It’s a Sunday match but it is also the Wear-Tyne derby – and we have a Saturday match to try to forget. This may also be the first of two Wear-Tyne derby Who are You? features, so let’s start early. And the first man in the hot seat is none other than Geordiedoonsooth, whose regular visits to Salut! Sunderland provide a fair amount of mild banter. He reveals himself as Ray Mossom, a Geordie of the long-exiled variety (Monsieur Salut, away from the North East since the rather important year of 1973, cannot get too sniffy about that). You will decide what to make of his replies, his views and his predictions -you’ll all be pleased to see he stills feels the pain, very acutely, of last season’s SAFC romp at SJP – but I’m chuffed he agreed to do it …
Newcastle United are 11th as I write, we are rock bottom. Does that produce a mischievous grin?
I have to say it does bring a wry smile to my face after all the pre-season hype around Di Canio
Both teams seemed likely to struggle as the season started. Are you surprised at NUFC’s reasonably comfortable start or our catastrophic one and is it a case of all is forgiven Mike Ashley?
I am very suprised by the Toon’s start. Apart from the Hull & Everton games I think we have made a very solid start. As for Mr Ashley if he would open up a bit it might be better it’s his’ I don’t give a monkey’s about the fans’ attitude which really annoys us. Am I surprised to see you struggle? Not really. I thought that a lot of the players bought during the summer weren’t good enough.
Right, let’s cut to the chase. Is the Wear-Tyne rivalry mostly harmless banter, has poisonous malice become more prevalent in recent years or has it always been a mix of the two? And should we all just grow up?
Though there has always been bad feelings between the two sets of fans fortunately most is just banter (I have some good friends who are Mackems). I do think that the TV has made things a lot worse over the last few years. Should we grow up? Nah. What we should do is realise that it is banter and have a drink afterwards, not try and punch each others heads in.
How important is Cabaye to you and what impact would it have on the team’s fortunes if he got his way and went?
Cabaye is very important to our team he would be a massive loss and while no one is indispensable he would take a lot of replacing.
What have been your own highs and lows as a Newcastle supporter?
Being an old git I would say my biggest high was being at the match when we won the Fairs Cup in 1969. Other highs when my son was mascot at SJP, Keegan’s entertainers and Sir Bobby’s boys. Lows: lots and lots the numerous relegations, and missing out on two Premier League titles and two FA cup finals. The biggest was losing to you lot last season and watching Di Canio jumping up and down like an idiot.
Who have been the greatest players you’ve seen, or wished you’d seen, in black and white stripes and who should have been allowed nowhere near them?
The greatest players? I have seen lots as I said I’m an old git. Len White was my first hero, along with George Eastham & Ivor Allchurch. A certain Stan Anderson was an outstanding player for both clubs, Supermac, Tony Green, Jim Smith, Keegan, McDermott, Moncur, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Waddle, Asprilla, Ginola, Ferdinand and Shearer. Of today’s lot Ben Arfa on song is a joy to watch. I would have liked to have seen Bobby Charlton & George Best in a NUFC shirt. The worst players? Even more of them. The whole team in 1977. Mike Dinnis’s side were bloody useless. Marcelino was a classic waste of space.
Do you have any powerful memories – good, bad or amusing – of past Wear-Tyne (or Tyne-Wear) games?
First derby I saw was a 1-1 draw at SJP a certain Mr Clough scored for your lot. The 3-3 draw at Roker Park when John McNamee swung on the cross bar after scoring the equalise. I remember one derby (in 1964 I think) at SJP it poured with rain and there were lots of rumours about the game being postponed we went up anyway and the game was on, it was played in torrential rain and we won 1-0, the crowd was one of the smallest for any derby as most people thought the game was off. The 5-0 drubbing a couple of years ago was very enjoyable. Worst ones? Not too many really but last season’s 3-0 home defeat was a very bitter pill to swallow.
And what is your honest opinion of Sunderland – the club, the fans, the city – and of Salut! Sunderland, to which you are are an occasional visitor?
Being completely honest:
* The Club – Sunderland have like us flattered to deceive for many years in my opinion they will always be second to us but they are definitely a big club in terms of potential.
* The Fans – They are very similar to us though I don’t think they just turn up willy nilly like we do.
* The city – Sorry but Sunderland will never be a city it is just a large town
* Salut! Sunderland – I think it is a very good web site for all Sunderland fans. I like to go on there to have some banter. What I like about it is, being an ex-non league footballer myself, it does have bits sometimes in about the local clubs.
Same question about Shack, Moncur, Stan Anderson, Jeff Clarke, Lee Clark, Chopra, Stokoe among players and officials who have crossed the divide, either from one club to the other, joined the enemy or otherwise served both.
I think what fans have to realise is that playing football is a job to these guys and if a rival employer comes along and offers you more money then you will go. Apart from those mentioned above Steve Howey was a great player for us but was a Mackem and Dennis Tueart was a great player for you but was a Geordie (I went to school with him). I personally have no problem with a player leaving us to join your lot or visa versa.
What will be this season’s top four in order, and the bottom three?
The Premier League is more open than it has been for years but I still think the top four will be the same as last year but in a different order.
My top four:
2 Man City
4 Man Utd
The bottom three I think it will be:
18 Sunderland (sorry guys but I think Di Canio has f****d you up)
20 Crystal Palace
Where will NUFC and SAFC finish (in the unlikely event that one of those teams were not in your second list)?
I think the toon will finish around 10th – could be higher if we buy in January or could be lower if we don’t and get some injuries. As for Sunderland see the previous question
Club versus country. Which means more to you and why?
While I am a big England fan I remember 1966, 1970, 1990 and 1996 I am first and foremost a Geordie so the Toon come first in my book
What most inspires you about the modern game, and what seriously annoys you?
There is not a lot that inspires me about the modern game. It is much faster than years ago but we are losing the dribbling skill. Every team used to have a really skillful player. Now unless they are foreign you don’t see them. And the thing that annoys me is we are over coaching the kids to the point where they can’t dribble. It’s all pass pass pass until it become boring
Will you be at our game? What will be the score?
I moved down south many years ago and don’t get back much but I will be watching on TV. The score before Poyet was appointed I would have said we would win two or three-nil but he has a jinx over us both as a player and manager so I think it will be a draw. Neither defence is up to much so I think it could be 2-2, though I’ll be praying that we win.
* Ray Mossom on himself:
I was born in Walker in 1948 moved to Cramlington when I got married. I then moved the family down south due to work on 1981. My first Toon game was as a very little boy in 1955, 1-1 with Man Utd. I’ve been hooked on the Toon ever since. Like most Geordies we have no choice it’s ingrained in to from being little my son & grandson are both Toon supporters. The same with you lot it passes from father to son.
I played local league football on Saturdays so didn’t get to many Saturday games but I went to most midweek games and never missed a Fairs Cup game in the season we won it. In the North East I played mainly for my works side, CA Parson, I got my coaching badges in 1979. I played for Camberley and Sandhurst in the south and coached boys from eight to 18 until six years ago. I now watch local Saturday football (pyramid steps 4 & 5) and follow the Toon every day. As an expat it would be nice if the North East football was the same as Manchester with both sides at the top with the Toon top of course, but I have to say I can’t see that happening in my lifetime.
Interview: Colin Randall
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