For our second Wear-Tyne derby ‘Who are You?’, we welcome Terry Pattinson*, a veteran of old-fashioned labour reporting (he was an award-winning industrial editor of the Daily Mirror. Terry was born in Gateshead and schooled on Wearside. So he has some affection for Sunderland – but his passion is Newcastle. That said, he’s a self-confessed Jinx to Mag fortunes, a trait his dad identified when he was nipper. What a shame we cannot get him to the SoL on Sunday – Newcastle could be three up and still lose if only Terry was there …
Salut! Sunderland: Introduce yourself, Terry, and give us your honest thoughts on Sunderland – the club, the fans, the city?
Terry Pattinson: I could easily have become a Sunderland supporter because I developed a great affection for the club and the townspeople. My parents sent me to school in Sunderland when I was 12 (until 17) and my first two jobs were in Sunderland. I lived in digs in the Roker area and watched the red-and-whites many times.
But I was born in Gateshead, surrounded by fanatical Newcastle fans and family, and was hooked on the Magpies after watching my first game when I was about 11. My father always called me “The Jinx” after that, because we were losing 1-0 at home to Swansea when the fog on the Tyne came down ……….
The game was abandoned. My dad eventually stopped taking me to games because we always lost when I was there. He always stood in a different part of the ground when he knew I was there and blamed me if we lost.
When I was 12 (1956) Newcastle beat Sunderland twice in the same season (3-1 at home and 6-1 at Roker Park). We then played them in the quarter finals of the FA Cup at SJP and, in front of 62,000 people, we lost 2-0 to the Mackems. I was there and my dad blamed me. Len Shackleton and Jackie Milburn played in that game on different sides, Shack’s return adding spice.
And talking of Shack ….
Len was the George Best of his day and it was a tragedy for the Magpies when he went to Sunderland. After helping his new team to beat Newcastle 2-0 at SJP in 1956 Shack declared that Newcastle would never win the FA Cup again. He was a Mystic Meg because so far he has been proved right!
I attended his book signing at Sunderland (the book with the famous blank page) He was smoking a pipe … imagine that being allowed today? He was a truly great player and did things no other player could do. He should have played for England many more times.
* Guess the score in SAFC vs NUFC and maybe win a framed dressing-room print of either club: https://safc.blog/2015/10/safc-v-newcastle-united-3-guess-the-score-six-in-a-row/
So fast forward … what on earth is wrong with North-Eastern football, at least that played by our two clubs?
The decline of both clubs is a mystery, because both clubs attract tremendous support. The late Bill Shankley and Brian Clough showed us how it could be done. Newcastle and Sunderland could have won trophies with those two men in charge.
Newcastle “blew it” after winning the FA Cup three times in five years during the early 1950s. That was the time to invest in the team, but we failed to grasp the nettle and settled for seasons of mediocrity, with poor players and poor managers.
I thought there was hope under Joe Harvey, but in spite of the Inter-Cities Cup win in 1969 were have never had a smell of a major trophy. We were outplayed in cup finals against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal
What is really painful is the knowledge that we have had some superb players.
We now have your ex-manager Big Sam in charge. Some wag suggested, when I invited ideas for the generic name to give his post-match emails, wittily offered Allarbyes. Will he save us?
Big Sam is the man to save Sunderland and I would not be surprised if he won the derby 2-1.
And what about your lot? Probably a toss-up on who has the worse team, though you did well at Old Trafford and at home to Chelsea, then last Sunday of course. But where does the blame lie for the decline of NUFC?
McClaren may win a few games and stay in the Premier League but I cannot see him winning trophies.
But Mike Ashley and Short are clearly not the men to take the clubs forward. They obviously are reluctant to spend the cash necessary and who can blame them? Spending more than £20 million on one player is obscene beyond belief.
Making do with what we have got would appear to be the order of the day, which means mid-table mediocrity at best.
The annual fight against relegation appears to be all we have got to look forward to…and we are now debating who has got the WORST team.
Who are the United players to turn your season?
Possibly, just possibly, the 6-2 victory over Norwich will give Sissoko, Perez, Mitrovic and Georginio Wijnaldum the confidence to score more goals.
You must have seen some tasty players in black and white over the years; who were the greatest in your view?
My heroes include goalie Ron Simpson, Frank Brennan, Stan Anderson (from Sunderland!!); Bob Moncur, Bryan “Pop” Robson, John McGrath, Jim Iley, Wyn Davies, George Eastham, Ivor Allchurch, Len White, Bobby Mitchell, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle, Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Les Ferdinand and Gazza.
