Click here for Salut! Sunderland’s first look at the derby through Mag eyes …
Let the build-up to the Tyne-Wear derby begin. We think we know plenty already: Newcastle will not do a PSV Eindhoven and beat us 10-0; we won’t repeat the 1908 scoreline of NUFC 1 SAFC 9, and it will be tense on and off the field. Starting today with a priceless tale from the Sunderland-supporting Dr Feelgood lead singer, Salut! Sunderland offers a few bits and pieces of derby-related nostalgia as matchday approaches. We will have at least one Toon “Who are You?” feature. Pete Sixsmith will take his own look back at past encounters before climbing eight miles high in the St James’ Park away end to report on the game. And read on for news of a little competition …
Eleven years ago, Robert Kane took on the massive task of trying to fill the shoes of the original Dr Feelgood frontman, Lee Brilleaux. After Lee’s death from cancer, the band had struggled to replace him, but Sunderland-born Robert rose magnificently to the challenge.
A few years later he spared some time to talk to Wear Down South, magazine of the London and SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association, for a series I had been persuaded by Joan Dawson to research and write on Sunderland celebrity fans.
You can read the full interview by clicking here.
But the opening bit was of special relevance to the Tyne/Wear derby. It ran like this:
As Dr Feelgood left the stage at Newcastle Opera House, one more treat lay in store for the cheering fans. “Robert has something he’d like to show you,” the compere, John Otway, told them.
With one bound, Robert Kane was back. Only this time he was wearing a Sunderland top. In that instant, he went so completely from hero to villain that the Hamsters, due on next, feared the booing was for them.
“One of their guys was setting up his kit, and couldn’t believe what he was hearing,” says the Feelgood lead singer.
Looking back, Robert can see why the crowd seemed cross.
The concert was on Dec 7, 2000. Three weeks earlier, our lot had descended from the clouds (officially known as the St James’ Park away end) with “two” and “one”, in that order, on their lips.
“But I only did it for a laugh, thinking it would be taken in that spirit,” he insists. “How wrong I was. I just took a bow and walked off.”
* Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 9: read all about it HERE
** Share your memories of derby games – Tyne-Wear on this occasion so save any Roker/SoL reminiscences for later inthe season – and you could win a copy of Lance Hardy’s excellent book Stokoe’s Sunderland and 1973: the story of the greatest FA Cup Final shock of all time