So, here we go. It’s that time again.  derby_Logo_1 (1)

The Mackems are in town. I actually hate this fixture. It has my nerves shot. The stomach has been  churning since full time on Tuesday. To every fan who ‘gets’ what this fixture means, every possible outcome dominates the thoughts for at least 4 days before the game. Your mind is full of potential dread, then potential victory, then more dread, a shake of the head to snap out of it and then the inside voice throws up the compromise possibility of the draw. Briefly, inside voice is offering the ‘save face’ option and it’s a good one, publically, I’ll even take it, but then you remember a painful defeat or just want victory over the foe and its’ “Fuck the draw, I want to win” – and before you know it, 20 minutes of your life has just passed by and you’ve done fuck all but think about the match, then you realise its only Thursday.

When the day comes, fuck me, that’s even worse. If you’re lucky, you’ll be holed up in a Tyneside Speakeasy at an unprecedented hour of the day. Your thoughts are 100 mph, you can’t eat, fucking no chance of sleep, just drink. The beer doesn’t really help, but convince yourself that it does and plough on. Everyone wants to know what you think will happen but, A) There’s no way you want to jinx it and B) You haven’t got a clue….. I mean, all of your ‘derby day superstitions’ have been ticked off, but fuck… what if some slack bastard has put the wrong socks on? Fuck that, so you say nowt, drink more and wish it was over.

The actual 90 minutes….. Pure, mental anguish, you just want it finished, upon which, there are 3 possibilities….. !, win – Celebrate, acting in a mature manner is tossed to one side, and drinking goes through the roof, the world is a fantastic place and you will probably buy a printed newspaper or two on the Monday. 2. Draw – not the end of the world, life goes on, everything is as it was, friendships remain intact. 3. NUFC fuck up and it is the worst feeling in the world of sport. No drink! Fuck that, straight home, in a huff, won’t talk to anyone for 2 or 3 days. Everyone’s a bastard and the chance for revenge seems a long way away…..

To be honest, the mood is not good at the moment. Whilst the Cabaye transfer grew inevitable by the end, the realisation of it was still a kick in the balls. In the end, there were far too many references to Webster Ruling scenarios and agreements in place, that it is impossible not to conclude that the player wanted to leave United. That’s fine, they come and go and I don’t expect a lad from France to pretend that all he’s ever wanted to do, since being a child is play for Newcastle United. But let’s stop pretending that it’s all about the Champion’s League. Cabaye back heeled Lille’s Champion’s League campaign when United offered the chance for him to earn more cash and now PSG have provided an opportunity to earn even more. It’s all about the money. It’s best not to fall in love with footballers, mind I cant say I’m sad to see the end of the cringey “Dreamboat” nonsense or that fucking shit song. Still no riots sighted in NE1.

So, the challenge now is to find and sign his replacement. That’s no small task as Cabaye was an excellent player on his day, but with Joe Kinnear having an active role in this task, few would expect anything to actually happen. It might not even get to Joe’s door as it appears we’ve targeted a player in Grenier who has little interest in joining United. It strikes me that our contingency plan may not have been all that well thought out.

A warm welcome to Luuk De Jong. I have absolutely no interest in what he’s done in the past, it’s all about what he does now. Instant hero status awaits if he can score the winner on Saturday.

I must admit, I have a very bad feeling about this game. That’s down to a few things. 1. Our team will look absolutely nothing like the one which had us nesting in the top half of the table. 2. They’re on absolute fire at the minute, their manager has worked miracles and despite the fact that he looks like a primitive man, he knows how to get his team to dig out results. 3. There is such a generally down beat feeling around the club that I can’t see the most encouraging atmosphere coming from the stands. 4 We seem to have had a huge amount of fans seemingly testing and tempting fate for months that egg on the face seems inevitable.

The Mackems have been busy in the January window and have brought in Marcos Alonso, Oscar Ustari, Satiago Vergini, Nacho Scocco and Liam Bridcutt. Whilst I’ll admit, I haven’t heard of a single one of them, and for all I know, they may all be hopeless, but, at least when their Manager decides he wants a player, they go out and get him.

