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Sunderland-Newcastle: The passionate rivalry begins a new chapter after eight years

Sunderland-Newcastle: The passionate rivalry begins a new chapter after eight years

It is difficult to find in England a duel so distinguished as that which takes place in the north of the country, between the “Black Cats” and the “Magpies.” Such a confrontation is rare these days, but the magic of the Cup has enlivened a game that is always played with heightened emotion.

When the FA Cup third round matches were drawn, most attention went to the duel between Arsenal and Liverpool. But fortune also dictated a meeting between two rival teams whose paths had not crossed for nearly a decade.

FA Cup: Third round draw between Arsenal and Liverpool

There will also be a derby between Sunderland and Newcastle

In March 2016, Newcastle and Sunderland played in the Tyne-Wear derby for the last time, at that time in a tied 1-1 Premier League match. Since then, both have gone through declines, recoveries, structural changes, new owners and reinvention.

However, one thing that has definitely not changed is the hatred that fans of both clubs have for each other. After all, this is one of the most exciting derbies in English football, despite the tournament being contested by two teams accustomed to fighting for survival, rather than glory.

Crying, nerves, and puddles of water

Newcastle and Sunderland are far from the most famous clubs in England. None of them have celebrated a domestic championship or cup for over 50 years, they have little (or no) European expression and have been relegated several times, including recently. However, they are engaged in a rivalry that is one of the most heated and at the same time attractive in English football.

It's the kind of rivalry that makes Jermain Defoe, the striker who has scored 324 goals in his career, overcome with emotion and cry with joy after scoring a stunning goal for Sunderland against their rival.

It's the kind of rivalry that makes Alan Shearer, the Premier League's (and Newcastle's) all-time top scorer, World Cup semi-finalist and penalty-taker, describe it as follows: The road, to… The athleteThe moment he prepared to take the maximum penalty kick against Sunderland: β€œIt was the most nervous moment I have ever felt.”

It is the kind of rivalry that, when the match was played in heavy rain in 1993, Sunderland manager Terry Butcher pushed an opponent into a puddle of water that formed between the pitch and the stand. β€œI completely crushed him, hit him in the thigh, and almost drowned him in a huge pool of water,” Butcher said. The Wise Man Says Sunderland Podcast.

It is, at heart, an intense geographical rivalry (the two teams' stadiums are 20 kilometers apart), with fans who love the crest they support and who have stood by their clubs through many lows and highs over the course of seasons. all.

Distant glory, constant passion

Despite the disdain that exists between the two teams, there are some similarities between them, starting with the number of titles they have already won: 16 for Sunderland and 17 for Newcastle. The red and white have an advantage in the number of English leagues (six to four), but Newcastle have already won two European competitions, although both no longer exist today, the Intertoto Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

However, on home soil, it has been more than 100 years since the two clubs dominated England, and the last time either won one of the country's major competitions (league or cup) was Sunderland in 1973, when they won their second Premier League title. Cup (at the time he was playing in the second division).

The team played in the European Cup Winners' Cup the following season (where they were eliminated by Sporting), their only participation in a European competition, an area in which Newcastle would have far more experience, had they not even participated in the Champions League. For the third time in its history this time. In addition, he also has eight other appearances in the Europa League.

Dan Byrne scores a goal as Newcastle beats Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League this season (IMAGO)

Moreover, they are clubs accustomed to suffering and relegation, and in general, they suffer more disappointments than titles they win.

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Sunderland recently went through the worst stage in its history, as it competed in the First League (English third division) for four consecutive seasons (between 2018 and 2022), a fall that was closely monitored by Netflix cameras, which documented it in the famous series. Sunderland until I die (Sunderland Till I Die). That series ended by revealing chaos at the top of the club, with former owner Ellis Short selling the club to Stuart Donald in 2018, only to do the same just two years later.

Since then, Sunderland's owner has been Kyrill Louis-Dreyfus, a 26-year-old Frenchman and descendant of the Louis-Dreyfus family, which owns a multi-millionaire farming business.

Kyrill Louis-Dreyfus, current owner of Sunderland (IMAGO)

These changes in ownership have clearly hurt the club's development, as they only returned to the Championship last season. But the same cannot be said about Newcastle.

Newcastle fans celebrate the purchase of the club by the Saudi Fund (IMAGO)

The Saudi Public Investment Fund bought 80% of the club in 2021 for 480 million euros, according to what the British newspaper β€œDaily Mail” reported. Telegraph. since then, Magpie They have already spent more than €450 million on signing players, achieved their best Premier League qualification (fourth) in 20 years and returned to the Champions League. All of this happened while Sunderland had to fight (a lot) to reach the Championship.

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for this reason Black cats They are excited at the prospect of meeting their rivals again. However, the current context is of little help to them.

Who wins on Saturday?

Sunderland's current squad costs around €11.5m, and the club's salary costs are €8m per season – roughly the same salary as Newcastle midfielder Bruno GuimarΓ£es.

The current reality for each club cannot be compared, as Sunderland can benefit from playing at their home ground – which is curiously called the Estadio da Luz – and have a very positive record recently against Newcastle, having gone unbeaten in nine games in charge. Premier League, having won six consecutive meetings between them – the maximum for any club in the history of this encounter. The last time Newcastle beat Sunderland was in 2011.

Moreover, the head-to-head encounters between the two teams are very balanced: 53 victories Magpie52 of Black cats There are still 50 ties between them.

It now remains to be seen whether Sunderland, who are fighting for promotion to the Premier League, will be giants and benefit from their opponents' extensive list of injured players, or whether Newcastle will confirm their favour, despite having only managed one win in their last eight meetings. .