My god... HOW STRESSFUL WAS SORTING WEMBLEY OUT?!
Booking trains... booking hotels... not being able to get through on the phone to travel agents... having to rock up at their office to speak to someone... sorting the money out... accidentally paying for one extra place that nobody needed... then sorting the tickets out... realising that you can’t buy thirteen tickets off your own account so having to draft in help... the bank knocking you back at checkout and losing the seats you’d selected on multiple occasions...
Honestly, I feel like I’ve aged ten years.
That’s up there with some of the most stressful shit I’ve had to deal with in a very long time.
Next time, Sunderland... just get automatic promotion, eh?
Once I’ve calmed down a bit I’ll probably start looking forward to the weekend - and what a weekend it could be.
I’m going with my dad, who missed out in 1973 and, now in his 60s, has seen Sunderland lose seven times at Wembley. Hopefully, for people like him, we’ll do the business this time.
We’re all about £400 lighter and that’s before we’ve even bought a drink at £6 a pop in the capital - but would you have it any other way? This is why we are football fans. These occasions are what we talk about, win or lose, many years later.
The party the night before in Trafalgar Square is sure to be epic again, and providing we’re not all too hungover the next day, the pints at The Green Man and then the game itself could be even better again - we could create memories that will last a lifetime.
It’s a weekend away from home with your family and mates, hopefully having a great time, watching tens of thousands of your fellow Mackems take over the capital city.
It’s a reminder that, even in League One, that football can be fun.
It’s a chance to catch up with old friends, to make new ones, and to witness greatness.
Above all else, it’s a chance to sing loud and proud, and remind yourself how much you love this football club, your identity, and what we represent.
My fellow Roker Reporter Martin is flying in from Australia, and whilst I won’t give his missus a heart attack by revealing how much he paid for his flights, it wasn’t cheap - the loyalty of our supporters knows no bounds.
Even for a third-tier game of football against Wycombe, we’re all scared of missing out. We’re afraid of not being there when Sunderland finally win at Wembley again in front of supporters for the first time in almost fifty years.
It’s going to be a long eight days before I make my trip south with twelve of my pals, but it will all be worth it once I’m on that train at 08:00hrs on Friday cracking open my first can.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I keep closing my eyes and wondering what it will be like if we actually win. The atmosphere in the ground after the game, the walk back down Wembley way... and then the train back north to join up with the celebrations in Sunderland.
Hope is all we have. And it’s the hope that I can’t stand, but good god, one day it will be our day. One day we’ll leave that place as the victors, knowing we gave everything we had to ensure we won. To know that the team gave it their all and that next season we’ll finally play our football back in the Championship, hopefully never to play our football in the third tier again.
Bring it on.