The Sunderland dilemma facing Newcastle United fans – Which side of the debate do you sit?

There’s been so much positivity surrounding Newcastle United over the past seven to eight months that, naturally, little has been said about our neighbours 13 miles down the road.

Because who wants to focus on their rivals languishing in the third division when we’ve dragged ourselves out of the relegation zone and have a competitive future to look forward to?

But for many supporters, that is a dilemma, because there’s a limited rivalry to enjoy at the moment ahead of their play-off semi final second leg at Sheffield Wednesday tonight.

Some of us are thoroughly enjoying Sunderland’s fall from grace and are happy to see them languishing in League One for the foreseeable – or even forever. What better position is there to be in than two leagues above your biggest rivals with cash to splash and a bright future, especially if theirs stays this bleak?

Others, meanwhile, are missing rivalry and some proper banter between supporters. Their place in League One undoubtedly gives us an edge over them, but is it getting old? Many are missing the unrivalled atmospheres of derby days and the bragging rights of a derby day win.

We wondered which side of the fence most Newcastle United supporters would fall on, so we polled Twitter.

A huge 70% of the 1,762 respondents said they’d be happy to let Sunderland rot in League One, while 30% want to see Tyne and Wear derbies make a return.

It’s an interesting debate. I’m firmly in the 70%. No matter how unbelievably good derby days can be, I think it’s far funnier to see Sunderland sitting two leagues below us. No matter how much they bleat on about six in a row, it’s laughable because of their current situation. They last beat us over five years ago, so it’s not exactly a solid foundation on which to build their argument against us.

And because the six in a row craic is so old, it’s why I think being leagues above Sunderland is better than on-the-day derby wins. Ultimately, success comes from stringing together a lot of wins and not two potential wins a season.

Plus, there’s the fact that I could never, ever bring myself to root for Sunderland. I will not be cheering them on tonight or in the play-off final, should they reach it, because it goes against every fibre of my being.

That said, I can see why some supporters want the derby day back. The atmosphere in Newcastle city centre on derby day is unbeatable. Cans at 7am when you’re not travelling anywhere and vodkas in the pub at 9am (or is that just me?) just don’t happen on any other matchday.

Beating them on the day produces noise at St James’ Park, or their stadium, like we’ve never heard before. St James has been on fine form in recent months, with the place rocking and raucous every matchday. It’s like we’ve rediscovered our voice. Imagine that, but 10x louder when we score a last-minute winner against Sunderland? I’ve no doubt it will be almost literally deafening.

There’s also the argument that, with any luck, we’ll once again be a force to be reckoned with and therefore they’ll stand little chance of beating us in a derby. We know derbies can be some of the most unpredictable matches in football, but ultimately, the better teams generally come off better.

So with all of this in mind, where do you come down on this argument?

Are you happy, like me, to continue laughing at Sunderland as they meander in the lower leagues while we focus on fighting to bring European football back to St James?

Or are you chomping at the bit for our first Tyne & Wear derby since 2016?

Let us know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “The Sunderland dilemma facing Newcastle United fans – Which side of the debate do you sit?

  1. C’mon, we can’t deny 5un1un 6 in a row can we…..let em rot…!

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  2. Looking forward to the next T&W Derby. Gateshead v Sunderland in League 1.

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  3. Well a lot of those fans are friends and neighbours even family … plus it’s good to have boro and sunderland Carlisle Hartlepool and Darlington doing well for the far north .., so I would hold my nose and like them to get up to the championship

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