The Best Derby In The Land?

Is there a better derby in English football?
Despite being a heated affair surrounded by controversy, the derby game between Newcastle and Sunderland was, as always, something to behold.

I thought myself, and many have confirmed since who were in attendance, that the atmosphere was as good as I have heard in a long time as the teams took to St. James’ Park. In fact, the crowd were literally deafening upon kick-off, so much so the players didn’t hear the first blow of the referee’s whistle.

The passion hit the roof less than a minute in when Lee Cattermole launched into a ‘tackle’ on Tiote and was very lucky not to do him serious damage. From that moment on, the first half turned into a slugfest in which both sides were lucky to leave the field with eleven men.

I personally can’t give what you would call credit to Sunderland for their first half performance. Of course they made it a physical encounter, unsettled Newcastle and didn’t allow us to play, but the method of doing so was questionable to say the least. I love when tackles fly but there’s a distinct difference between tough and dirty.

Personal feelings on that aspect aside, Sunderland did shade the first half from what little football got played and with Williamson giving away the penalty they found themselves in a position at half time they could only dream of. 1 – 0 up with Newcastle frustrated and not playing well.

Lucky for those of a black and white persuasion, Alan Pardew, as he has done many times this season, put in a half-time team talk and tactical change to stem the tide and change the course of the game, and Newcastle came out second half like a team possessed, virtually pinning Sunderland to their own box long before the sending off of Sessegnon.

Obviously with ten men and Newcastle now putting serious pressure on, Sunderland had to adopt a siege mentality and park the bus, kitchen sink and anything else they could get in front of their goalkeeper to keep Newcastle at bay, and in fairness to them, they nearly got away with it.

The atmosphere was unbelievable, I would say especially so for any impartial onlooker, and any outside chance of it dying down was being given a regular boost by the enigmatic Frenchman on the right wing, who had arguably his best performance in a Newcastle shirt.

Almost every time Ben Arfa got the ball, something happened to get bums off seats and encourage the crowd. Kieron Richardson was literally tortured by Ben Arfa second half, the winger showing exactly why some rate him so highly, showing skills and dribbling ability as good as any player you could mention.

On another day, Ben Arfa may have got the deserved goal that would have solidified him in Geordie folklore but it wasn’t to be. His 2nd half performance did a whole lot though in unsettling Sunderland, constantly lifting the crowd and impacting our style of play for the better.

Despite Ben Arfa’s best efforts, Tiote now absolutely dominating in midfield, Jonas and Ryan Taylor playing as two left wingers and Demba Ba being much improved and causing their defenders all sorts of problems, the ball just wouldn’t go in for Newcastle and time was ticking away.

Then just as Sunderland may have started to believe they could keep Newcastle out, one man emerged from the dugout who strikes fear in the heart of mackems young and old. Shola Ameobi certainly has had his critics, me included at times this season, but when you need a goal against the local rivals, there is not a striker on earth I would rather have on the pitch.

Within minutes he had made his impact, touching the ball beyond the sliding Frazier Campbell in the box to win us a penalty and the stadium erupted once again. I don’t think there’s a Newcastle supporter in existence that didn’t want to see Shola placing the ball on the penalty spot but the opportunity was given to our Senegalese hitman Demba Ba instead.

Deafening noise suddenly became stunned silence as Simon Mignolet pulled out a good save down low to his left to keep Newcastle out and could have easily had a massive negative effect on both the crowd and the team for the remaining minutes.

True to form though, the crowd instantly got behind the team again from the corner and beyond, every cross and every half chance being nearly willed into the net by the Geordie faithful. We still had time and more importantly, we still had Shola.

I don’t need to explain what happened next. In fairness I don’t see why we were so worried. It was inevitable that he would be the one to break mackem hearts once more and with it, St. James’ Park exploded in elation like I have never heard before.

50,000 odd Geordie’s rejoiced along with many more around the world, jumping around pubs or dancing with the dog in their sitting room, making anyone neutral in attendance look in awe at what it means to be a Newcastle supporter, the passion we have for our club.

Martin O’Neill expressed afterwards, as best he could, what it feels like to be involved in a game like that. Simply put, he said it had everything and he was right, from physicality, altercations both on and off the pitch, penalties, sendings off, to a truly astounding atmosphere you will be hard pushed to find at any other game in the world.

The following may be a biased opinion, but one not far from the truth and not many could deny having watched that match the other day. Newcastle vs Sunderland in St. James’ Park stands alone as the best derby in English football. It has to be number one.

For any player who has been tracked by Newcastle in recent times and may be a summer target, watching that game would have to make an impact. Why wouldn’t they want to play in an atmosphere and match like that.

Newcastle often get called the most passionate supporters you will find, but rarely do outsiders get to see it in such blatant terms. I think despite the animosity and altercations surrounding the football that was played, that match could have done us the world of good in terms of chasing targets.

I know if I was a player in France, Holland or elsewhere, I would love to have the opportunity to play in a game like that, in front of supporters that passionate, and in the best league in the world.

