SUNDERLAND legend Gary Rowell today spoke of his pride at the Red and Whites’ biggest victory on Tyneside since his hat-trick at St James’s Park in 1979.
The Roker Park hero and Echo columnist was in the Press Box to witness Sunderland take the honours in the 136th league derby between the two sides.
It was the Wearsiders’ first victory in the fixture since 2008 but unlike that narrow win, this was a thumping result in what was only Paolo Di Canio’s second game in charge, as goals from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan put the Geordies to the sword.
Rowell told the Echo: “It was a great win and no-one can say it wasn’t thoroughly deserved.
“Paolo Di Canio had his players fully up for it and as well as the three goals they scored, they deserved at least one, maybe two penalties because Danny Graham was pulled back in the box in the first half and a header from him was handled in the second.
“From a Sunderland point of view, it was amazing and it was a privilege to be there.
“The tension was incredible and we were sat just behind the Sunderland dug out so we had a great view of the new manager’s antics on the touchline.
“We also had a fantastic view of the Sunderland fans high up in the stands who were going mental with every goal and at the final whistle too when the players and manager went over to and celebrated in style.
“Sunderland didn’t just beat them, they destroyed them and I’m pleased more than anything for Sunderland fans whose support all season has been fantastic - they deserved that.”