History lesson: the game that left Toon feeling doon

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During Sunderland’s recent spell of post-Arsenal under-achievement, Newcastle have been recording wins against mighty opposition to stay top of the division that isn’t the Premier. And letting us know about how big a club they are. Time to cheer ourselves up, remind others of their place and – just three days late – celebrate a heartening 101st anniversary. Adapted from an article written by Colin Randall a year ago for The National, Abu Dhabi …

No member of the Toon Army thanked me this time last year for drawing wider attention to the centenary of one of the most momentous league games in English football history.

But then, Newcastle fans would probably feel disinclined to thank me for anything.

All the same, duty obliges me to record that 101 years ago last weekend, having made the short journey to Newcastle, Sunderland did not so much beat the Magpies as pulverise them


Newcastle 1 Sunderland 9. That was how it finished, in front of 56,000 fans with many more locked out. Forget what Spurs did to Wigan a couple of weeks ago. And it remains the joint biggest away victory in the English top flight, what we now call the Premier League (Cardiff City were walloped by the same score at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1955).
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Back on Saturday Dec 5 1908, when the whistle blew for half-time in the Tyne-Wear derby, no one could have guessed the outcome. The two teams were level at 1-1.

The 28-minute spell during which Sunderland scored their hatful of second half goals is another record: the quickest time for a top division team to score eight times.

And it is possible that Sunderland’s performance was motivated by a deep sense of injustice. Contemporary reports suggest they were riled by a controversial penalty award giving Newcastle an unmerited equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

The final score was all the more remarkable because the trounced home team actually recovered to win that season’s championship.

It was all a long while ago, and I would not dream of rubbing salt in wounds. Let it simply be recorded that it was barely 20 years later that Newcastle last claimed the title. There was an FA Cup final victory as recently as 1955, but that means it is now 53 years since they collected a serious trophy; even the Toon Army find it hard to keep straight faces when citing the Inter-City Fairs Cup, in 1969, as serious.

But how did the visitors from Wearside triumph so comprehensively at St James’ Park a century ago? Basic records show that the damage was inflicted by Billy Hogg and George Holley, each scoring a hat-trick, Arthur Bridgett, who found the net twice, and Jackie Mordue with one goal.

For more detail, I am indebted to my younger daughter, herself a football fan (though, shamefully, she has failed her father and supports Liverpool). Her last birthday present to me was a book on the history of Sunderland AFC compiled using cuttings from the Daily Mirror.
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The Mirror reported the match in fairly understated tones, especially considering that the scoreline amounted, as the headline put it, to a “sensational victory”. Imagine the hyperbole the tabloids of today would wheel out for a comparable home defeat suffered by Chelsea or Manchester United. The Mirror’s 1908 story, rounding up the day’s results, began soberly: “There were many unexpected happenings in Saturday’s football, more than usual, perhaps.”

It went on to describe the 9-1 victory as the “surprise of years”, with Sunderland producing, in the second half, “a bewildering exposition of the game”.

“They usually win at Newcastle,” observed “Citizen”, which was as near as the writer came to being identified, “but the score is a staggerer.”

Indeed, it is one that continues to stagger. Among those who voted in a poll conducted by the Sunderland club website, one supporter in seven nominated the 1908 achievement as the “best moment” in the history of Sunderland-Newcastle derby games.

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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.

16 Responses to “History lesson: the game that left Toon feeling doon” Subscribe

  1. jane December 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    aw whats the matter pete do u not post any opposing comments but your own bias views and games ? whys that? i wonder……..

  2. Bill Taylor December 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Jane’s mastery of English is about equal to Newcastle’s mastery of football — very much second division.

  3. dirty monkey mackem December 9, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    HA, 101 years later, still the only result ya can cling to, sad mackems.

  4. NUFC4EVA December 9, 2009 at 1:49 am #

    Why do Sunderland fans cling onto this rubbish? All Sunderland blogs are full of talk about Newcastle… Concentrate on your own issues. We dont talk about you or give 2 sh*** about you. But then again nobody is because there’s only one team in the North East anyone cares about and it annoys the hell out of ALL of YOU!, Newcastle United, TOON TOON!!

  5. Redan_White December 9, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    No you don’t care about Sunderland at all, that’s why you come onto a site TOTALLY dedicated to Sunderland Association Football Club and pass comment, your awfully funny!!