Today’s comments in the Daily Mail by Jan Vertonghen may be the perfect example of the effect such a game can have on players, with both him and Toby Alderweireld looking to play in the ‘unique atmosphere and stadia’ of the Premier League.

The timing of those comments purely coincidental? Maybe. One thing is for sure. If there is a player we are after who wouldn’t want to sign after seeing that match, then they’re not worthy of the black and white shirt.

I know one thing. I will be doing everything in my power to be at that fixture next season. It beats any cup final or European night for me.

About KeithR

we want pride. we want pace. we want power. we want a team of bad ass mothas who won't take no crap off of nobody.

51 thoughts on “The Best Derby In The Land?

  1. Was a match to remember, shame we couldn’t get the winner, was a bit like Arsenal last feb, except more physical and less goals.


  2. we’re not the only ones talking up ben arfa, Hatem himself reckons that he should aspire to win the ballon d’ or :mrgreen: thats what we like to hear 😆


  3. Andy – no doubt a a darksider. They don’t have much newsworthy so all nufc news gets posted on their news feeds. always in our shadow 🙂


  4. Andy – Haven’t a clue mate.

    On topic, personally I think our Derby is the best in the land, but its all subjective I guess. I’ve no doubt Celtic fans or Tottenham fans or Man U fans will claim their Derby is the best one also.


  5. KeithR an excellent read mate 😉 . and must agree it is the top derby match, and imo its only the Argies and some south american teams can get an atmosphere similar to that.


  6. Dave 😆 was tempted to go all out and say the world but then remembered how many South American games I have watched turn into full blown riots with stadiums catching fire etc.. off their rockers all together that lot! 😆


  7. the only geordie derby thats for sure 😆 never thought the games against boro were a derby of coarse its the best in the land 😉


  8. Cheers for comments lads, appreciated as always 😉

    Do you think Vertonghens comments were just coincidental? Toby Alderweireld trying to convince him to move to England mean that Toby has a deal almost wrapped up? Has been mentioned in connection with nufc very recently…


  9. I have seen and heard many top top players and managers of which some have been part of different big derby games, and they have said that ours are the best 😛


  10. Ice did you see batts and me on trying to be friendly last night talking to someone ? and they wouldn’t even talk to us and in the end deleted us 😆


  11. DAVE aye mate saw that,waste of bloody space,i will still say it will go down the swanee,cannot wait,just hope the blockers dont come here,clint is a canny lad like 😉


  12. toonsy
    think you could add liverpool/everton fans to that list, personally think they’re derby is boring and overrated.


  13. Just want to say that as an exiled Sunderland and proud northeasterner that me and a couple of Maggie mates were in a pub in Suffolk watching the match and the locals commented it was the best atmosphere they had heard at a televised derby. Our comments in unison were that its even better if your there. Our derby is the best by far in the Premier League and I for one miss it when we dont have it. I dont class any game against the Smoggies as a derby its like having a snotty nosed kid on the side when your playing footie wanting to join in. Tyne/Wear and Wear/Tyne derbies are the ones that have everything and the passion is spine tingling


  14. Would anyone take Gregg Wylde?

    He has left Rangers today and is a young, speedy winger with a great left foot.

    Not sure how these Rangers guys stand with signing though, do they have to wait to the summer since they had a club by the end of the transfer window.?


  15. FJ im sure there must be some way round them getting clubs, as for Gregg Wylde or any other players of theirs don’t know nowt about them really.

    Suffolkmackem atleast you’s can hold your heads high knowing that you’s are the 2nd best club in the N/E 😆 thanks for the 4pts 😉


  16. I don’t think there is another derby in England that compares to the passion of it.

    Worldwide I’d have to with the Superclasico, Boca vs River Plate


  17. KeithR – it was my cousins birthday on Sunday and he took his 8yrs old son to the game, he was absolutely blown away by it. He taken him to a couple of home games this season coz he’s toon daft (both but especially the bairn) and he loves going to the games but doesn’t like SDA!!!
    My cousins missus picked the bairn up while my cousin went on the drink and as soon as the bairn got home he rang everyone! he was hyper!!.. and wants to go every year now.
    So you’ve defo got the backing of an 8yr old that it’s the best fixture in the world 😆

    Keith – what’s Jan V been saying like?

    FunkyJesus – don’t know about that kid but would have thought he’d now be a free agent having been released and as such could sign for any club any time of the season – but I’m not certain on that like


  18. My understanding was free agents can only sign if they are free at the end of a transfer window, not after but that is harsh here.

    I’d take Wylde and Naismith in a heartbeat.


  19. Regarding Bennys comments – I’m all for players having goals in their career but I have to say I sort of agree with CB.
    I think Benny needs to focus on becoming a regular first teamer before setting his sights that high. He played really well when he came on on Sunday but there is still plenty of room for improvement there IMO.
    I’d far sooner read that he wants to nail down a first team place, qualify for Europe, score goals for Newcastle or become a regular French international player than read him on about the ballon d’or which is a trophy for the individual.


  20. For me , the Tyne/ Wear derby brings out all the raw passion of the fans of both clubs and that is what makes it special.

