Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Newcastle United vs Sunderland

202_head2head.jpg

Go to any football ground in the country and the chances are you’ll find a bunch of people who hate the team next door.

That’s inherent in the sport, and certainly no different when it comes to the rivalry between Newcastle United and Sunderland, two clubs that come from neighbouring cities with a bitter relationship that stretches back to the English Civil War.

While animosity may be rife between supporters, it’s largely good-natured. Well, it is between me and my England team-mate Paul Collingwood — we’ve always had a bit of banter when on cricket tours together. Just after Colly’s new baby arrived, I got my wife to send his wife a little Newcastle bib with ‘Toon’s Best Dribbler’ written on it. He knew nothing about it until his missus texted a picture to him. He was genuinely p*ssed off about it, because his wife and in-laws are all Newcastle fans too.

A bonus of being a Newcastle fan is that we tend to do better in the derbies. During the usual pantomime stuff that goes on at St James’ Park, a good performance against Sunderland is the one thing you can rely on. And the 5-1 drubbing we gave our rivals last year was one of the best.

As expected, it was feisty. One tackle in particular, by Lee Cattermole on Jonas Gutierrez, should have warranted a straight red card. If there’s ever been a case of someone trying to take another player’s leg off at the hip then that was it. Conversely, we actually played some nice football, typified by a great Kevin Nolan hat-trick.

The only downside to his three goals was the accompanying celebratory chicken dance [pictured]. Irish bowler Trent Johnston does the same thing when he gets a wicket, and I can’t stand that celebration. I was a big fan of Nolan and the steel he used to add to our midfield but, honestly, snipers should have taken him out as he was performing that dance.

Titus Bramble — a howler-prone defender who used to play for Newcastle, and someone I’d always stick up for because his gaffes only came in televised games — was playing for Sunderland that day. And being a TV fixture, he was inevitably sent off.

The goal that sticks out for me, however, is Shola Ameobi’s, where he jumped and volleyed it in. He can get a lot of stick at times, but he always comes alive in the derbies.

Lee Clark, who is now manager of Huddersfield, is one of the few men who has left United to cross the divide and remained a fan favourite. During his playing days on Wearside, he was pictured before 1999’s FA Cup final cheering Newcastle (who were playing Manchester United) while wearing a T-shirt that had ‘Sad Mackem Bastards’ emblazoned on it — in reference to the Sunderland team he played for at the time. This instantly reinstated him as a hero on Tyneside.

The Breaks Are Off: My Autobiography is out now, priced £20 (Hodder & Stoughton)

Related

195_head2head_195.jpg

West Ham United vs Liverpool

hero_keegan.jpg

Liverpool V Newcastle

matt-king.jpg

Matt King on Tottenham v Arsenal

Comments

More

The art of getting hurt: the weird world of the journeyman boxer

Matt Blake charts the path of a fighter paid to be second best

08 Dec 2016

Boxing doesn’t need Mayweather, but MMA needs McGregor

Who doesn't love a shit-talking, hard-punching antihero?

by Sam Diss
01 Dec 2016

Whatever happened to the Premier League's youngest goalscorers?

Following the EFL Cup heroics of Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn, we look at pubescent hotshots of yore

30 Nov 2016

Here's how the footballing world paid tribute to Chapecoense

by Joe Ellison
30 Nov 2016

The SPOTY Award nominees are boring. Try these instead

30 Nov 2016

Watch footballer pass ball to steward after mistaking him for player

Not entirely his fault...

by Dave Fawbert
22 Nov 2016

5 Vines that prove Jamie Redknapp is a master of football analysis

by Joe Ellison
31 Oct 2016

Ballon d’Or: Who’s a fraud and who's not

We weigh up the merits of the 30 footballers recently deemed the planet's best

26 Oct 2016

Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

Gary Lineker talks crisps, Rooney and "Sh*t on pitch"

Crisp don Gary Lineker reminisces about the time Diego Maradona nearly fell off a balcony

by Alex Christian
19 Oct 2016