If you’re a Sunderland fan with experience of White Hart Lane, you’ve probably seen us lose there. But not – if you’ve been often enough – always. Among far too many defeats have been some sterling performances …
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Unlucky last season, jubilant in the 1984-85 Milk Cup run, the false dawn when Cissé scored a winner two seasons ago – tonight’s game at White Hart Lane has fans wallowing in potted nostalgia over at Ready to Go.
OscarO is one of several to mention that first away game of 2008-2009. “What a great day that was!” he says.
And when Andy 78 remembers that he “honestly thought we were in for a great season when that happened”, Oscar replies: “You weren’t the only one. Didn’t we play (Man) City the game after?”
We did. And what happened? I’d flown all the way back from Abu Dhabi to be there (OK, and have a milestone birthday party at the Stadium of Light too). Hammered 3-0 at home, albeit after an even first half, on the eve of Citeh’s Abu Dhabi takeover, and completely drenched afterwards in the heaviest downpour I’d endured in years.
As for the “great season”, that collapsed into yet another relegation scrap which we very nearly lost (Toon Doon helping to save us).
Andy 78 doubtless recalled all that, too, when he added: “Typical Sunderland that like.”
Wearsider was another with pleasant memories of the 2-1 victory in which Cissé scored and also summarises last season’s defeat: “Playing exceptionally well but losing 2-0, quite undeserved. Bent had a penalty saved at 1-0.”
Mind, it was a poor penalty, not awful on the Malbranque/Gray scale and certainly not by Jeff Whitley playoff standards, but poor all the same. And that was the game that saw Defoe unpunished for a reckless challenge that sidelined Craig Gordon for months.
Killasafc‘s memory goes back a lot longer and includes a priceless bit of ingenious self-preservation: “Turner saves from Graham Roberts’s penner last minute 1985 Milk Cup. Apologised to Chris Turner many years later for calling him “Turner you Fecking kernt” ( I was in the Spurs end, had jumped in the air, when he saved it ”
But it took Ottawa Mackem to remind me of the extraordinary game 20 years ago in which Sunderland led 2-0 and 3-1, remaining two goals ahead until a cruel late recovery by Spurs, Gazza plonking a free kick on to Gary Lineker’s head for the stoppage time equaliser.
“3-1 up with 2 minutes go, and a Lineker brace levelled at 3-3 in 90/91. Think Davenport and Marco scored for us. Spurs were top-drawer back then and ended up winning the cup that season.”
The sequence at Ready to Go runs in part:
“Pascoe played a blinder. Really bad weather that weekend I had to stay on an extra day at my mates before I could make it back home.”
Tramp the dirt down:
“Loads of snow Nearly didn’t go. Went with my mate (sadly dead now) and two Spurs fans. Didn’t get home till early hours & electric was off due to snow. Abiding memory of chanting Fat Geordie Bastard to Gazza. Mind you he did look Happy when they equalised.”
HeaderDownBrown, who had travelled down in appalling conditions with the SAFCSA South Shields branch:
“Think it was Pascoe (2) and Davenport. We played some great stuff that day – seem to recall Paul Walsh coming on and changing the game … did well to get down there. Loads got turned back. Was worth it apart from Lineker’s 94th minute equaliser. Remember me Dad going off it: took his watch off and asked the steward to give it to the ref. Was only 13 at the time – never heard him swear so much!”
It was Dec 8 1990. The crowd was 30,430 plus me and I remember shivering at the game, looking at the skies and, having only to cross London to be home, wondering how our fans who’d come from the North East would get back. And the gutsy display did no wonders for our overall form: we went down with Derby County.
Spurs fans like to regard themselves as cultured and elite, but Haway 501 talks of the 2001 last-game-of-the-season carnival atmosphere marred by Tottenham neanderthals “attacking families and supporters in fancy dress (with bottles) as they walked past the pub at the top of the road from Seven Sisters”.
To be fair, Haway 501’s testimony has its limitations (“me and me mate missed it due to getting pissed in Camden and not realising how far away it was!”) though maybe he saw the ugly aftermath if not the game. And Wrenthorpe Mackem “saw one Sunderland fan pushed in front of a car” and that’s attempted murder if I’m not mistaken, m’lud.
Safe journeys tonight all …