SAFC v Newcastle: Derby Day – let’s make it an enjoyable experience



With the October humiliation still fresh in his mind, Pete Sixsmith comes out from under the covers to call on the spirit of the  the Roker Roar before the Wear-Tyne derby. 


Sunday is looming on the horizon and with it the chance to gain some revenge for the humiliation that was heaped on us in October. I regard that as possibly the worst day I have had following Sunderland, on a par with Gillingham at home and the Crystal Palace play off game. 

I would imagine that it was Steve Bruce’s worst day in management. He said that he went home and went to bed, thereby mirroring the actions of all those of red and white persuasion in the region. Never has pulling the covers over the head seemed such an attractive lifestyle choice. 

So, this time round, what are we likely to get? For Steve Bruce, this is the defining moment in his Sunderland career. Lose this one and he is a dead man walking in the eyes of many Sunderland fans. Win it and his contract negotiations can continue without any shouts of dismay from fan sites, message boards and Salut Sunderland. 

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The Newcastle fan whose grandpa tyuk the bus fra’ Balmbra’s

Garry Steckles, with whom Monsieur Salut worked on a newspaper in Abu Dhabi, is not Bob Marley but knows as much about him as most living souls, spending lots of his time in the Caribbean, involving himself in the reggae scene and, a couple of years ago, publishing a biography of the great man. Another claim to fame: his grandfather – Garry’s not Bob’s – once owned Balmbra’s. The Blaydon Races link is appropriate: there’s always a downside to good people and Garry is a Mag. Tomorrow, we get his answers to our questions about Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby. Today, we recall a brilliant piece he wrote for Salut! Sunderland before the 2008 equivalent, won by us 2-1 …

Before I start, I should point out that I don’t really have any memories of Tyne-Wear derbies.

Most of my Newcastle memories are from the Fifties, and while I might have been at one I can’t honestly recall anything about it.

From 1960 until I left for Canada in 1968, I was working every Saturday during the football season, either in the office putting out a paper or at a match covering it. Since 1968, I’ve been more or less a long-distance fan. Anyway, I think I can write around all of that. Here goes …

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