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Just another powder keg affair...

By Lee Ryder on Jan 13, 11 09:27 AM

I didn't agree with it, but somebody said to me the other day that Sunderland would have to better the 5-1 demolition at St James' Park back in October in order to fully claim the local bragging rights this week!

For me, a double over the Wearsiders wipes out memories of Stevenage and lays the foundations to really kick on for the rest of the season.

Sunderland have won just once in 30 years in this fixture and have a lot of catching up to on that score and there's no doubt Steve Bruce will be desperate for revenge on Sunday after his side were demoralised at St James' Park earlier in the season.

There's been talk of Europe this season for Sunderland but would many a Black Cat would trade that for victory on Sunday?

Hatred is par for the course on Sunday for Toon fans and while many football observers claim that the Tyne-Wear derby lacks the same type of intensity as the Old Firm in Scotland, the Merseyside debry or even the derby of a nation in Real Madrid v Barcelona - I'd argue it's just as intense - even if it has been overlooked for TV coverage in favour of Birmingham's El Derby!

The hatred cascading down from the stands in the Tyne-Wear affair tells you that - or at least it does from the eyes and ears of most Newcastle fans.

But that's how it's meant to be...

It's all about how the current Toon team adapt to that hatred on Sunday becauselast time out, they didn't do it very well under Joe Kinnear who I firmly believe underestimated the clash as "just another game".

Kinnear had obviously had his fill of regular London derbies, and thought this was the same.

Like Ruud Gullit he was wrong.

Thankfully judging by Alan Pardew's words this week, he does not need to be told.

In Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll (if he plays), Newcastle will need all three of their influential players to step firmly up to the plate on the day and keep a cool head - but the same could be said of any of the XI.

The reality is any one of them could emerge with a place in Geordie folklore, just like an O'Brien, a Shearer, a Solano, an N'Zogbia, a Chopra (that miss at St James' Park included!) or even a Luque!

Barton got dog's abuse last time out in this fixture - and that was for just warming up!

Newcastle have done well at times under immense pressure in the past but this will be totally different.

It's a different game all together for Newcastle compared to the 5-1 hiding on Tyneside.

They are out of their comfort zone.

But for me, there is more pressure on Sunderland in this one.

They are desperate to get revenge, they are deperate to put wrongs right and desperate and for all the hard work Steve Bruce has put in at Sunderland, you get the feeling it won't mean much if he's on the end of another defeat on Sunday.

For Newcastle, it's more about aspiration than desperation and that's not trying to be clever.

It won't come down to who wants it most, it will come down to which team trys to play the game and not the occasion.

And for the Newcastle and Sunderland players - not to mention both sets of fans - it can't come quick enough.

One thing is for sure, one city centre is going to be a lonely old place come Sunday night.

9 Comments

Jonny Boy said:

"Hatred is part of the course on Sunday for Toon fans".

Hatred? Really? That's a pretty strong word to be banying about so loosely. There's a lady in the US who is lying in hospital as a result of this kind of hatred-fuelling media rhetoric. Imagine something tragic happens at the weekend. How will these words read then? It's football, a game. Don't make out it's war.

I'm a Mag and I don't hate Sunderland or their fans. I take my lead from SBR. Newcastle first. If all the other NE teams are doing OK too, that's even better.

May the best team win. HWTL.

Fergie said:

It's 'par for the course', not 'part of the course.'

I think the game CAN come too quickly. I'm scared of how the game will go without Tiote playing. Whoever replaces him (PLEASE NOT SMITH) is going to need to play the game of their lives.

This could be a true turning point in our season. Win and we are virtually safe, free to push on for the top 10. Lose and the loss of confidence that brings could see us sucked back into the relegation scrap.

DormAnt said:

Don't worry - be happy.

toonagain said:

Lee please can i request you stop using the phrase "Bragging Rights!" i believe Souness was the first to start that one and i bloody hate it, as i did his managment spell. the only thing importnat this time around, as is all of the games this season is the 3 points. who we play isn't importnat at the moment but obviously there is a passion there, its a derby and we don't want to go home losers, we want to beat them but 1-0 will do me. as i remember since our last win over them they have kicked on and we have dropped off. if we beat them its great banter but the game afterwards is just as important, if we get beat then, then whats the point...?

spence said:

@ Johnny Boy- I agree with those sentiments 100% mate. Rivalry in sport is fine by me, but rabble rousing tribalism is a step too far tat can easily spill over to mindless violence; I'll leave that sort of thing to the 'grown up' important people at the top.

darren reay said:

the way i see it is banter is banter and winding someone up to provoke a reaction is foolish, thats why 9 times out of ten most of the later is done on the internet because they know they can get away with it.

If a mackem or geordie did this face to face it would probably end in a fight.

Lets just enjoy the game and the light banter which has made north east football what it is today, PASSIONATE!!!

Harry Knowles said:

Is it true Titus and his brother are going into business together?

Seriously, though, I get fed up with this banter bordering on lunacy. Let's just play the game and win it before we start bragging. Too often, the Chronic is platform for certain players saying what they're going to do, then they fail to do it... Which either says something about the paper's readers or, more likely, the way the paper views its readers.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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