Towards the end of last season, not quite a year ago so not at the very end, Burton Albion visited the Stadium of Light, won 2-1 and sent Sunderland down for the second successive season.
The fact that most of us were already resigned to relegation made it little easier to stomach and the Netflix documentary Sunderland Til I Die captured the misery in all its raw intensity.
Tomorrow night, a quite different issue is at stake when Burton return to Wearside. A splendid Sunderland run, punctuated only by the heartbreak of Wembley, means that we have only to draw to go second. The race to secure an automatic promotion race would would not be over, but it would be a step forward towards ending in our favour.
A glance at Sunderland’s history reveals plenty of evidence of when we have stumbled on the big occasion, the Checkatrade Trophy final being the latest example.
But as so many others have noted, the team Jack has built is one on immense character, capable of coming back from setbacks in numerous matches and winning when winning is crucial. The away victories at Accrington Stanley and Rochdale are two cases in point.
By a delicious coincidence, it was Burton Albion that made this advance into the top two possible. Beating Barnsley on Saturday, as we were grinding out a win at Rochdale, did us a great favour – while also reminding us that they will be no walkover at our place.
One mug has already been won for the Burton game. Our Brewers interviewee Dave Child cannot make it to the game but will receive one for his indefatigable services to Salut! Sunderland‘s Who are You? series. Once again, he has dug us out of a hole and his answers will appear later today.
The second winner’s mug, of course, will go to the reader who is first to be correct with the scoreline in this important game. You just need to have a UK delivery address if you are right before anyone else.
Have a go. And Ha’way the Lads.