On this day, twelve years ago, it had felt a very long time since Peter Reid's side had last won a Wear-Tyne derby back in 2000. If that feeling wasn't bad enough, it had felt an age since Sunderland’s last home victory over Newcastle in 1980, and a lot of fans wouldn't have memories of the last top flight home victory in 1967.
It was about time these stats changed, and optimism was high after another summer of strong recruitment under Roy Keane.
The ex-Manchester United legend had stepped it up in the transfer market during the summer, adding the likes of Djibril Cisse, Teemu Tainio, Steed Malbranque, Pascal Chimbonda, El Hadji Diouf and Anton Ferdinand to the Sunderland ranks, and hopes were high for the season ahead.
The first eight games hadn't quite gone to plan, as Sunderland sat 12th in the Premier League heading into another huge derby at the Stadium of Light after two wins and three defeats.
On Tyneside however, the season started by lurching from one crisis to another.
A month prior to the fixture, Kevin Keegan's second spell at the club had come to an abrupt end over who he thought was in charge of the football side of the club and on the 26th September, Joe Kinnear was appointed as interim manager.
After less than a week in charge, the ex-Wimbledon manager went into a bizarre attack on the press pack that followed the Tyneside club that included swearing over fifty times in five minutes, and stating he wouldn't converse with any member of the national media whilst he was in charge at Newcastle United.
Roy Keane's men started brightly in the fierce opening exchanges in a battering wind, and with twenty minutes on the clock took a fortuitous lead.
It came as a result of a trademark mazy run from Steed Malbranque that ended in a fairly hopelessly mis-hit shot that initially was heading well wide of the post, only for Djibril Cisse to stick out an outstretched boot to divert it into the net.
There was belief in the stands and the chaotic scenes reflected exactly that, but in typical Sunderland fashion it would only last ten minutes.
A Geremi free-kick from the left caused a goalmouth scramble that led to Shola Ameobi eventually putting the ball over the line. Back to square one.
In the second half, both sides were guilty of spurning good opportunities to take the lead, but a buzz began to generate from the crowd as soon as the referee's whistle blew for a foul on Diouf right on the edge of the area.
The previous week Kieran Richardson had scored a free-kick at Fulham, only to see it harshly ruled out and the ex-Manchester United player immediately picked up the ball.
The electric buzz around the ground built as Richardson placed the ball on the ground and the Newcastle wall was performing a line dance with the referee orchestrating.
The only nagging doubt was: if it was too close, could Richardson get it up and down quick enough over the wall?
We needn't have worried - with fifteen minutes left on the clock, Kieran Richardson hit one of the finest free-kicks that has ever graced the Stadium of Light.
If you blinked then you missed it. It was past Shay Given before he got off the ground, and it almost took the net off the frame of the goal as it smashed high into the back of the goal. If the scenes for Cisse's opener were wild, then I'm not sure how to describe the scenes following Richardson's strike - one of the great moments of the twenty-three-year history of the Stadium of Light. Epic.
Other than Joey Barton joining the action as a substitute after getting bored with being target practice for the home crowd on the sidelines, the game ended 2-1 without much incident.
What a goal. What a moment. What a game.
I'll leave the final word to Roy Keane:
It’s been a long time to wait but I think we deserved it.
We had the best opportunties. They had one good chance in the second half but I thought we edged it.
Mentally it was a big test today but we came through it with flying colours. We had to focus on the game not past records.
Sunderland: Fulop, Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque (Tainio), Whitehead, Yorke (Jones), Richardson, Cisse, Diouf (Reid) Subs Not Used: Colgan, Bardsley, Chopra, Leadbitter. Goals: Cisse 20, Richardson 75
Newcastle: Given, Beye, Taylor, Coloccini, Bassong (Enrique), Geremi (Gutierrez), Guthrie, Butt (Barton), Duff, Ameobi, Martins Subs Not Used: Harper, Cacapa, N’Zogbia, Xisco. Goal: Ameobi 30