Sunderland fan blog: Passion, pride and overwhelming celebrations at Wembley will live long in the memory
After five minutes of additional time the final whistle was blown, Sunderland’s season over, promotion secured – finally!
Yet, no one knew how to celebrate. How were we meant to celebrate a play-off victory at the fourth time of asking?
Relief after a long, tiring fourth season, and four years as a whole?
Excitement towards a season in the Championship?
For a moment, upon the full-time whistle, there felt a stillness in the stands; almost a sigh of relief – an end to a torturous four years in League One, and the club’s six-year demise.
In this moment, the Wembley centre-circle was very telling. The Sunderland players and staff sought one another: a relief on the inside after a challenging 10 months.
And then, came the joy.
Wafting the conventional ‘We’re going up’ flags, a moment where the club came back together again after years apart.
The Sunderland players ran towards the layers and layers and layers of Mackems, not budging one bit, taking in every moment of his historic moment.
After all, these are memories that will last a lifetime for Sunderland fans, myself included.
Then followed the emotion.
For many fans, this day fills them with pride, again myself included.
Sunderland have had years of heartbreak and torture but suddenly this club – our club – has taken their first step in the right direction.
In the stands, there were many tears, whilst on the pitch, another moment to make the eyes water yet again.
As Lynden Gooch strutted around the Wembley turf post-match, his tears were clear.
After four years of struggle, Sunderland had finally done it.
It’s why Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ was so contextually significant, when the players trekked up to the Royal Box to lift the trophy, the club has been over half a decade on a downwards trajectory, but suddenly their way is up.
There have been many days of separation between fans along the way to this point – arguments, fights, you name it – but here, nearly 50,000 Mackems stuck as one.
One massive karaoke session of some of the most significant tunes.
Trafalgar Square, again, plastered in red-and-white; this time, a celebration in the air and a big one at that.
The police proved to be more lenient, the fans more casual, the mood more informal. After all, Sunderland were celebrating a promotion, and their first ever play-off final win.
On days like these, analysing the football match at hand, really has little significance: the impact of its outcome on its community, city, and people is simply pivotal.
It was a weekend where my club – our club – really stamped its identity back upon the football pyramid. London was taken by storm from the red-and-white contingent, and we simply couldn’t be more proud.
Three years later than scheduled, Sunderland are on their way back.
Our club are on their way back.