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Ian Bendelow says…
For anyone who’s scared, hesitant or would simply rather never play Newcastle again, I say this: have confidence.
Know that whatever happens, they’ll be bang up against it. They’ll know they’re in a proper match and if they think they’re going to turn up and turn us over, that would be fatal.
This is a match they’ll know they’re in from the off.
Second minute in, there’s a Trai Hume reducer and Kieran Trippier will have to scrape himself off the turf sixteen times before the half hour mark. Meanwhile, Dan Ballard will own Alexander Isak and finally come of age as a proper, top flight footballer.
Luke O’Nien was born for this moment and Dan Neil will probably have a T-shirt underneath his Sunderland jersey with ‘FTM’ emblazoned on it.
The stadium will be rocking, the noise will be intense, and I’ll guarantee many of us will never have heard the likes of it before.
This is for seven years of frustration, anger, resentment and being trodden down by not just our nearest rivals but anyone who’s viewed us as a joke club.
To achieve a victory won’t be easy, but nothing is ever achieved in this game without nerves, angst and often unbearable pressure. But it can be done and the moral victory is already ours.
This is a no-lose situation.
Anthony Gair says…
Whilst I’ve been baying for the Mags in the cup ever since we were relegated, it’s come to fruition when we aren’t on the best run of form, so I’m absolutely bricking it.
Normally, from the final whistle of the game before derby day, I can’t talk to people and I’m sh*****g myself, and what worries me is our form.
We haven’t been very good of late, which isn’t the best news, but ninety minutes of football is just that and it can go either way.
Personally, I don’t hold out much hope, but we always know it’s the hope we can’t stand. If we keep the faith and get a bit of luck, you never know, and we could topple them.
Andrew Smithson says…
I might be in the minority, but I hate games against the Mags and would be happy if we never had to play them again, and even more so, given what type of entity that club has become.
From a football perspective, it’s probably a free hit, but it’s the other aspects that I really dislike.
Derby games bring out the worst in people - myself included, I admit- and I can’t be bothered with the chew they bring, although it’ll be a bit of a novelty having Newcastle fans at the Stadium of Light for a match that actually involves them.
It feels as if since their takeover, the anti-Sunderland stuff has gone up to a new level.
A lot of the patter is insufferable at the best of times but it now has an added edge, almost as if some people are trying to gloss over other issues or feel better about themselves.
I try to ignore it all as I find it grotesque that such a disturbing regime has been welcomed in, and in the manner that it was, so the sooner this game is over with, the better.
I’ll be there supporting my club as always, but I have no time for the opposition and these days it isn’t just because of the local rivalry.
Dan Harrison says…
Despite it looking like the worst outcome for many people, I think a home draw could actually do us the world of good, especially with some of our young stars.
I’m sure when they first signed for the club, they were told that derby days generate a special kind of atmosphere and now they’ve been given the perfect opportunity to experience it first hand.
Whether the result goes well or badly, it’ll give the players a chance to experience the best of North East football and it might also leave a lasting impression on a few of the young lads that’ll keep them around for longer than we first anticipated.
As for the game itself, it’s a win-win as there’s no real expectation on us to perform.
It’s an opportunity to demonstrate what the club means to the fans and can hopefully be a day that’ll shape the careers of some of the young lads at Sunderland.
Kingsley Reavley says…
As the text messages started rolling in at 13:02, I assumed it was a prank but by the fifteenth message I thought I’d better check for myself. Lo and behold, it’s very much a reality!
There might be a sense of dread that we’ll be coming up against a more formidable Newcastle side than in recent years but the derby has been a big miss from our recent fixture list, so it’s a welcome return and it gives us something to look forward to.
It won’t be the first time we’ve gone in as underdogs and won’t be the last, but it’s still eleven versus eleven in what’ll hopefully be a cauldron atmosphere. We need to embrace the occasion and take it to them.
Being cautiously optimistic, Newcastle have already had a long hard season with multiple injuries and may have more pressing concerns like European football.
Either way, it’s a fantastic opportunity for our young players to get the experience of a derby and hopefully make themselves heroes.
Kyle Garrett says…
For the occasion, I don’t think you could’ve picked a better fixture.
The passion, the nerves, the excitement… derby day is what football fans live for and for that reason, I think the draw is excellent.
However, from a football standpoint, I think the draw is a disaster.
We were never going to win the FA Cup and you can argue about whether a cup run would be beneficial or not, but playing the Mags when they’re as good as they have been this season and we’ve been as poor as we have could get embarrassing.
Not only that, but they’ll no doubt go full strength to avoid the possibility of an ‘upset’.
It’s an intriguing draw, but one filled with a hell of a lot of caution.