The great derby debate

The Tyne-Wear derby is one of the most passionate rivalries in the world of football. On match days, the two neighbouring cities are divided, but so too is the Uni campus, it seems. Sports Editor Calum Wilson caught up with Newcastle fan Joe Herbert and Sunderland fan Liam Carson to debate the key talking points from the recent fixture.

For those few who don’t know, Sunderland made it 6 wins in a row against their rivals with a 3-0 victory. However, the game was shrouded in controversy. Newcastle had dominated without scoring and as the first half drew to a close, Sunderland mounted a rare break and a clumsy Fabricio Coloccini brought down Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher, that saw the Newcastle captain sent off and the home side awarded a penalty.

“It was like a tackle from American Football, he just takes him out”, states Carson. To which our Geordie representative immediately replies, “It’s clumsy but those kind of challenges happen all over the pitch”. The Mackem corner contests the legality of Coloccini’s shoulder charge, claiming that “normally you get a free-kick” for a challenge of that nature.

“As if the awarding of the penalty wasn’t controversial enough, the scoring of it was even more so.”

Both later agreed that referee Robert Madley was probably right in awarding the penalty to Sunderland, although Herbert accuses striker Steven Fletcher of “going down way too easily”. Perhaps surprisingly, they were also in agreement that the red card shown to Coloccini was unfair. “It wasn’t a red card”, says Carson, “it’s obvious the keeper was going to get there first”.

As if the awarding of the penalty wasn’t controversial enough, the scoring of it was even more so. Up stepped Adam Johnson. The Sunderland winger has come under intense ridicule and scrutiny from supporters and the media, since being accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, the trial has been pushed back to next year.

Having netted the penalty, Johnson proceeded to run the length of the pitch in order to celebrate his goal in front of the travelling Geordies, who have orchestrated a large amount of mockery towards the player since the incident became public. Newcastle fan Herbert’s dislike for the player is clear, he simply states, “we don’t even need to go into detail about Johnson”.

At the other end of the table, Mackem Carson is quick to leap to Johnson’s defence, arguing that the 28-year-old was more than within his right to release his frustration in celebration. “He was very justified in going down the other end, he’s been getting abuse all over the place from your (Newcastle) fans, he just wanted to let the passion out”.

“A derby defeat is always hard to swallow”

Even with 10 men, Newcastle maintained the majority of the possession and created more chances and yet were undone by two second half goals. Carson admits that Sunderland were lucky to reach half time with the lead. “We didn’t turn up in the first half, we were diabolical, that’s the worst we’ve played all season”.

A derby defeat is always hard to swallow, but for Herbert this particular loss was the bitterest. “For the last 5 meetings, you (Sunderland) played us off the park, but this one, especially in the first half, we were absolutely smashing it and I thought we’ve got this in the bag”.

It’s now 6 derby wins in a row in Sunderland’s favour, to which Carson proudly announces “we’ve already got shirts printed”. With his pride at stake, Herbert is quick to remind us that “we still finish above them in the table every year”. It’s clearly a small consolation for the Newcastle faithful and Carson claims, “it just shows how bitter the fans are”.

What’s certain is that the next Tyne-Wear match up will be another hotly fought affair. Herbert believes his side will have the upper hand, “considering we would have smashed this one if that refereeing decision hadn’t have happened, I reckon we would have won about 3-0”. However, Carson, full of confidence, cheekily proclaims, “I can see 7 coming”.

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