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