Sunderland vs Charlton Athletic at Wembley: let’s get it right this time

Jake: ‘make the Mackem army happy, Lads’

Charlton finished the League One season in style
and ended up two places ahead of us, writes Monsieur Salut. Until that poor return of four points from three successive home games, I was confident we would go up in an automatic top two place.

It wasn’t to be. We did not end the season in style and and now we start the playoff final at Wembley, after gritty semi-final displays against Portsmouth saw us through, technically as underdogs.

Before I invite readers to predict the outcome of Sunday’s Wembley encounter, I shall reflect on the 1998 version of this momentous tie in May 1998. That was for the greater prize of Premier League and we had, of course, finished above Charlton only to fail to overcome them in the playoff final.

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Sunderland vs Portsmouth: round one in the battle to face Doncaster or Charlton

A quick glance at our fellow-contenders
for promotion via the playoffs shows we have Wembley previous against two of the three – and it’s not encouraging. Portsmouth beat us there in the Checkatrade Trophy final in March and plenty of us will never forget the anguish of 1998 against Charlton.

So if hoodoos exist, they need to be broken. Here’s your chance to say whether and how we’ll make a start on Saturday night.

Act Four

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Sixer’s Soapbox substitute from Charlton: a fair draw but unfairly dry January

Our end: as seen from a Charlton seat

Monsieur Salut writes: my thanks to Dave Suddick, from our Facebook group, for the shot of SAFC’s marvellous travelling support as seen from his seat with a Charlton friend. I felt for an unexpectedly absent Pete Sixsmith, recuperating after surgery but in remarkably good spirits before and after, as I joined my pal and former colleague Kevin Maguire, and his pals from the Jarrow branch of the SAFCSA, at the Valley. Dave’s photo reminds me of Kevin’s own memories of Roker Park; he was a Fulwell Ender but once went into the Roker End just to see what the Fulwell looked like.

We were in for decent value for our £24 tickets though the entertaining nature of the game could not overcome Sunderland supporters’ disappointment that having weathered a Charlton storm after their fortunate equaliser, we could not take chances that would have lifted us to second place ….

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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground – Charlton Athletic and The Valley

John McCormick writes. Like Blackpool, this one was on the itinerary I compiled early in the summer. Like Blackpool, it didn’t survive my first scrutiny of the fixture list, which is a pity as I’ve never been to the Valley and I was looking forward to it.

Pete Sixsmith has, of course, so here he is setting the scene for our second away trip of 2019 and, as he says, it’s a cracker

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