IT was third time unlucky for one Black Cats fan who now boasts the unenviable record of seeing all the team’s 8-0 defeats.
Cass Farrar, from Whitburn, was at Southampton on Saturday as Sunderland suffered the crushing loss.
Seeing a side get such a trashing once might be enough to leave any fan downhearted, but for the 69-year-old retired headteacher, the trip to St Mary’s Stadium made it the third time he has seen the devastating result.
Cass, a member of London’s branch of the Sunderland Supporters’ Association, had been living in the capital for two years when he saw the away game at West Ham’s Upton Park, on October 19, 1968.
England hero Geoff Hurst racked up six goals against Sunderland and fellow World Cup winner Bobby Moore, and Trevor Brooking took it up to eight.
He was at Watford on September 25, 1982, to see Luther Bissett put four past the Wearsiders’ goal, with Ross Jenkins and Nigel Callaghan scoring two each.
Cass, who now lives in Greenwich, said: “I saw the chairman of the London branch at the match on Saturday.
“He said the same as me, that’s been three we’ve seen.
“Vergini, well I sort of blinked and he put it in the Sunderland goal after 10 minutes. I thought ‘What was that all about?’
“Mannone didn’t have the best of games so he’s probably to blame for two or three goals and then Bridcutt ran in.
“Southampton were so slick and I think we made them look good.
“It was abysmal. I like Lee Cattermole and it looked like he’d given up and some of the others as well, but it was a shock, the floodgates were opened so easily.
“But some of these dafties, some of them send in letters to the Echo, you get people who say ‘I’m never going again’ and I just think, what are you talking about? I’ve already got my ticket for Crystal Palace. I’ll be going.”
Cass’s strongest memories of the West Ham game include the goalscoring headers by Hurst, and at Watford, a screen which beamed out an image of three yellow footballers dancing to celebrate a home score.
“It was set off eight times that day, so it was like it was up there all the time,” added Cass.
Cass, is married to school teacher Bethan, 67, and dad to Lucy, 33, Sarah, 31, and James, 27.
Despite being encouraged to support Charlton, James, an actor who played Liam Gilmore in Hollyoaks, has followed in his father’s footsteps to become a Sunderland fan.
Cass is helped in his bid to get tickets by Peter Robinson, who was in the year above him at Ryhope Grammar School, taking in about 20 games a season.
He attended Saturday’s match with Barry Emmerson, from Whitburn, and a classmate, and Barry’s son Martin, a cricket commentator for BBC Newcastle.