Their position in the league would suggest they could do with reinforcements, however, they are very much on the up at the moment. They sit 17thafter a win over Stoke lifted them out of the bottom 3. Their away form is won 2 at Everton (1-0) and Fulham (4-1), they’ve drawn 4, at Southampton (1-1), West Ham (0-0), Aston Villa (0-0) and Cardiff (2-2). They’ve lost 5, at, Crystal Palace (3-1), WBA (3-0), Swansea (4-0), Hull (1-0) and Stoke (2-0). Their last away defeat was in November! Adam Johnson is their leading scorer with 8 goals.

They seem fairly settled on Mannone in goal and Bardsley has returned to the side after some casino faux pas and a twitter remark left him out in the cold. The base for their upturn in form seems to be centred around their centre back pairing of O’Shea and Brown whilst Alonso has came in at left back. Ki appears critical to their grand plan whilst it seems the other positions either get filled by Colback, Larsson, Cattermole or Gardiner although their new man Bridcutt may make his debt.

Borini and Johnson either make it a midfield 5 or attacking 3 and have the task of feeding either Altidore or Fletcher. Scocco is a centre forward apparently, so he may feature too.

Westwood and Cuellar are on the treatment table and they’re free from suspensions.

Team News

Well, frankly, we’re a complete mess here. The spine of the team is missing, with Coloccini, Cabaye and Remy all removed from the side which had done well over the first half of the season. Gouffran is also on the injury list and fuck knows what the craic is with Cisse. A back injury has been mooted but so to have transfer stories from all across the globe.

Remy’s stupid and totally unnecessary red card causes us a big problem. This incident summed up our lack of switched on, leadership on the park. Nobody had the nous to get onto Remy during the pushing and get him out of the situation with the risk of missing the derby looming.

For 45 minutes on Tuesday, we played really well and dominated the ball, the lack of a killer touch was highlighted numerous times, but I thought Ben Arfa – despite one awful miss, looked sharp.

I expect Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Taylor and Santon to make up our back 4 although Santon can knock the set pieces on the head. He’s shit at them.

Tiote and Anita will continue in the centre with Sissoko likely to be partnered by Hatem Ben Arfa (if he’s fit) and Sammy Ameobi. Neither of whom I’m confident can last 90 minutes.

Up front, it looks like being Shola Ameobi on his own which to be honest does not inspire me. De Jong is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.


R Taylor – Knee – out for the season

Coloccini – Hamstring  – Due back vs. Aston Villa

Gouffran – fitness test requied

Cisse – Back


Remy – 3 games

Possible Team (4-2-3-1)

1.Krul: 2. Debuchy, 5. Williamson, 6. Steven Taylor, 3.Santon: 4. Tiote (Capt), 8. Anita: 7. Sissoko, 10. Ben Arfa, 11. Sammy Ameobi: 9. Shola Ameobi:


Elliot, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Obertan, Gosling, De Jong,

Referee: Phil Dowd

History vs The Mackems at SJP

1984/85: Won 3-1 United were not finding the return to Division One easy and had been on a tricky run. By New Year’s Day, the spine of our team were missing (you may want to clutch at this straw for Saturday) as skipper Glen Roeder, centre midfielder, Dave McCreery and striker Chris Waddle were absent from the team sheet. What followed, was a master class by our star man, Peter Beardsley. He cracked in a hat-trick. Sunderland would be relegated despite a league cup final appearance at Wembley….. Hmmmm!!!  Attendance, 36,529

1989/90: Drew 1-1 By the time United joined them in Division 2, our team had changed considerably. With promotion on the agenda, Sunderland arrived in February. Mark McGhee rescued a point after Gabbiadini had put them ahead. Attendance, 31,572

We’d meet again for the play offs disaster, you might not want to watch this fucker

1991/92: Won 1-0 Ossie Ardiles had left us staring at Division 3, but Keegan arrived and gave us hope. Throughout the doom and gloom of this campaign, a couple of players stood out and deservedly have their names etched in memories of everyone who was around to see them. One was Gavin peacock and the other was David Kelly. Kelly was in no way, shape or form a patch on Yohan Cabaye, but you can give me ‘Ned’ any day of the week. He was a genuine player, never shirked responsibility and scored crucial goals for United. If modern day players had his attitude and ethics then the club’s fans would still feel a connection with the players. Kelly hit the winner to settle this one in front of 30,306

