Much more than bragging rights at stake
Newcastle United could experience one of two feelings on Sunday night, either business as usual after avoiding defeat at St James' Park against Sunderland - or the first defeat in this fixture for 12 years.
Down the years, the impact of the derby has been there for all to see when it comes to the two bitter rivals going head to head.
In recent clashes it could even be argued that Sunderland's whole business plan revolves around winning the derby.
A repetitive cycle seems to have unfolded in recent years.
It goes a little bit like this, Sunderland lose a derby, fans are angry at the manager.
It has a knock-on effect in the next sequence of games, fans get angrier at the manager.
Manager leaves club.
Get a new manager, win a few games.
Fans get excited about prospect of winning a derby, Sunderland lose derby.
The cycle then repeats itself.
At this stage we are about to see if Martin O'Neill can break that cycle.
And then we'll be talking about whether the bragging rights will end up on Wearside or Tyneside for the next few months.
(Below is a video posted on to Twitter by @iwantcurlyhair2 who feels SAFC fans believe NUFC are the "centre of their world", the video is not of Sunderland winning promotion or winning a cup, merely celebrating Newcastle going down)
Bragging rights is a term that both Newcastle United and Sunderland fans both cringe at but come Sunday night neither set of supporters will want to be without them, yes it's that old phrase: "The bragging rights."
In the build-up to the Tyne-Wear derby we're already accustomed to this phrase and talk of "form books going out of windows" while the old adage of who will be the "North-East top dogs" could be decided much earlier than expected this weekend.
Recently, I interviewed former Premier League referee Graham Poll and given the old top flight whistler is classed as something of an outsider, it was refreshing to see that the ex-World Cup ref actually seemed to have a greater understanding of the North-East derby than most that live out of the region.
Poll felt the Tyne-Wear experience wasn't like any of the other derby around the country due to the "intensity" of the powder-keg fixture.
True enough, Rangers v Celtic is right up there, but the fact they play each other every five minutes takes away that intensity in my opinion.
Liverpool v Everton is big, but could you really see Newcastle and Sunderland fans sitting side by side at the fixtures as has been the case down the years on Merseyside?
London derbies are nothing like what we have up here, with Alan Pardew himself admitting they come around as often as red London buses.
Pardew is another who gets it, which hasn't always been the case on Tyneside.
Remember Ruud Gullit claiming it wasn't as big because it was the "derby of the region" and not like the Milan derby.
Then there was Joe Kinnear who shrugged off Newcastle's ONLY ever loss at the Stadium of Light as "just another game".
Pardew knows that defeat is unthinkable in these parts and won't want to be the first man to lose a home derby for 12 years.
The fixture is all about retaining pride between now and next season for both sets of fans.
Lose on Sunday and either set of supporters will have to wear the defeat between now and at least next August.
Yet this fixture means more than local pride this season.
Newcastle are still gunning for Europe, and while Martin O'Neill has done a magnificent job on Wearside he is still on course to be the first manager in three seasons to finish below the Magpies.
Yes, while Newcastle have bossed previous derbies Sunderland fans have had to clutch to finishing ahead of the Magpies.
In 2008/09, it wasn't easy to be better than a Toon team that had gone through four managers and been up for sale twice before an inevitable relegation.
The next higher finish came with Newcastle in the division below, while last season Sunderland climbed above Newcastle in the last minute of the campaign after United threw away a 3-0 lead over West Brom.
But does this really mean that Sunderland are any bigger in the eyes of their fans?
Since the Premier League kicked off Newcastle have collected 995 points while Sunderland sit on 428 after a host of no-show seasons in the top flight and a fair few relegations.
Would Sunderland fans swap all that for winning a derby 5-1? Or even 1-0?
One Tweet I spotted this week was that a 40-year-old Sunderland fan has seen their side relegated more than they have won in a derby.
But 12 years without a win on Tyneside must be painful.
In the world of Twitter that we live in, it's easy for frustration to be projected back and forwards between rival fans.
And I've had the argument from Sunderland fans that Newcastle aren't a big club.
I'm not sure I hear Newcastle fans running around saying that too often anyway to be honest, after all United haven't won anything since 1969 and the attendances are still smashing all of those around them.
Newcastle's European record also dwarfs that of Sunderland with over 100 European games in the bag for United and three Champions League qualifications.
But the only thing that will matter on Sunday night is who takes the points.
Nothing will be bigger than that after another high noon showdown.