Are Sunderland and Newcastle, as our illustrator Jake once put it, ‘like two cheeks of the same a***’?

Nick Donaldson is a smashing bloke in all respects save that he supports Newcastle United. A past winner of the Salut! Sunderland HAWAY award* (for the best interview of the season with an opposing fan; see footnote), Nick admits he cannot deny enjoying our plight at least a little but adds: ‘You have my sympathies’ ….

If a week is a long time in politics, two years is a lifetime in football.

Two years ago we suffered the barbs of Rafa Beneathus, banners on the Tyne Bridge, the whole gammut of “We sent the Mags down”, hot on the heels of the interminable 6-in-a-row [so interminable it was seven if we count the 6-0 win in a behind-closed-doors friendly – Ed] .

Two years man! Nowt. Even then it seemed Sunderland’s implosion was imminent. Like an Exocet missile, even if you could see it coming you could do f*** all about it. Bang. You had danced around the bottom five for most of the your Premier League tenure, only hanging on by the good fortune of having the Indian Sign over us, guaranteeing a skin-of-the-teeth survival… until we were gone.

Chuck in the reluctant, misguided, owner – broken by his fortune being wasted by successive incompetent, sometimes ridiculous, management and the tarnishing of what Sunderland prided itself on most of all by the abhorrent actions of a player and the club management’s handling of the whole sordid affair which all played a part in what has brought you to this moment.

The foundation of the club was perceived to be a that of moral compass, a club of the people, a club that did things right.

It annoyed us that you revelled in this while looking down on us and our errant players, crass owner, and what you saw as our croissantised pretentiousness from your moral highground. You threw that away.

‘Sunderland’s headlong fall and the unconditional love that makes us keep faith.’ Click on the cartoon to read Monsieur Salut’s tale of woe

Am I enjoying your misfortune? Yeah, of course I am. It’s what we do… to each other… and then whinge about the other side enjoying the hurt just too much and whine that when we did it it was “only banter”. You had your schadenfreude, it would be churlish to begrudge us ours.

But I don’t think it’s the end. I reckon it could be the beginning.

Sweep it all away, get rid of everything. Dreadful players, stupid management… that hideous shirt. Start again. Move forward.

It’s hurtful but learn from us, Rafa was key, but the feeling of togetherness and sense of purpose he engendered has been the main reason we are bobbing along into the calmer waters of stability. You need to strive for the same.

There for the grace of Rafa goes us. Two years from now let’s see where we are.

* Nick’s Who are You? interview was described here as one of the finest the series has produced. It was headlined Newcastle v SAFC Who are You?: ‘never met a Mackem I disliked’ and can be seen in full at this link

Classy but gloomy. If you can stomach more on our latest relegation, click the image and return to the Salut! Sunderland home page

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

6 Responses to “‘Yes Newcastle are gloating but there but for the grace of Rafa go us’” Subscribe

  1. Paul April 23, 2018 at 6:43 am #

    Okay, Newcastle are on a good run ( but one swallow etc) and no denying that compared to Sunderland they are in clover.

    I wonder, however, if it is all down to Rafa? Ashley gave him plenty of money to escape the Championship and the club is financially very sound. That leads onto to
    the role of Ashley. Is he as bad as many Newcastle supporters make him out to be?

    I would rephrase the opening; “There but for grace of Mike and Rafa go us”.

    • Pablo April 23, 2018 at 9:26 am #

      As a Newcastle regular I’d say its down to Rafa DESPITE Mike Ashley. The numbers are simple to add up.

      My sympathy goes out to Sunderland fans who deserve far better than the tripe they’ve been served up. There will be banter over the double relegation but what are you going to do? You’ve got to laugh at yourselves a bit and somehow try to recover the spirit and unity that north-east folk can generate in abundance if given half a chance and a football project worthy of them with just a little respect and honesty.

      Good luck next year. I hope Coleman can stop the rot and refocus the squad for promotion.

      • Paul April 23, 2018 at 9:31 am #


  2. Rufus April 23, 2018 at 7:44 am #

    Yes he is as bad as NUFC supporters (and your average Joe walking the streets) make him out to be.

    FYI, he made a profit in the summer after NUFC went down.

    At least he’s not as passive as that bumbling, incompetent idiot “running” SAFC though.

    * NB: apologies to Rufus but I edited this to avoid defamation issues! Take it from me the reference to Ashley was worded rather more strongly – Ed

  3. BillytheFish April 23, 2018 at 10:01 am #

    My Grandad was a Mackem, my dad and I Toon fans.

    My Grandad would always say just go to the pub with your mates, then go to the match shout yersell horse and go back to the pub afterwards.

    It doesn’t matter what division your in, enjoy your football and you’re still with yer mates.

    • Drummer April 23, 2018 at 11:28 am #

      Hope so Billy , the worry at the moment is that we won’t have a club in 5 years . We can handle League 1 and we can take the mags payback on the chin ( swings and roundabouts). The genuine feeling on Wearside is that if Short doesn’t find some fresh investment soon the Safc museum may be all there’s left of us .

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