Last night’s Merseyside derby was an incredible atmosphere and game, and watching it gave me a pang of jealousy, thinking about what we used to have with Newcastle and Sunderland.
The last proper Tyne-Wear derby was in March 2016, and quite how long we will have to wait for the next one, is anyone’s guess, and it is a very sad situation.
With Sunderland’s recent demise, it could be a long time until the two bitter rivals meet again in the league, and north east football is much worse off without one of the biggest rivalries in the game.
As much as Newcastle and Sunderland fans continue to poke fun at each other and banter back and forth on social media, but it is just not the same.
Nothing quite matches the atmosphere of a Tyne-Wear derby
Missing is the back and forth between work colleagues, or the wild and deliberately biased predictions, or just the anticipation – and trepidation – in the days leading up to the game, knowing what awaits you the following week should Newcastle lose.
Then there is the atmosphere of the day itself. The convoy of buses arriving at the ground, the mocking from rival fans as you get off the coach. The incredible noise inside the ground. The ecstasy – or desolation – on the way out.
And in amongst all that, is the game itself. The intense, 100mph 90 minutes, with every hefty challenge being cheered by one set of fans or the other. The wild celebrations when a goal is scored.
You simply cannot beat it. Even with defeats, you would never swap being at the game, and going through the full range of emotions that go with it.
And after a few months of bragging rights for one set of stripes or the other, it all starts again for the next meeting.
As much as Newcastle fans have enjoyed the woes of their rivals over the past few years, in many ways, bizarrely, Newcastle need a better Sunderland, so we can reinsert our derby back onto the fixture list.