IT is a question which regularly pops up in pubs across the region after a few beers.
Who are the biggest club? Newcastle United or Sunderland?
The usual arguments are soon dusted down.
“Newcastle have a bigger capacity than Sunderland.”
“They’ve also had the smallest attendance of the two.”
“Newcastle have never played in the third tier.”
“But Sunderland have won the title more.”
“Newcastle have hosted concerts by Dylan, Springsteen, the Stones and Queen.”
“Ah yes but Sunderland have had Take That, Coldplay, Pink and Oasis.”
I’m sure you are starting to get the drift.
The final rally normally sees Sunderland fans get ahead of themselves and say: “But who was the last team to win a trophy?”
To which the quicker Newcastle fans should instantly reply: “So that makes Middlesbrough a bigger team than the pair of us.”
And for that matter Leicester, Portsmouth, Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham, Luton Town and a host of other supposedly smaller clubs who have won silverware since Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup triumph.
The latest name to be added to this painful list are newly-crowned Capital One Cup holders Swansea City.
A team thumped 7-1 by Hartlepool United little over a decade ago and who only preserved their league status on the final day of the 2001-02 season.
Hopefully the Swans will still be suffering from one celebratory sherry too many when the Magpies arrive at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow.
I fancy a tame draw which won’t dampen either the terrace party or Newcastle’s gradual climb to Premier League safety.
And so who are the bigger club between Newcastle and Sunderland?
Come back to me for an answer after Sunderland have beaten Barcelona and Juventus in the Champions League.
– GAVIN LEDWITH