Soapbox: a day to savour


First things first: it was not Pete Sixsmith that we captured from TV coverage of the end-of-match celebrations, but Gerry McGregor, a stalwart of the Blackcats list. Look at the pictures below and decide whether we were justified in being misled for a short time. Now on to the business: an emotional day provided perfect inspiration for Pete’s eloquence …

In my years on this planet, 58 and a bit, there have been a few highlights: Leeds winning the Rugby League Challenge Cup in 1957, us at Wembley ’73 and Michael Portillo’s face in 1997. To that sparse total add May 24 2009 and a home defeat by Chelsea.

I don’t think I have ever celebrated a defeat as much as I did this one. At the infamous game at Notts County in 1994, we slunk out ashamed that a late goal had relegated Brentford rather than us. Sunday was completely different.

All week, I had been an even bigger pain in the arse than usual. A cloud of gloom hovered over my head at work, while at home I chose solitude and live music rather than company. Not even excellent gigs from Alan Price and King Creosote could dispel the prospect of impending relegation.

On Sunday, I was reduced to asking complete strangers “What does your heart say, what does your head say?” as if it would make the slightest difference to the result. I entered the Stadium in a state similar to that experienced on a visit to the dentist: get it over with as quickly as possible and bring the pain to an end.

For 10 minutes as Chelsea ran all over us. I sat there with my head in my hands. Doug Forrest, in the next seat, enquired whether I wanted a blindfold. Blackpool and Doncaster loomed in my thoughts. Depression, humiliation, torture were my mental bedfellows.

Then the team and the crowd began to stir. We won tackles, made interceptions, passed accurately-ish. A roar as we heard that Hull had gone a goal down and then the gloom lifted. There was no way that they would score twice

1 thought on “Soapbox: a day to savour”

  1. A wonderful post Pete. It made the 4000 miles disappear for a moment reading that. It was an unforgettable day, and no mistake. You mentioned the celebration of a loss as if it were victory. I think that we were probably stood at the back of the stand behind the goal at Notts County all those years ago, and the end was a complete embarrassment, and so unlike yesterday. In some respects it was all the more enjoyable because we lost and still sent them down!
    It’s the first time in my life that I refused to watch a Sunderland game when I could have done. The strangest of days and the greatest of moments.

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