N is for Nineteen Seventy Three
A year that can only be associated with SAFC, and is undoubtedly the most iconic year in our history.
Ian Porterfield’s goal, Jimmy Montgomery’s unbelievable double save and Bob Stokoe’s run onto the pitch - the heartbeat of Sunderland.
O is for One hundred and five points
Our biggest ever points tally back was hit in 1998-99 as we stormed towards the Nationwide Division One title in style, as the likes of Niall Quinn, Kevin Phillips, Michael Bridges and Allan Johnston tore the entire division a new hole.
It was an unforgettable season in which Wearside roared back from the jaws of a heartbreaking play-off final defeat. Hopefully we can produce something similar in the very near future.
P is for Premier Passions
With Sunderland approaching their debut season in the Premier League, BBC documented the highs, the lows and the “f**king minging” moments of our final season at Roker Park.
It was phenomenal viewing and gave Lads fans, and football fans in general, an unbelievable look into the day to day running of a club trying, and ultimately failing, in their battle against relegation.
Premier Passions was a fantastic series that cemented our love for not only a group of talented, hard working players but, most importantly, the managerial duo of Peter Reid and Bobby Saxton.
Q is for Quinn
Goalscorer. Chairman. Manager. Legend - summing up the love that Sunderland and Niall Quinn have for each other is impossible to do in just a solitary paragraph.
R is for Roker Park
It’s been twenty years since we left Roker Park.
The popular and much loved old ground in entrenched in so many memorable, much-loved and treasured memories that whilst it may no longer be around it will never be too far away from the hearts and minds of many, many Lads fans.
S is for Stokoe
Many fans still give the shoe of Bob’s statue a rub before entering the Stadium of Light in the hope the great man is looking down on us and giving us that extra push towards three points.
Stokoe will always remain as a much-loved figure in the history of Sunderland AFC that is unlikely to ever be matched by any other manager.
T is for Tears
There’s something about this club that will moves you to tears. It’s a club that from time to time gets under your skin - just ask Jermain Defoe, Younes Kaboul, Luke O’Nien or Dick Advocaat.
The tears that have flowed from experienced professionals that have only been in the door five minutes just shows you exactly what Sunderland can do to you if you allow yourself to get caught up in the drama that comes with being associated with this basket case of a football club.
U is for Universal fan-base
“No matter where you go in the world, they’ll always be a Sunderland fan” - Kevin Phillips.
Just as vocal in their love of Sunderland AFC and the city, we have hordes of exiles who have long since moved from Wearside yet still harbour a strong passion for their football club.
With supporter branches in Australia, Italy, Germany and beyond, the club has over seventy officially recognised groups and, despite being in the English third tier, the fanbase just continues to grow.
V is for Vaux
Hummel and Vaux made for so many iconic late 80s and early 90s kits that many fans still pay hundreds of pounds to nab them on auction sites such as eBay and Depop.
Why? Because Vaux was Sunderland - brewed on Wearside and drank on Wearside.
Many years since the original Vaux brewery closed it still remains part of the Sunderland identity and culture, with the brand revised in the form of a micro-brewery in the city this year.
W is for Wembley
Sunderland and Wembley have a tumultuous relationship.
The 1973 FA Cup Final win was arguably the greatest moment in our club’s history and the scenes of Bobby Kerr lifting the famous trophy in front of a sea of red and white is a moment the entire fanbase have yearned for for decades.
However in our seven visits since all we’ve felt is heartbreaking defeat.
Wembley may not be our best friend after this last season, but nothing quite sums up seeing your club play in a big game at the home of English football.
X is for XG Stats
Fresh in my memory are the early season predictions of EFL Podcaster George Elek and the confidence of our supporters in our ability to dismiss the purpose and meaning of XG.
Sadly, Sunderland’s poor statistics came back to bite us on our backside.
Y is for Youth
All Sunderland supporters feel immense pride in seeing lads from Wearside strut their stuff on the big stage. Seeing Jordan Pickford as England’s number one and watching Jordan Henderson captain Liverpool to a Champions League Final win is a fantastic advert for our club’s academy, something we can always proudly display as a reason why promising young players should want to come to Sunderland and be a professional footballer.
The Sunderland captain is an academy product, and he’s one of eight players in the current squad who came through the club’s youth system. Going forward we have to hope that as Sunderland rise back through the leagues, so do many of those players as they grow with the club and eventually end up representing us in the top division.
Z is for Zenden’s Dance
Beating Chelsea 3-0 in their own back yard on a Super Sunday back in 2010 may have been good, but Bolo Zenden’s dancing is perhaps our fondest memory of that fruitful Sunday afternoon at Stamford Bridge.