Sunday's Derby: One for the Ages
All too often we slap the legend label on people and things just passing through our club.
Players, games, goals and managers, who flatter to deceive and then are forgotten, except for the odd insult or 'did you know/can you remember' posting on the message board.
Sunday was different. It hasn't even subsided but it could already be part of Sunderland folklore.
From Catts pre-match tunnel "chat" with their so-called hard man, to that first tackle, to McClean's face-off with Rico running to the rescue, to Campbell's touchline warm up antics through to Sess's sending off, Poncey Pardew's mincing maurading into MON's face, to Mig's save, the despair of the equaliser and, finally, back to the man who began it all - somehow managing to be red-carded after the bloody game had finished.
You couldn't make this shit up.
It has the feel, taste and smell of SAFC history. One of those "I was there" games to tell the grandkids about. And that is much, much more important than a dropped couple of points.
Because, if we weren't a team going into that game, then we sure as hell were one coming out of it.
Football these days seems to revolve around finances, agents, Sky TV and a general lack of loyalty. Sunday was the perfect antidote.
From Short in the stands, to MON on the touchline, through to our captain Catts - the footballing equivalent of Russell Crowe's Gladiator - this was, in the best sense of the words, Us against Them.
And make no mistake, Us won.
We have staked out our territory - the last gasp goal of theirs irrelevant. This is much-needed mouthwash to the 5-1 defeat. It isn't about numbers, isn't even about results. It is about pride and when Catts launched himself into a tackle he had no chance of making after only 40 seconds it was the perfect thing to do.
Because we needed to be counted. What would have been stupid in a game a week before was perfect for that moment.
So if MON didn't know, Short didn't know, Sess didn't know - know what we all do know. Well, they know it now.
The league position this season doesn't really matter now. We have other, fatter fish to fry. Starting, but not ending, at Goodison.
But we are top dogs and they can feel it in their bones and sweaty bellies.
And these dogs have the bit well and truly between their teeth.
(Our Canadian Correspondent)