Ex-Sunderland boss Terry Butcher discusses a Newcastle United plot, hilarious team talks and THAT David Kelly tackle
Former Sunderland defender Terry Butcher has offered a fascinating insight into one of the most bizarre Tyne-Wear derbies - which involved him almost accidentally drowning an opponent.
Butcher, who managed the Black Cats for a brief spell in 1993, was speaking to the Wise Men Say podcast about his time on Wearside.And he delved into the clash between Sunderland and bitter rivals Newcastle in April 1993 - a derby which has lived long in the memory.
In torrential rain at St James’s Park, Butcher’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat against their near neighbours.
That was despite some pre-match tactics from the then-Sunderland player-manager, involving golf retreats and a strategic hotel booking.
“The derbies were big things, it was huge,” said Butcher.
“Newcastle were flying and we’d lost 2-1 at home in the first derby, which wasn’t nice at all, and we then had to go to St James’s Park.
READ: Why Sunderland have a 'huge advantage' over Portsmouth at Wembley - according to a psychology expert“What I did that week was took the players away up to Turnberry.
“They got a special deal as they had a cancellation, and we took the boys up there and had a great time - a bit of golf, spa treatments, a few drinks - and then we decided to come back down on the Friday and stay in a hotel which was north of Newcastle.
“It was the hotel Newcastle stayed in for home games, but we got in pretty quickly in the week and booked it.
“We pipped Newcastle and took over their hotel which I thought was a good sign.”
Ultimately, it wasn’t to be a good sign for the Black Cats, who fell to a narrow defeat in a closely-fought encounter.
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MORE: Sunderland could take advantage of Middlesbrough winger's bizarre contract situationIt was Butcher who conceded the free-kick that the Magpies profited from, but his abiding memories of the day were not of the defeat - but of a bizarre team talk and a challenge which almost saw a Newcastle man drown.
Butcher’s pre-match pep talk has become a regular story among Sunderland supporters and the 60-year-old was happy to clarify the truth behind the hilarity - and revealed the thought process behind his infamous challenge on David Kelly.
“I came into the dressing room and had got a number two haircut all over,” he explained.
“I was playing obviously, and I said ‘right lads, I’ve got a commandos hair cut. We’re going to be commanders today - get in, do the job, and clear off. This is our mission today’.
LIVE: All the latest news from the Stadium of Light throughout the day“We went out as commandos and that was my message to my players.”
“There was nothing in the game and I remember giving the free-kick away that Scott Sellars scored.
“But the best memory of the game for me was going up against David Kelly.
“I didn’t like David Kelly. I didn’t like any Newcastle player, but particularly David Kelly.
“As the ball was running out of play, I remember chasing him out towards the ball and I’ve gone in thinking ‘right, I’m going to take the lot here’.
“And I just smashed into him and I carved him round about the thigh area. It was about a two foot drop into this gully of water, and I’ve sythed him down and he’s slid into this gully, gone under the water, and come out the other side.
“So I almost drowned him, and that was my abiding memory of the game.”