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Geordie pride still in tact after Tyne-Wear derby
By Lee Ryder on Jan 17, 11 09:04 AM
Newcastle United fans would have accepted a 6-2 aggregate score over Sunderland at the start of the season.
And on reflection local pride has been well and truly restored as far as most Geordie fans are concerned.
The magnificent 5-1 hammering of Sunderland quite rightly will remain one of the highlights of the season for United and the Mackems failed miserably in attempting to take any gloss of that famous win on Wearside.
Instead, Sunderland were fortunate to scramble a draw with their record now reading just one win in three decades at both Roker Park and the Stadum of light and just two wins in almost 43 years to show for their efforts on Wearside.
On reflection, I think Sunderland well and truly lacked class on and off the field in the Wear-Tyne derby.
was disgracefully attacked by a Mackem hoodie, Malcolm MacDonald was verbally abused and spat at by Sunderland fans while home supporters refused to leave the Stadium of Light to vent their frustration at the Toon Army.
Of course, this is to be expected in a local derby - but in my humble opinion some Sunderland fans took it too far and once again to medieval proportions.
It isn't the first time that Sunderland FC have failed to be able to handle the big occasion or handle their fans.
Shay Given was also confronted by a pitch invader last time out and Sunderland fans charged at Toon supporters in 2008 - parents and children as well - without taking any punishment from relevant authorities whatsoever.
This time at least some decent SAFC fans captured the intruder and handed him over to the police.
Speaking as a Geordie native though, had the roles been reversed in just one of the these listed incidents, then I'm sure the outcome would be different.
Joey Barton is living his life under such scrutiny that he dare not look at somebody the wrong way - but does that make it OK for Sunderland fans to hurl missiles at him when he's trying to take a corner kick?
Back your team to the hilt but keep it real.
What example does that set for younger supporters at Sunderland?
Well given the past events at SOL, and the age of the supporter who shoved Harper
over, obviously not a very good one.
Newcastle came close to taking all three points again on Wearside but when the points are totted up at the end of the season, this may look like a good point.
Sunderland have enjoyed a good season so far and lie in sixth place but should United win their game in hand, they would only be two points behind them.
Survival is the main aim for Newcastle United this season - if you ask the players.
And until that goal of 40 points is reached you will not hear anybody at SJP getting above themselves and talking about Europe.
Sunderland fans believe that they are about to add to their paltry four game total in European competition.
Newcastle have enjoyed a rich European record of over 100 games with trips to Milan, Barcelona, Kiev, Rotterdam, Marseille and many, many more continental destinations still in living memory for most Magpie fans.
And until the final placings have been sewn up in the Premier League, those facts remain.
Steve Bruce has already made the mistake of talking about playing victory songs BEFORE a ball was kicked in the derby.
On the evidence of the Tyne-Wear derby yesterday, talk on Wearside of European football could also be premature especially if their annual Premier League slide kicks in soon.
With seventh place a possible European place and Newcastle a point behind Bolton, with a game in hand and the Wanderers to play on Tyneside, would you rule United out if that chase too?
None of that concerns Newcastle United right now though.
United have now earned the right to kick on this season and gain a respectable league finish.
And while it was disappointing to concede so late on in a game that was more or less in the bag, with Hatem Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling and Andy Carroll all to join Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Cheik Tiote, Fabricio Coloccini and Jose Enrique in the Toon starting XI, you have to admit that the potential to make a real fist of the remaining 16 matches.
I don't want to say it too loudly, but I'm actually looking forward to it.
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