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What is the worst away day you’ve had as a Sunderland fan?

We’ve experienced some memorable wins on the road over the years, as well as some heavy defeats. We asked our writers to choose their worst experience when following the Lads away from home

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Dan Harrison says…

For me, this one wasn’t necessarily about the scoreline but the manner of the defeat, when as a bright eyed and enthusiastic teenager, I travelled to the KC Stadium to watch Sunderland play Hull City in the 2013/2014 season.

Planted behind the goal, we managed to watch a horrendous Carlos Cuéllar own goal followed by two red cards in as many minutes for Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena.

A nightmare day all round and although it was effectively over before the half time whistle had even blown, it did only finish 1-0…somehow!

Hull City v Sunderland - Barclays Premier League Photo by Tim Keeton/Getty Images

Jon Guy says…

I think it has to be the trip to West Ham in October 1992.

I was there earlier that year when we won a pulsating FA Cup replay 3-2, so despite a less than stellar start to the season, the hope was that we’d put up a fight.

Billy Bonds had brought the Hammers down to the new Division One the previous season, and we simply weren’t at the races.

They had the game won at half time and we simply looked uninterested in the second half as West Ham toyed with us.

The sixth in a 6-0 thumping was almost with the last kick of the game, but the performance highlighted just how things had soured after the highs of the FA Cup run the previous season. It could’ve been eight or nine, because we were shocking.

What made it worse was that it was live on the television, and I just remember thinking how long a season it was going to be as I left the ground with the cheers and jeers of the home fans ringing in our ears.

Jonny Hawley says…

Honourable mentions go to the 2014 League Cup final and the 2019 League One playoff final. It’s always devastating to come so close to tasting Wembley victory, particularly since 2014 would’ve been a first major trophy of my lifetime.

However, those games with some pride to take from being there, and some achievement behind getting to the national stadium, so my choice has none of that.

Sheffield Wednesday 3 Sunderland 0 in 2021 was the most drab, uninspiring, and frankly embarrassing performance I’ve seen us trot out, and I was at Goodison Park for the 6-2!

What possible comfort can you take from seeing your team score none and concede three in a division you never want to play in and where you’ve languished for three years?

I don’t even remember much about the actual game, because I tried to forget it as it was being played, but we offered nothing at all.

There have been worse scorelines against better sides, but that result basically summed up everything that had gone wrong at our club during the best part of ten years. I’d never been more disappointed to be a Sunderland fan, which is saying something!

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Derek Carter says…

Over the years I’ve had more than enough long miserable journeys home, but the worst away day I’ve ever had happened on our own doorstep. It was New Year’s Day 1985 and the fixture compilers had us making the short trip to Sid James Park to face a Magpie side who hadn’t exactly been setting the top division alight. We went there full of confidence but it was one of those games where nothing went right for us including the obligatory shocking performance by the referee.

The weather was poor, we were crammed in like sardines and a certain Peter Beardsley must have rubbed a Genie’s lamp but instead of the usual wishes he was granted three goals. Every time he shot he seemed to score.

The referee that day was a bloke by the name of David Scott who was supposed to be from Burnley but the way he performed it seemed more likely that it was Benwell.

Maybe he’d been sampling the Brown Ale and not soaking it up with enough Stottie Cake the night before, but he certainly did us no favours in fact I’m surprised he didn’t do a lap of honour when Beardsley completed his hat-trick and he probably gave more cards to our players than he posted off at Christmas.

We ended up with five yellow cards and two reds, with Gary Bennett and Howard Gayle winning the early bath sweepstake, and the only consolation was the short journey home to drown our sorrows.

Lars Knutsen says…

Losing 0-8 at Graham Taylor’s Watford just over 40 years ago.

This was late September 1982, and I was working my first permanent job in Hertfordshire.

We had a decent side on paper, Chris Turner in goal, and a defence that boasted Ian Atkins paired with Barry Venison. The Sunderland strikers were Gary Rowell and Ally McCoist.

We were 0-4 down at halftime, and the question in my mind was “what was Alan Durban going to say to the players?” He was usually defensively aware…but we came out and conceded another 4. I felt shocked and humiliated, as I had never witnessed anything like this in my life.

I have to say that Watford were brilliant, they had Wilf Rostron, John Barnes and a red-hot Luther Blissett, who scored 4 goals. It could have been worse, as the Hornets hit the woodwork 3 times.

Watford finished 2nd in the First Division that year, but curiously we won 4-1 in the next game and a few months later went 6 games without conceding a goal. Sunderland ended the season on 50 points.

It was a day of frustration but also football education, which I will never forget.


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