POSSIBLY the most exciting 48 hours of the football season for Newcastle United fans have predictably ended in another anti-climax.
Sunderland survive for another season of Premier League mediocrity after Wigan failed to win at Arsenal on Tuesday night.
All that is left for the two North-East sides at the end of equally dismal campaigns is to work out who is the poorest of two poor teams.
Sunderland hold that poisoned chalice at the moment after Newcastle’s 2-1 victory at an even worse outfit, Queen’s Park Rangers, secured their top flight status.
Unless Paolo Di Canio’s team pull off an unlikely win at Tottenham, regardless of the Magpies’ impending defeat at home to Arsenal, then that is the way it will stay.
Yet finishing above the Wearsiders would be no triumph for Newcastle.
Just go back just two years to the final day of the 2010-11 season.
Sunderland fans celebrated after their team climbed above United courtesy of an injury-time West Brom equaliser at St James’s Park.
There were even jokes that Baggies hat-trick hero Somen Tchoyi got a late invite to the Black Cats’ player of the year night.
But finishing 10th at the expense of Newcastle’s 12th meant little.
The Magpies were the undoubted moral victors thanks to their 5-1 demolition of the red and whites the previous October.
Even a 94th-minute Sunderland equaliser in the return fixture offered scant consolation in a match Alan Pardew’s side largely dominated.
This time around the roles look as though they are going to be reversed with Newcastle higher up the league table but Sunderland the derby kings after their 3-0 waltz last month.
Given the choice between the two then I think I know which accolade most black and white fans would prefer.
– GAVIN LEDWITH