Monsieur Salut writes: I have checked the origins of this news item and it may well have come from S Bruce of Hull, or J Colback of Killingworth, in either case embarking on a new career as an informed Salut! Sunderland newshound. On further inspection, it must be from one of our own …
Sunderland have revealed an eyebrow-raising departure from normal policy for concerts at the Stadium of Light in a calculated attempt to reinforce the already warm relations between the club and Newcastle United.
With the full blessing Northumbria Police, Sunderland have decided – or so a highly placed source within the club insists – that in a break from the tradition of bringing such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Take That to the ground, they will promote a special series of Geordie Nights.
The shows will be hosted by those lovable Geordie imps, Ant and Dec, one of whom will wear a red and white striped shirt while the other will be clad in black and white stripes.
At each concert, the cheeky pair will introduce a host of Geordie talent, which should have the two sets of supporters smiling contentedly in mutual joy and appreciation.
Already booked are Cheryl Tweedy, properly known these days as Cheryl Ann Fernandez-Versini, who will be performing her latest
chart flop smash hit, the hilarious Geordie comic Steve Wraith and singer/actor Jimmy Nail.
Our club source tells us there are also hopes of persuading Sting to do a couple of guest slots and for Tim Healy to re-enact scenes from Benidorm. Other names are being approached to see if they can make it, including one time Newcastle United shareholder, Alan Price, an especially imaginative choice since he’s really a Sunderland supporter – or was when young.
“Competitiveness between the two clubs is all well and good,” says the usually reliable Sunderland insider. “But talent like this only comes along once in a while. This is too good an opportunity to miss.
“The idea is to challenge the myth, which has somehow taken hold, that Sunderland and Newcastle supporters do not get on very well. Any bitter rivalries that may once have existed belong in the distant past when such results at Newcastle United 1-9 Sunderland (1908) had a tendency to cause friction. These days, Newcastle know their proper place.”
Our source adds that despite four successive Premier wins for Sunderland in Tyne-Wear and Wear-Tyne derbies, friendship between the two clubs has never been stronger.
Sunderland’s latest initiative is intended to cement such ties and present a united front to the nation.
The expression of goodwill may extend to Sunderland deliberately failing to play very well when the clubs meet again at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, though the official admits this may be an empty gesture since no one who has seen them in recent seasons will notice any real difference.