On this day 37 years ago, the United Arab Emirates – the country I call home – was born.
Arriving back, in the early hours of this morning, from a holiday on the Nile, I could hardly miss the scores of 37 signs that brilliantly illuminated all roads through Abu Dhabi.
Things have been so gloomy in my absence – no points from two home games that ought to have produced six; rumours that Keano has “lost” the dressing room (though, to be fair, that is said about every manager in crisis) and a recurrence of serious relegation concerns – that I felt entitled to look for anything that might bring brightness into a Sunderland supporter’s heart.
And come to think of it, 37 – whichever way you look at the number – isn’t a bad place to start……
* ’37…. Sunderland 3 Preston North End 1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley
* ’73…. Sunderland 1 Leeds United 0, also in the FA Cup final at Wembley
* 3 and 7 make 10… the number of goals scored at St James’ Park 100 years ago on Friday. And we scored nine of them, making it jointly the highest top flight away win in English football history (a centenary Pete Sixsmith will mark here later this week)
* 37th…. the wedding anniversary I celebrated a couple of weeks ago
* 7-3…. the scoreline in one of the greatest footballing spectacles ever witnessed (Real Madrid v Eintracht in the 1960 European Cup final played at Hampden Park).
OK. we’re beginning to run out of steam now (since the weddding anniversary reference, I mean, love!)….but a good feeling – the sort most of us felt when Histon beat Leeds (about which more will also soon appear here) is worth sharing around a little in these grim times.
Happy birthday UAE, and here’s to a 37th minute Djibril Cissé winner at Old Trafford.