ONCE there was a football club with a silent owner, empty trophy cabinet and restless fans.
Not forgetting a director of football who was largely blamed for the side’s inadequacies.
But that’s enough about Sunderland. What about the Toon?
I’ll quit the comedy while I’m behind.
No doubt there will be plenty of defending to laugh at by both teams in Sunday’s latest “most important North-East derby ever”.
In Sunderland’s case, however, there’s an argument that the billing might actually be true for once.
After latest Messiah Gus Poyet’s opening game in charge ended in a 4-0 drubbing at Swansea City, you sense that derby defeat may send their flagging faithful into open rebellion.
But this is Newcastle United providing the opposition for the Premier League’s whipping boys.
They rarely do aways wins, certainly not of the routine variety, so even if they take the lead you should expect the Alamo to be recreated inside the visiting penalty box.
My bet is a 1-1 or 2-2 draw which will be of little use to either side.
For Newcastle United it would stretch their winless run against Sunderland to four games and provide enough ammunition for the Sky Sports boys to proclaim that the curse of old nemesis Poyet has struck again.
For their neighbours a draw would leave them winless after nine games and possibly nine points adrift from safety.
I’ll even go as far as having a dabble on the scorers.
The derby has a tradition for goals by loan players.
Cue £8m Liverpool flop Fabio Borini, whose only Scouse strike in the Premier League predictably came against Newcastle, to open his Sunderland account.
As for the Magpies, they are the team who have not scored a goal from a corner in two years against the side who simply cannot defend them.
So I’ll go for the embarrassing drought to finally end this weekend.
Courtesy of an own goal, of course.
– GAVIN LEDWITH