NIALL Quinn has been a television commentator for Sunderland’s recent 3-0 wins over Newcastle United at St James’s Park.
He also played and scored in the Black Cats’ equally famous 2-1 wins on Tyneside at the turn of the century.
And he is the first to acknowledge that derby victories, no matter how they come, are about as good as it gets in football.
“The Paolo derby was incredible,” he recalled. “No-one who was there will ever forget it.
“Last year’s Sunderland win under Poyet was also amazing but in a different way.
“It was an equally impressive result but that time Sunderland just bossed the game completely and fully deserved the 3-0 scoreline - Newcastle were never really in it.
“But whenever you win the derby, no matter what the circumstances, it’s amazing and you never forget it.
“They’re some of the sweetest highlights in your career.”
Quinn of course scored in the 2-1 win in driving rain, before returning the following season to score again on a day Thomas Sorensen saved Alan Shearer’s late penalty.
“I was privileged to be involved in a couple of derby wins at St James’s Park,” he smiled.
“That win in the torrential downpour is particularly vivid.
“It was a fantastic game, a fantastic experience.
“But my abiding memory was that all of the Sunderland board and their wives were drenched in the storm and afterwards we gave them our spare kit so they would have something dry.
“I still remember them all getting on the bus afterwards, filing on in their Sunderland strips, it was such a funny and unusual sight.
“As a footballing spectacle, North East derby games are always great occasions, no matter what the score.
“But to the fans themselves, only the result counts.
“Sunderland are coming into the game on the back of a couple of amazing results and fans will travel up there desperately hoping the team will make it three in a row.”