IT is one of the speculative questions that greets the start of every season in which the two teams are in the same division: which side will finish the higher, Sunderland or Newcastle?
The 2014-15 fixture list comes out in the middle of next week sparking discussions about the dates of the derbies, the ebb and flow of difficult sequences and the run of opportunities to pick up points.
And then after that and in the weeks ahead as signings are made and pre-season games are played, pubs and clubs across Wearside and Tyneside will echo to debate about which of the North East teams is up for the best Premier League season.
No doubt the name ‘Jack Colback’ will be raised in all sorts of contexts across both cities!
For the record, our big Sunderland Survey suggest Sunderland fans feel that Gus Poyet’s miracle will continue and Newcastle’s slump towards the end of last season will go on.
In total, 74 per cent of fans in our poll thought Sunderland would finish higher up the table in the 2014-15 campaign than Newcastle United.
Not bad considering the Magpies were hardly out of the top half of the table last season and Sunderland barely out of the bottom three.
Stephen Dunn of South Shields was one of many who thought Newcastle had problems: “Without Loic Remy I think they are relegation material and I can’t seen Mike Ashley giving Alan Pardew enough money.”
“They are in complete disarray,” said Annie Hill of Bromley.
Others foresaw a brighter Sunderland future: “
Mark Doneathy of Northumberland said: “Under Gus Poyet I can see us finishing in the top 10 and I can also see another season of turmoil for Newcastle.”
Fred Naisby of Tunstall said: “Even though the table from last season showed them above us , we seemed to be heading in the right direction while they were going backwards. Another seven or eight games and we would probably have finished above them.”
“Of course we’ll finish above them,” said David Kay of West Rainton. “From January onwards Newcastle were terrible and we were superb. Hopefully next season we end up mid-table and they go down.”
Others weren’t so sure.
“It really depends on what both teams do in the transfer market,” pointed out Trevor Davis of Consett and many agreed with him.
Many others insisted that they were really not bothered how Newcastle did next season, just so long as Sunderland were successful.