What Sunderland fans’ are said about newcastle united ahead of their champion league with Ac Milan

I never responded at the time, but I really enjoyed Jackie Smithfield’s story in The Mag the other day about Sunderland fans’ jealousy of our European trip to Milan.

I’d seen some of the rants on the Sunderland fans forum.

Who do they think they’re trying to fool, and can somebody tell me what they now stand for?

Sunderland have spent many seasons below the top division of English football since I began following them.

In the 1970s they couldn’t even secure back to back seasons in the top tier, after initially having been relegated in 1970, and then again in 1977 after a fluke promotion.

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After another promotion in 1980, they became perennial relegation strugglers under the likes of Ken Knighton and Alan Durban, never looking likely to ever bother the top half of the table.

Further relegations in 1985 and 1987, then saw Sunderland hilariously dumped into the third tier for the first time in their history.

Oh how we laughed and milked it (‘The Gloaters’ still meet up and are celebrating regularly to this day).

There have been further mackem relegations in 1991, 1997, 2003, 2006, 2017, then the best of the lot in 2018, when they plunged back into the third tier.

As Jackie Smithfield implied, European football is not something Wearsiders have been aware of, or clued up on, over the last fifty years or so
So why the hell do they go into meltdown every time that Newcastle United have the privilege of representing the region abroad?

After our first tastes of European football in the late 1960s early 70s(which brought us our last piece of silverware), Newcastle United qualified for the UEFA Cup after a solid 5th place finish in 1977.

I can still remember Johnny Rep’s hotshot for Bastia.

After a fine 1993/94 league campaign in which Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’ finished third, Newcastle were back on the continental trail once more, before finally succumbing on away goals to Athletic Bilbao.

After finishing Premier League runners-up twice in 1996 and 1997, we secured UEFA Cup and Champions League football respectively.

It was in that Champions League campaign when Faustino Asprilla cemented his place in Geordie folklore, scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona.

After our FA Cup final defeat in 1998, Newcastle United were England’s representatives in the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup competition. Then after another FA Cup final defeat in 1999, that meant UEFA Cup qualification.

Champions League football arrived on Tyneside again in 2002/03 after a fine 3rd place Premier League finish for Sir Bobby Robson’s charges.

We became the first team to qualify from the group stage despite losing our first three games.

There was then UEFA Cup semi and quarter finals in 2004 and 2005.

Glenn Roeder guided us back into the UEFA Cup in 2006, after we qualified through the Inter-Toto Cup.

Newcastle United returned to Europe in 2012 after finishing fifth in the Premier League.

We are back in the Champions League after a thrilling and entertaining season under Eddie Howe last season, and we fought out a hard-earned draw against Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday.

If Sunderland fans are jealous of Newcastle United and our fans’ trips to Europe, they only need to look at their own terrible top-flight league finishes over the last 70 years.

They have never truly deserved a spot in Europe, however I applaud them for winning the FA Cup in 1973.

We have a European pedigree and reputation that they do not.

I enjoy spaghetti westerns, and in one of the final moments of Sergio Leone’s ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,’ there was a beautiful metaphor that went something like this.

“In this world, there are two kinds of people. Those who dig and those who have loaded firearms.”

Sunderland fans will always be resentful and envious as long as Newcastle United and we Geordies exist.

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