It was worth the wait for an exiled football fan as she ended a 42-year wait to see Sunderland play again in fine style.
Sylvia Mugridge, who is originally from Silksworth, had not attended a Black Cats fixture since 1973, in the lead-up to the FA Cup final.
It was everything I expected and so much more. The atmosphere was out of this worldSylvia Mugridge
However, she ended her long, long wait to see her heroes play again last Sunday, and was able to celebrate in style as Sunderland saw off fierce rivals Newcastle United 3-0 in the Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.
Sylvia, 54, who now lives in Harworth, near Doncaster, attended alongside brother Alan, 59, who also took her to her previous game, a 2-2 draw with Bristol City at Roker Park in March 1973.
She said: “It was 42 years since I had been to a football match, and it was an absolutely brilliant day.
“It was everything I expected and so much more. The atmosphere was out of this world.
“To spend time with my brother and for Sunderland to win was absolutely brilliant.
“The first half wasn’t very good, but after half-time we kicked on and fought for it.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it definitely won’t be another 42 years before I go to another game!”
Sylvia and Alan attended the 1973 game against Bristol City alongside brother Les and sister Brenda, as they attempted to get tokens to secure a place at the FA Cup final, against Leeds United at Wembley.
That match has gone down in Sunderland folklore after the Black Cats upset the odds to win 1-0, but the family was only able to secure two tickets, with Alan and Les attending the final.
Since then, Sylvia has only watched her team from afar, but she was delighted to realise a long-standing dream on Sunday.
She added: “My brother took me so he could get the tokens for cup final tickets.
“I had been to some football games before that, but never since.
“When I turned 50, I made a bucket list, and to go to a Sunderland game – particularly a Wear-Tyne derby – was one of the biggest things on there.
“My brother had kept on saying that he would take me to a match, and I can’t describe how good it was.
“I’ve always supported Sunderland from afar, even though I haven’t been at any games. I’m a big Sunderland fan – these are my roots.”