THE ETIHAD is a modern stadium with all the facilities you would expect, but I always found Maine Road a great experience and an atmospheric ground.
Two games that stick out in my memory, are a 1-0 defeat when Jimmy Adamson was manager and a 3-2 win when Alan Durban was in charge.
The 1-0 defeat was in the late 70s and was a game where we were the victims of two bad decisions from the officials.
A linesman’s flag denied us a perfectly good goal early on and then our centre-back Jackie Ashurst won a tackle in the box and unbelievable the referee gave a penalty, when even the City players didn’t appeal for one.
Dennis Tueart scored from the spot.
It all kicked off in the dressing room afterwards, as we felt robbed, and even Adamson, who was naturally mild-mannered, couldn’t hide his anger.
The second game, a few years later, has happier memories, as we came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
The reason for the turnaround was an inexperienced 17-year-old called Barry Venison, making his debut for Sunderland that day.
Durban had named him as a substitute and threw him on with 20 minutes to go and in that short time, he claimed an assist for the equaliser and then scored the winner at the death.
As the game was televised on TV the next day, some of our fans will remember Barry’s reaction when he scored the winning goal with a great strike from outside the box.
The ball hadn’t hit the back of the net before he went off like a rocket on a celebratory run that would have taken him outside of the stadium if he hadn’t been caught.
Venners was a confident 17-year-old and you could tell he was destined for big things.
But his debut was special and he announced himself to the Sunderland fans that day in style.