland history and so that when we talk about a Charlton-Sunderland play-off we’re not feeling mentally exhausted at the mere sight of that gold shirt.
We will all be able to erase the vision of Alan Curbishley running onto the pitch in his father-of-the-bride suit and maybe not think about sodding penalties anymore. It will have made all those days in Wycombe, Accrington and Luton and the nights in Morecambe, Fleetwood and Portsmouth seem worthwhile.
As the final Cans & Megabus of the campaign, I would like to thank my loyal readers especially the couple who accosted me in a Bristol pub to tell me they’d been to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition on my recommendation. I honestly didn’t think anyone read these.
Enjoy Wembley, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the amber nectar across the capital and let’s hope the Lads do the business so we can wallop some Championship jobbers next season.
What’s The Ground Like?
Hey, you know that play-off game between us two? Yeah, the one with Micky Gray! Well, that was also played at Wembley, but an older, piss-stained one. It had these towers, it was incredibly dilapidated and had terrible views. Your da goes on about it loads mumbling something about English football “losing its soul” when those towers came down or summat.
Anyway, the bright and shiny *NEW* Wembley with its big ol’arch and £5.50 pints of lager will be the scene of another gallant Sunderland tragedy. And guess what? We’re in exactly the same end as we were to see a gallant defeat to Portsmouth, you could even have picked your seat from that incredible day.
Wembley, for all its “ruining the modern game” etc etc, is a hugely impressive stadium. For one, it’s absolutely bloody massive and there’s not a bad view in the house.
How Do I Get There?
I bet you’re all bloody sick of doing this trip. To think, you wait five years for a Wembley appearance and two come along in the space of two months.
If you’re the poor soul that picked the black egg and taking on driving responsibilities to the capital, take the A1(M) to junction 35 and join the M1 heading south. This will ferry you all the way to North London where at Brent Cross take the North Circular Road and simply follow the signs for Wembley. If you get lost put HA9 0WS into your sat nav.
You can pre-book a parking spot through Wembley Park’s website. Find out more here.
For the real thinkers of the game who have taken the executive decision to commute to Wembley via public transport, there are a couple of options available.
If you want to feel that Wembley Way vibe again, then hop on the Jubilee or Metropolitan lines to Wembley Park Station. Alternatively, you can catch a train from Marylebone Station to Wembley Stadium station.
A Love Supreme buses leave the Stadium of Light between 5am and 7am on Sunday morning with return fares priced at £50. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
Once again, Sunderland have been allocated the same, rammed, dreadful alehouses as the Checkatrade Trophy final. If you enjoy being in a scrum for a pint inside a pub that is simply not capable of accommodating such a large swell of people at one time here are the places you would to be.
- The Torch (1-5 Bridge Road)
- Crock of Gold (23 Bridge Road)
- Sports Bar Double 6 (125 Wembley Park Drive)
- Blue Check Cafe (12-13 Empire Way
- Crystal Club (Silverspoon) (1 South Way)
- The Parish (120 Wembley Park Drive)
- The Wembley Tavern (121 Wembley Park Drive)
There will be two fanzones outside the stadium where you can enjoy an overpriced Budweiser. Sunderland’s designated area is at Arena Square, next to SSE Arena, and opens at 10am until 2pm.
Alternatively, there are plenty of excellent areas to enjoy a slurp within easy reach of Wembley such as Baker Street, Euston, Shoreditch and pretty much anywhere else on the Metropolitan Line.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Since talk of taking over Trafalgar Square is somewhat muted this time around, you might actually find something constructive to do with your day. Thankfully, you’re in a city that has so much to do you wonder there must be some kind of organisation or body that consistently invests in it rather than just shutting everything down.
If you really want to get that adrenaline pumping to watch the Bloody Lads on Sunday, get yourself down to The Garage on Saturday night and wrap your lugs around Republica. If you’re a massive goth you can get a ticket for Alice In Chains at the SSE Arena or if you’re not the Mariah Carey is on at the Royal Albert Hall.
There’s also loads of theatres, museums, art galleries and everything in between, honestly there’s loads of stuff in that London.