For most Premier League viewers in the US, this week’s version of ‘Super Sunday’ is all about the matchup between big money clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City. There are actually four other BPL matches on Sunday, two of them are on at the same time as Chelsea-City: Tottenham-Hull City and Swansea City-West Ham United. It’s safe to say these matches will have a significantly smaller viewing audience.
But the first match of the day on Super Sunday is the only one in its time slot, the Tyne-Wear Derby.
The kick-off between Sunderland and Newcastle United is scheduled for 9:30am EST (6:30am PST). It’s safe to say the majority of viewers will overlook this contest or chose to stay tucked in their beds for a few more hours. But they would be missing out on one of the more intense English derbies on the calendar.
Last season at the Stadium of Light, there were two goals, a sending off, and tons of hostility. Sunderland has only won two of their last seventeen derbies. But new manager Gus Poyet has a good record against Newcastle and home advantage, so Sunderland will feel they have more than a chance.
Strange things happen all the time in derby matches. Just look at the London derby result between Tottenham and West Ham from three weeks ago.
Sunderland-Newcastle will surely provide some heated moments which will warm your Sunday morning (no matter where in the world you are). These matches are rarely nil-nil as both clubs always come looking for three points against each other. The Stadium of Light will be packed to the rafters and full of noise. The Tyne-Wear Derby is a rivalry that goes beyond football and dates back to the English Civil War.
It is not something football fans will want to sleep through.
Some Sunderland fans have been commenting that they would rather win these derbies and be relegated, than lose to their bitter rivals. Those fans should probably be institutionalized, but it shows the feverish passion this game invokes.
Despite their poor record, Sunderland supporters have never wavered in their loyalty to the club. The Stadium of Light continues to be at near capacity every week (they are averaging a little over 42,000 a match) and the noise has been deafening at times. This match will undoubtedly bring out the best of the supporters in the North East of England.
For Sunderland, this match can energize supporters and jump start their season (apologies for the overused cliché).
The club is bottom of the table, sitting on ONE POINT after eight matches, and has a goal differential of -15. They are seven points from safety (really eight points because of the goal differential) and truth be told there isn’t a club in the Premiership that looks as bad as Sunderland. Sometimes a poor record can be chalked up to a combination poor luck, injuries, or bad management. But Sunderland has had all of these and they just appear like a club on its way out of the league.