Sunderland fans overjoyed as club secures first home victory of the season
Sunderland supporters couldn't contain their delight tonight after their team won its first home game in just less than a year.
Fans roared with delight as the final whistle blew, securing the Black Cats' first home victory in what has been nearly a year of continuous disappointment for the club.
As happy Sunderland AFC supporters streamed out of the Stadium of Light, many said it seemed that the heart had been put back into the club.
And for some young fans its was one of the first times they had seen their team win at home, with the 1-0 win against Fulham ending the 21-game famine.
Among the fans celebrating at the full-time whistle were William Jobling, 60, with grandson Wayne Surtees, seven, both from Sunderland.
Wayne said: "They have played better and it is the best game I have seen this season."
December 17, 2016, was the last time the Black Cats' long-suffering faithful saw them triumph at the Stadium of Light when they defeated Watford 1-0 in the Premier League.
Fans praised substitute Josh Maja for his 77th-minute strike and seemed hopeful that it was the start of great things with new manager Chris Coleman.
The narrow win over the boss's former side was also enough to lift them one point clear of the Championship relegation zone.
Season ticket holder Oliver Crosby, 35, from Whitburn, said he was relieved his team had finally won at home.
He said: "After such a long winless home run and so many defeats you kind of become anaesthetised to the pain of losing and forget how it feels to win a game.
"It was great to see a number of young players involved prominently and I am really pleased for the manager whose coaching has miraculously got us keeping clean sheets."
Kelly Pratt, 37, and wife Vicky Pratt, 35, who are both season ticket holders from Hendon, were thrilled.
Vicky said: "I am over the moon. It was nice to see players that want to play for the club.
"It has really helped to uplift fans right before Christmas."
Watch Sunderland fans celebrate as magic Maja ensures home hoodoo finally endsSam Firth, 41, from Moorside, has been going to the matches since she was 10 years old. She said: "It is nice to finally win. I wasn't expecting it because it has been so long since we have won.
"There are 10 of us who go to every match and for a while those 90 minutes have spoiled a good day out.
"This last year has been horrendous and the morale of the fans has been getting lower each week as you can see by the turn out in the stands.
"But maybe this is the turning point."
Lee Howard, 51, from Sunderland has been going to the matches since he was eight years old.
He said: "It is brilliant, I was expecting it because I never though that we would go a year without a win."
Thomas Wilson, 32, from Millfield was with his dad Thomas Wilson senior, 56, and his two daughters Tia Wilson, seven, and Leighanna Wilson, 11.
He said: It's one of the first times the girls have seen Sunderland win at home.
"We were not expecting it so we are over the moon."
Ant Thirkell, 37, from Gateshead, was there with his sister Victoria Thirkell, 41.
He said: "They played well and seem to have more heart in it. I am delighted."
Wayne Coates, 45, Alan Bell, 65, Lewis Macinness, 22, and Dave Common, 48, from Sunderland, were all delighted with the result.
Wayne said: "It is absolutely brilliant, absolutely amazing.
“It's like an FA Cup win, come on Sunderland!"
Gary Newbrook, 30, from Simonside, said: “I’m delighted, ever since Coleman came in we’ve looked a lot more confident and solid - especially in defence. “We were the better side and we created the better chances. “Hopefully we can get back to home victories with a massive game home to Birmingham next week, which will pull us four points clear and going into the New Year with Coleman looking a lot better than the last six months.”
Kenneth Newbrook, 53, from South Shields, added: “Gibson was man of the match, but credit must go to the manager Chris Coleman for putting the two young lads on with 15 minutes to go.
“It’s been a long time in coming and now we have got a platform to build on.”