Sunderland Out West: a stiffer test looms against Pachuca from Mexico’s Premier

Jesse Burch

So Sacramento Republic move offstage and CF (that’s FC to us) Pachuca are ushered on from the wings. Paul Pattison, from the Sunderland AFC North American Supporters’ Association (and long before that from Annfield Plain), did sterling – or should that be top-dollar – work before and after the defeat at Sacramento. Now Jesse Burch – appropriately an actor and as through-and-through American as the name suggests – takes a bow, introducing himself and the second match of SAFC’s North American tour, when the Lads return to Sacramento’s Bonney Field stadium to take on a club founded by British miners, tin not coal, in the capital of Mexico’s Hidalgo state, in honour of whom Salut! Sunderland has dug out a clip of the marvellous Show of Hands song Cousin Jack …

Hello there! I’m Jesse Burch, US-born and bred and have been supporting Sunderland since the year SuperKev won the Golden Boot.

Why Sunderland? Totally, utterly random. A friend of mine invited me to join a Premier League low-stakes, week-to-week betting pool whereby we’d pick results for quarters.

Like I said: low stakes. To make it interesting, he suggested I follow a team myself, but the only ones left (his mates had chosen their teams already) were Southampton, Derby, and Sunderland. I did my bit of research, liked the Quinn-Phillips partnership, have always loved an underdog anyhow – and the rest is history. I could’ve walked away without reciprocity at any time in the last 15 years, but I can’t. I’m Sunderland ’til I die.

Salut! Sunderland asked me to take the reins and report on our third preseason friendly for 2015-2016 and I’m happy to do so. This will be the first of three dispatches from yours truly.

For this first piece, I wanted to spend a little time on our Friday opposition, CF Pachuca, from the Mexican Liga MX.

Founded in 1901 by Cornish miners – something in common with Sunderland’s proud collier history! – Pachuca is one of the oldest still-existing football clubs in the Americas and one of the founding members of the Mexican Primera Division.

A bit of a yo-yo team (again, like Sunderland) through the 60s and 70s, Pachuca finally achieved some stability in the Mexican Premier League in 1998. Since then, (and unlike Sunderland) Pachuca have won quite a few trophies in the past two decades, and has been one of the most successful clubs in Mexico, winning five national championships, four CONCACAF Champions’ Cups, the 2007 SuperLiga and one Copa Sudamericana in 2006.

Pachuca is also the first Mexican football team to reach 100 years of existence. So there’s a proud history behind Los Tuzos, or “the Gophers” which, given their mining history, I really like as a nickname. And lest the reader think this moniker silly or twee, they also carry the other two honorifics, El Equipo de México and La Cuna del Fútbol, which mean “Mexico’s Team” and “The Cradle of Soccer”, respectively. Indeed!

CF Pachuca are located in the city of Pachuca, the capital and largest city in the state of Hidalgo, which lies in central Mexico, slightly closer to the Gulf.

Pachuca play at home in white shirt with navy blue stripes. Their away kit is a black shirt with orange stripes, although from their inception to the mid-60s they played exclusively in black and white. But we won’t hold that against them, will we? Or will we…

Midfielder Erick Gutiérrez Galaviz is their top scorer at the moment with six goals, followed by forwards Ariel Nahuelpan and Germán Cano with four apiece. Pachuca’s Lee Cattermole is midfielder Jorge Hernandez, with 5 yellow cards and one red. Watch out Lads!

After 17 matches, CF Pachuca currently sit in 7th place on 25 points, just four points behind table toppers UANL and Club America. Pachuca are managed by Uruguayan Diego Alonso, who interestingly, played for his national team alongside one Gustavo Poyet.

I’ll be at the game on Friday to hopefully see the Lads take one win with them from California before visiting Toronto. It should be a tough test! I’ll have more after the match.

Ha’way the Lads!

All those contributing to the Sunderland Out West series belong to the Sunderland SAFC North American Supporters’ Association. Check out the association’s Facebook pages at

* Our guest writer has a short Wikipedia entry that starts with the bold declaration: Jesse Burch (born September 2, 1970) is an actor, born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, USA. He is a supporter of English football team Sunderland AFC. His credits are an episode of The King of Queens, a US television sitcom, and Widstar, a video game. The IMBD database tells us more, mentioning his original name – Jesse Johnson – and appearances in The Ring Two (2005), Evan Almighty (2007) and Flightplan (2005). Jesse – not the only actor to grace these pages; think Melanie Hill and Joe Simpson – is warmly invited to bring his biog up to date for Salut! Sunderland readers in his next dispatches.

4 thoughts on “Sunderland Out West: a stiffer test looms against Pachuca from Mexico’s Premier”

  1. Phil – Get yourself signed up as a member – We have one other member in Mexico City, would be great to double our quota! 🙂

  2. Very interesting article.

    I live in Mexico City but was born in Sunderland. I follow Sunderland and my wife and I are season ticket holders for Pumas, who play in the 1968 Olympic stadium, famous for the black power salute and Bob Beamon’s enormous long jump record.

    The season has actually finished but the top eight in the league play in a cup competition for the league title. Pachuca reached the semis and got knocked out after a 2-2 draw.

    We went to the mine near Pachuca, outside which the first game of football in Mexico was played. Cornish miners brought the game over, along with pasties which are popular in the region.

    Pasties (pastes) now have a Mexican touch – you can get traditional ones but also others such as mole, which is savoury, and some sweet ones like rice pudding or pineapple. There must be at least twenty varieties of pasty.

  3. Welcome to the Salut! Sunderland stable Jesse. A topper read as they might say in the North East of England.

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