But my favourite Newcastle players have to be Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Keegan and Gazza.
And who should never have been allowed near SJP?
The list of players who should never have been allowed to step onto the pitch at SJP is too long to mention! The names of a few come to mind but I relegate them to history.
Personal highs and lows as a supporter?
My biggest high against Sunderland was, of course, the 6-1 away win in 1956 [Terry couldn’t get to the 9-1 Sunderland away win in 1908 – Ed]. The biggest lows have been the string of recent derby defeats and losing the first division play-offs to Sunderland a few seasons ago.
It ranges from harmless banter – Mackems laughing at “Geordie nation” arrogance, Mags sneering at Sad Mackem Bastards – to sheer venom, but what do you make of the tribal divide?
I enjoy the banter between the fans but I dislike the crude tribalism displayed by some uncouth people from both camps. The track record of both clubs is looking dismal as the years roll by and we should stop arguing about who is the bigger club. We are now both pygmies on the international and world stage.
We do not attract the most famous players, and will not pay the price for them anyway. We do not look good enough to get into the top eight of the Premier League never mind getting into the European Champions League. This is a tragedy for the fans, who deserve better.
Any special football memories?
A few years ago the Guinness PR guru invited me to the executive box at QPR (whom they sponsored) when they played Sunderland and he and his fellow executives could not believe it when I jumped up and down with delight every time QPR scored. For some strange reason they thought I was a Mackem and did not realise I supported Newcastle.
Weeks later they invited me again, to see the match against Newcastle. Needless to say the result was QPR 3 Newcastle 0.(The Jinx was there). I have only seen Newcastle win three times in the league away from home over 40 years – at Spurs, Chelsea and Crystal Palace, and once in the FA Cup at Chester.
Newcastle usually get the NIL. We were once 4-0 up at half time at QPR (under Jack Charlton) and only drew 5-5! Yes, the Jinx was there. My specs flew off and I never saw them again – we could not win even at 4-0 up.
When Spurs won the historic double in 1961 they won 4-3 at SJP after being 3-0 down to the Magpies at half time. Yes, I was there. We were beating the famous Busby Babes 1-0 (just before the Munich disaster) with two minutes to go and lost 2-1. Yes, I was there.
Top four for this season?
Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
And bottom three?
My bottom three are Aston Villa, Bournemouth and A N Other (I hope it is not Newcastle or Sunderland).
Is it time to give up on diving and the rest of the cheating that mars the modern game and just accept it as something players are now taught to do? Or do you have a radical plan for stamping it out?
I am a referee, with 50 years’ experience, and hate the ‘diving’ that has crept into the game over the past 30 years. Putting the culprits in a sin bin for 15 minutes would help stop it, along with a yellow card. I would also award a penalty for a “professional foul” even if the offence takes places outside the penalty area. This would stop defenders pulling shirts and “taking out” opponents.
How will you follow the match and how will it go?
My heart says Newcastle will win, particularly after thrashing Norwich, but my head says it must be Sunderland. Reasons: Big Sam wants revenge, the fans want a record 6-in-a-row victories, Sunderland are desperate for their first win of the season, Newcastle rarely win away, and because Newcastle are conceding two goals every match. My forecast is 2-1 or even 3-1. Newcastle’s “defence” is like a sieve.
But I hope
* it is a good game with no red cards
* Newcastle fans do not punch police horses
* Sunderland lose the game but escape the drop
* Big Sam does well for you.
I never watch Newcastle live on television because it is too stressful, and do not listen to them on the radio either. I am happy to watch them on MOTD, even if we have been slaughtered. It is great watching MOTD when I know they have finally won a game!!!.
Tell us more about yourself, young man: Left school at 17 to become a civil servant, went into journalism in 1962 with the Blaydon Courier, then joined the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal (Sunderland, South Shields and Jarrow offices), then went to Fleet Street via The Sun and Daily Express (Manchester) and then the Daily Express London) and Daily Mirror (London).
I was Reporter of the Year in the 1990 British Press Awards when I was Daily Mirror industrial editor.
Since 1993 I have worked for two trade unions, the Surrey police force and numerous weekly newspapers. I am currently a freelance working three days a week as a senior reporter for the Reading Chronicle, Ascot News, Bracknell News and Wokingham News. based at Reading.
Interview: Colin Randall