GUS POYET hopes he can continue to be “the scourge of Newcastle” when the new Sunderland head coach makes his Stadium of Light debut against the Magpies.
Poyet faces a baptism of fire on his home bow in 17 days time, when he is thrust into the cauldron of the Wear-Tyne derby.
But the Uruguayan has proved to be a nemesis against Sunderland’s arch-rivals during both his playing and management career, with late ex-Magpies boss Sir Bobby Robson once labelling him “the scourge of Newcastle”.
Poyet netted six times against Newcastle during his stints at Chelsea and Tottenham, and eliminated Alan Pardew’s side from the FA Cup in each of the last two seasons when in charge of Brighton.
And he is eager to continue that misery for Newcastle when he attempts to secure the bragging rights for Sunderland over their neighbours.
“My life in England and my football career as a player and manager has been linked with Sunderland and Newcastle,” said Poyet.
“A little bit more with Newcastle, to be honest, because somehow – I don’t know why – I always seemed to score against them.
“They already hated me a little bit and now they probably hate me a little bit more.
“I always try to do the best for the club that I’m in.
“I support the club I’m working for and become a fan and I think that will show with the passion and what the players show as well.
“Let’s hope it’s a good one and we can beat Newcastle in a couple of weeks.”
Poyet also netted five times against Sunderland as a player – including a consolation in the Black Cats’ famous 4-1 Stadium of Light victory over Chelsea in 1999, and a superb strike in a double in the Blues’ 4-0 opening-day win at Stamford Bridge – and knocked Steve Bruce’s Black Cats out of the League Cup in 2011 while with Brighton.
But it was his brace against Newcastle in the 2000 FA Cup semi-final which proved to be his crowning glory against the North East pair.
With 18 minutes remaining, Poyet’s header sent Chelsea through to the final after Rob Lee had cancelled out the midfielder’s opener.
Poyet will follow predecessor Paolo Di Canio in having his second match in charge against Newcastle. Di Canio famously secured a memorable 3-0 win at St James’s Park back in April, after losing his first game at Chelsea.