1992/93: Won 1-0 With United heading for the Championship and Sunderland dangerously close to relegation Scott Sellars fired home a superb free kick to win us the points. Keegan had a hex over Sunderland and we won every derby under his management. No wonder they don’t like him. Attendance, 30,364

See this link 6 minutes in

1996/97: Drew 1-1 With Keegan a thing of the past, Dalglish was in charge and having been blown out of the UEFA cup by Monaco, he set about finishing as high as possible. We went behind to a Michael Gray goal but Shearer equalised. Kelly was applauded on a Mackem substitute whilst Waddle, the fucking, Judas, cunt, was jeered. Attendance, 36,582

Shearer’s goal is here 2 mins 45

 1999/00: Lost 1-2 The night to forget. Pissing down rain, Stand In goal keeper, Shearer and Ferguson on the bench. Kieran Dyer put us ahead but Quinn and Phillips turned it around. Attendance, 36,420

 2000/01: Lost 1-2 Now under Bobby Robson, again we suffered defeat on our patch. Gary Speed put us in front but Hutchison (spit) and Quinn did for us again. Attendance, 52,030

2001/02: Drew 1-1 After Phillips had put them in front, a superb Laurent Robert Ball put Craig Bellamy away and unusually for him, he finished 1 on 1 with aplomb. Attendance, 52,021

Bellamy goal after 40 seconds

2002/03: Won 2-0 Finally we won. Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer in a pretty one sided game. Attendance, 52,181

Bellamy goal 1 minute 40

Shearer goal 15 mins 30

2005/06: Won 3-2 A fucking unbelievable game. With our fans singing ridiculous fate tempting shite and made to look cunts twice! The Fenham Eusabio and Emre eventually settled it. Attendance,

Shola Ameobi’s goals

Emre goal

2007/08: Won 2-0 With Keegan back at the helm this result was never really in doubt. They weren’t much cop and Michael Owen scored 2. Attendance, 52,305

Owen’s penalty

2008/09: Drew 1-1 It really is best if you black out Kinnear’s stint in charge in this season. Shola Ameobi got us out of the shit after Cisse had put them in front. Attendance, 52,084

Shola’s goal 1 min 9

2010/11: Won 5-1 The day it all came together and we delivered a right good hiding. Kevin Nolan whacked in a hat-trick and danced like a chicken! Shola Ameobi obliged with 2. Attendance, 51,988

2011/12: Drew 1-1 Ameobi to the rescue again after Bednter’s penalty had us staring at defeat. Ba missed a penalty and everyone wondered why Shola didn’t take it! Sessegnon and Cattermole would both see red cards. Attendance, 52,388

Shola’s goal after 3 minutes

2013/14: Lost 0-3 Completely outclassed, out-thought, outfought and outplayed. A day where Pardew’s credentials were questioned by many. Attendance, 52,355

You might want to give this a swerve too

 Mackem Fanzines

A Love Supreme

Danger Men

Johnson and Borini have given us problems before. Fletcher is a threat. You should probably expect Altidore to score. It would be wise to not give Bardsley a chance to shoot given his record lately.


Alan Pardew simply can’t afford defeat. His standing amongst a large section of our crowd simply can’t take a 3rd defeat to Sunderland on the spin. There is immense pressure on him. When a side loses the first derby of the season, that creates it’s own pressure in the second one and we have to deal with that too. They’ll be bang up for this, and no doubt they’ll have loads of funny Wembley songs to treat us to as if we’ve never been there ourselves. (4 fucking times I’ve been and each one was shit) With all that’s going on, I’d make them favourites. I’d urge everyone to forget about all of the current issues at United and for 90 minutes get behind our lot and get into their lot. If we can pull off a victory here then it would be immensely satisfying but I must admit, I fear another defeat* and probably a one as wide as last season too. Sad times!

*By the time kick off arrives I will have been convinced of every single possible outcome

CHRIS BETTS                                                                       TF_INITIALS_LOGO