  6. Bill Taylor December 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    TOON TOON? Don’t you mean DOON DOON?

  7. Pete Sixsmith December 9, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Once again we see the total arrogance of Newcastle fans with their assumption that everyone loves them. If there is a tackier club in football at any level, I have yet to come across them. From people like McKeag, Westwood, Hall, Shepherd and now Ashley, they have showed the footballing world that they have no class whatsoever.
    And now they are crowing because they are top of the second level of English football. They just don’t get it, do they. They are disliked the length and breadth of the country for their arrogance and ignorance. They employ cheats like Taylor and thugs like Barton. They have players who fight with each other on the pitch. They can’t spell boycott.
    They are, without a doubt, the longest running pantomime in English, nay European, football. I am sure that they will be back with us in the Premier League next season with their obese opera singers and classy cultured owner glugging pints in front of the cameras.
    Newcastle United, we love you; without you, football would be so much duller, if a whole lot classier.

  8. Bill Taylor December 10, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    And as the popular pantomime exchange goes:
    “What do you think of it so far?”
    “RUBBISH!”
    Back in the Premiership next year? I’m not so certain. The season has a long way to go yet and I can see the Deckchairs’ bubble bursting as the pressure builds.
    “Oh no it won’t!”
    “Oh yes it will!!”

  9. Redan_White December 10, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I hope they do get promoted.

    Firstly they will need to spend at least 30mil to have a chance of staying up. Will Ashley spend that sort of money, NO! Will a new owner come in and meet Ashley’s price for the club knowing they have a minimum of 30mil to spend on top, UNLIKELY

    Is it possible that ‘The Toon’ could better our meagre 15 pointer season and actually get less than 15 points, LIKELY

    Another embarrassing season as the Toon yo-yo starts up would be entertaining to watch as their supporters reclaim what they think is a god given right only to be kicked all ower the park by the likes of Bolton and Wolves and also giving us an assured six points will be highly amusing!

  10. jon_safc December 10, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Instead of toon baiting, why dont we just wait to see how they do if they go up-we can hardly brag as our record is far worse than theirs! why act as if were a great premier league team just because we escaped relegation ourselves by a few points?? its hardly an achievemant lads-lol-and pete i thought u would have outgrew your bias attitude at your age-its petty and bitter-most blokes your age like the rivals to do well! you dont fool anyone by spouting your intellect on a footy blog man-footy blogs use slang and shorthand-why do u have to constantly try and belittle people’s intelligence? maybe your so bitter u cant see the truth, so try and pretend to be something your not? why let them know that your really bothered? every bitter comment just adds to them laffin at us! for god sake-ide be happy if we had of had anywhere near their premier league finishing positions and champions league football- and they were up their 16 years-as opposed to our yoyo-ing up n down for the same time scale-grow up man and stop trying to belittle people with your spouting of long words etc-everyone knows them-but this is fansite not an interview-or status checker…

  11. Redan_White December 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Everyone has their time in the Sun. I don’t really get, agree with or even understand many of your points jon_safc, do you?

  12. NUFC4EVA December 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    @ Redan_White – I came on this link because it appreared on the Newcastle United Newsnow.co.uk link because of the keywords

  13. NUFC4EVA December 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Why have they hidden Jon_SAFC comment? Could it be that theres some truth in there?

    And Redan_White, wishful thinking on the yo-yo’ing, we’ve merely had a blip and if you think your “yo-yo’ing” has finished you are very naive. you missed relegation by 2 points, real high flyers! Also, if you want to talk about being “kicked all over the park” by the likes of Wolves and Bolton – Lets not forget you’ve been “kicked all over the park” by BURNLEY AND BIRMINGHAM already this year!! HAHAHAHA Am I wrong? No…

  14. Redan_White December 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Mmmm just remind me what leauge those teams play in!

    We missed relegation by 2 points, it’s a good job we took four(if it wans’t for a cheating diver Taylor it would have been six) points off you. Thanks for our Premier Leauge credentials to build upon.

    If you think your current plight is a blip you really are deluded son! Ashley is still looking to offload your high wage earners to be replaced by out of contract has beens, untested youth and loanees. This is not how you build a team capable of cutting it in the Premier leauge!

  15. NUFC4EVA December 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    Yeah we should know about having a team cutting it in the Premiership if you want a history lesson (keeping to the theme of the blog entry) We had 16 Consecutive Seasons in the Premier League. I think you lot have JUST managed 2! and you’ve got the cheek to tell us about cutting it in the Premier League and call us deluded about promotion despite being 7 points clear in the Championship?! You are either an idiot or a dreamer, but then most mackems are. I recall Steve Bruce trying to sign one of our “out of contract players”, Peter Lovenkrands, but decided to sign for us… Why would that be? Hmmmm? and “The untested youth”… scored last night thanks…!!

  16. Redan_White December 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    History is the past, England had an Empire once, it doesn’t do us much good now.

    Congratulations on your past near sucess like missing out on the Prem. title and err well thats it within the past 50 years!

    Peter Lovenkrands, yup we are gutted about not getting him, err thingy err what’s his name again. Plenty of players cut it in the lower divisions but don’t make the step up, Oh! apart from err what’s his name again?

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