    What surprised me most on Sunday was not only the passion shown by the players and both Pardew and O’Neill , but the passion shown by Ashley and Llambias !

    It made me believe that Mike really is a fan and does want the best for the club.


  21. Keith – thanks for that link mate, very interesting!! wonder why Toby wants him to come to England. Both very good players and would be happy to land either, but particularly Jan.
    Think 2 things will help us do that over Spurs, Colo, Krul and Jonas signing is a big thing if the lad is talking about signing for a club he wants to stay with for years coz it obviously shows top players committing to the club. Also I think if Arry gets the England job, Spurs will go through some changes and a new manager with new ideas is the unknown for the lad.
    But Spurs will likely be able to offer CL football which works in their favour.

    Should be an interesting summer though.

    Aye Keith, my cousin said the bairn cried when the scum scored and wanted to go home, then cried again when Shola scored and wanted to stay, even when the game was finished 😆
    Was great to hear him talking about it, coz my uncle used to take me and my cousin to the games when were kids – can just imagine us being that hyper all those years ago – telling everyone how we were nearly crushed in the corner and fighting over who was Mirandinha and who was going in goal to be Tommy Wright 😆


  22. going to watch the game on tv now,hate that temp chelsea manager broke wor jackie wembley record the git


  23. hopefully the next tyne-wear will be on sky, though going to a pub with my dad and bro was quite good, though the scots around couldn’t make their ‘minds’ up who to complain about, “oi oi, that tiote’s a right fanny going down withooot being tooched”, followed by “where the fook is sunderland anyway?” 🙄


  24. although its good that the arsenal match is on tv, its annoying that its a monday as we have to wait longer to watch it than normal, i’m not particulaly patient and find weekends without the toon playing horribly boring. 🙁


  25. Dave – Get him blogging!! Blokes a legend to me and my cousin, we met him once signing autographics in a newsagents in Benwell!
    Don’t know if you are aware of Benwell but it’s not where you’d find any of the current squad 😆
    God we had a crap team back then but we were crazy on them, remember my cousin crying his eyes out when Gazza went … I still take the piss now!


  26. DAVE batty will be on f/b talking to worky the rat bag,think troys oot looking for some new wheely-bins heard he was emptyed into the bin-wagon 😉


  27. Ganna shud up now I think… it’s turning into my fucking biography 😆 😆

    Anyone watching the Chelsea game?
    They really look garbage at the moment – wish we were playing them on Monday night instead.
    Really hope the Brummies beat them tonight for Hughton


  28. I’m just wondering this Arsenal performance will work in our favour? Will it take too much out of them or will it be after the lord mayors showbandall that?

    I reckon it might you know…


  29. Stu I think it might take a bit out of them 😕

    Sharpy17 he was a good spud mate but some of the family were nutters 😆

    Ice it wouldn’t surprise me if he was on chatting with worky 👿


  30. they say we robbed l/pool for judas at 35mil,imo they robbed chelsea with 50mil for torros not worth 50p on this showing 😉


  31. Sharpy 😆 Quality mate, would give anything to live over there and go to games with the lad.. hopefully one day, have to convince the missus.. think I’m wearing her down though 😆


  32. Off topic – just watching SSN and it’s saying the Rangers top earners have to take a 75% pay cut?! 😯
    I know footballer are on good money but bloody hell man!… How many people live only 25% in their means?!

    Someone’s destroyed that club like


  33. To be fair Sunderland are as good as Manchester United. Im being serious…

    They both have really dug in this season, given it a good go and each won a whole point against the mighty NUFC!

    Mind that makes us 4 times better than both of them! 😮


  34. my missus had a go at me for swearing at the tv during the game… I asked her if she would like me to swear at her instead! 😆 She went to bed thankfully.. On fox down here we had David Pleat co commentating. He struggles to put two kind words together in regards to Newcastle. Every time he opened his mouth it was some negative shite. It was making me progressively more angry as the game went on.. There was a moment in the second have when Ba went up for a header and the Sunderland defender had a raised hand and made a connection with the ball next to Ba’s head. Pleats comment – “I think it was a simple case of Ba leaping too early” What a fecking bell end…


  35. In english fotball,definitely our derby match is the best.

    Nex is Millwall and West ham. 😯

    As for worldwide,Milan derby is one of the best i watched. 😯


  36. Sunday was epic.

    But let’s not kid ourselves that it’s always like this

    Could be the start of a new era of derbies tho – both teams are decent and could be competing at the right end of the table for the next few years, both have got passionate, good quality managers….

    Andrew T @47 – here’s a post-match quote from Pardew re. Ben Arfa –

    “I have to find a way of getting him in my team.”


  37. That’s a sweet interview with Benny. Interesting he says that he’d lost his desire to play for a while when he came back, because ‘their football was too far away from the one I love’…..

    No more hoofball, Pards!!! 😀


  38. Swedish striker John Guidetti, who has scored 18 goals in 17 Eredivisie games for Feyenoord this season, has warned Manchester City he is not prepared to return to the club to sit on the bench next season.

    Thats off the BBC gossip page , worth a punt maybe?


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