I have been a Sunderland fan my entire life, and growing up in Norway, I have no idea why or when it started.
What I do remember is that during the FA Cup final in 1973, when I had just turned 11, I was so nervous after we had taken the lead that I couldn’t watch television and instead had to hide in the forest behind our house.
So what attracted me to Sunderland?
Or maybe the striped shirts?
It certainly couldn’t have been the red colour as football was in black-and-white back then when we watched ‘Match of the Day,’ or ‘Tippekampen’ as it was called with us, every Saturday.
Perhaps the first televised ‘Tippekamp’ in Norway, Wolverhampton v Sunderland on November 29, 1969 was the pivotal moment?
I don’t remember watching the game, but Sunderland lost 1-0.
Perhaps the seven-year old me sympathised with them?
After all, being a Norwegian soccer fan at the time typically meant to sympathise with the poorest team in international games (not too different now, by the way).
I grew up to become a brain scientist - and an even more devoted Sunderland fan.
Lately I have been puzzled by how my brain works on this point.
I am a solid, emotionally stable family man. As my family has learned, the only thing that spurs strong emotional outbursts from me is watching Sunderland.
How can this be? How can our brains be wired up to become so devote to our team, in particular in my case where it took me 40 years to even visit Sunderland and see a game in person? How can my brain be wired up to worry so much about a team that does not even know that I exist? Hmmmm....
But I don’t hate Newcastle. Sorry.
* This blog was written by a Sunderland fan. Fancy having a go? Simply email 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org