Oh what a night
Half a century has almost slipped by but there is still no clear answer.
Just how many people were inside Roker Park for that sixth round replay?
Where was Nathan Gunn - the SMB's current crowd counting wizard - when he was needed most, back then in early-March 1964 when the mighty Manchester United travelled north with the same trepidation the Christians must have felt for a meeting with the lions in Ancient Rome.
It was a night which would go down in history.
And one with its own strange connection to the current 'will we or won't we sell out' debate for this upcoming version of a sixth round replay.
That night it was never a question of will the gate be sold out. No, that night the question, ultimately to be answered in the negative, was will the gates hold out.
In 1964 there was no chance of watching on the tele, even for those precious few who has a set. Roker Park was the only vantage point and thousands upon thousands set off early that Wednesday for the 7.30 p.m. kick off to watch Charlie Hurley and his men finish the job they let slip the previous Saturday against the likes of Charlton, Best and Law.
Set off early we did as well. My dad, fresh from a morning shift down Boldon's Colliery, had us on the 5 o' clock bus to Sunderland and we were at Roker 45 minutes later.
Two hours to kick off and it was bedlam with crowds swaying wildly in the cobblestoned streets in makeshift queues that snaked in all directions.
I was seven and scrawny. We'd met up with my uncle, who worked as a welder in the yards and had arms like overgrown ham shanks. Between him and my dad they escorted and carried me through the pushing and heaving mob. Finally up to and through a rickety old turnstile.
We were in.
Back then the Clock Stand was all standing, the seats didn't go in for another year. We would stand against a barrier in the upper deck, me on a home made wooden cracket, my relatives as solid guard.
That night I needed them more than ever. Before or since.
The crush in the streets as the game grew closer became ludicrous and the wooden exit gates burst open, one after another. Thousands poured inside from the streets, probably avoiding a disaster by doing so.
In the end the official attendance was a ridiculously low 47,000 or so. A pointless number. There were more than that standing in the surrounding streets throughout the game, living vicariously through the cheers and jeers from those squashed inside.
Everyone agreed afterwards there were more inside than the previous tie against Everton when 63,000 had officially been present. Lots more.
But how many?
Not enough to stop Monty messing up that goal kick. But more than enough for a night never to be forgotten and one which counted where it really matters - in the hearts minds and memories of everyone who somehow survived.
(Our Canadian Correspondent)