Excitement is building in the North East ahead of the first derby of the season, with Sunderland v Newcastle just days away.
In the run-up to the Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light, we have delved into the archives to bring you the 14 biggest Sunderland heroes in the history of Wear-Tyne matches.
14) Don Hutchison:
Boyhood Newcastle fan Hutchison scored the equaliser against the Toon in November 2000, a game which Sunderland went onto win 2-1. Gary Speed gave Newcastle a fourth-minute lead, but Sunderland scored twice in the second half through Hutchison and Niall Quinn, before Thomas Sorensen saved Shearer’s late penalty. Drama!
13) Paolo Di Canio:
A fiery and controversial character but he will always hold a special place in Sunderland fans’ memories purely for the ‘Di Canio knee slide.’ Sunderland’s first win at St James’s Park in 13 years culminated in a 3-0 win. His energetic behaviour on the touchline secured his place in derby day folklore.
12) Len Shackleton:
A true North East hero. His two-year stay at Newcastle was followed by nine long and successful years at Sunderland. In the years after his move, he famously said: “I’m not biased when it comes to Newcastle. I don’t care who beats them!”
11) Gus Poyet:
The former Black Cats boss had some record in derby matches against Newcastle United - boasting a 100 per cent record in the three derbies he managed in. His tenure as Sunderland boss ended in March this year.
10) Niall Quinn:
Who could forget Quinn scoring a header in the pouring rain, away from home against Ruud Gullit’s Newcastle side to help seal a 2-1 victory in 1999? The former striker, manager and chairman securing his legendary status when he scored at SJP again a year later.
9) Stan Cummins:
‘Little Stan’ was a player known for his exceptional skill and he scored the winner against Newcastle in 1980. Mind, his importance has more to do with subsequent failure as Sunderland were not to beat the Magpies at home again for 28 years.
8) Thomas Sorensen:
The giant Dane stopper was the hero when he saved an Alan Shearer penalty in November 2000 to ensure the Black Cats won at St James’s Park for the second successive season. Goals from Don Hutchison and Niall Quinn had overhauled Gary Speed’s opener before the save.
7) Arthur Bridgett:
Bridgett has 10 derby day goals, an astonishing record.He captained the Black Cats for 10 years and gained 11 England caps, making him Sunderland’s second most-capped England international behind Dave Watson.
6) Kevin Phillips:
It wouldn’t be a list of derby day heroes without Super Kev being on there, would it! He forged one of Sunderland’s greatest partnerships with Niall Quinn. And both scored on August, 25, 1999 to lead the side to a 2-1 victory away at St James’s Park.
5) Gary Rowell:
Club legend and Echo columnist Rowell became a wearside favourite and derby day hero in 1979 when he put three goals past the Magpies away at St James’s Park, Sunderland winning 4-1 in the Division two clash.
4) Marco Gabbiadini:
Playing the Division Two play off semi-final, Gabbiadini scored in the 86th minute to clinch Sunderland’s place in Wembley and ultimately a First Division place. Newcastle fans tried to have the game abandoned by invading the pitch but they didn’t succeed as the game was only delayed for 20 minutes.
3) Kieran Richardson:
Who could forget his rocket of a free-kick past Shay Given in October 2008? It proved to be the winning goal and a fine way to win a derby. It also ended his club’s remarkable 28-year wait for a home win over their neighbours.
2) Adam Johnson:
Easington-born winger Adam Johnson’s last-minute winner in December 2014 secured a record fourth successive victory over Newcastle United at St James’s Park for the Black Cats. They of course made it five straight wins under Dick Advocaat. Johnson also scored in both 3-0 away wins in the two seasons before too. Some record!
1) George Holley:
Holley scored three of the nine goals that brought an astonishing 9-1 victory at St James’s Park in 1908. Even more remarkably, it was a championship-winning season for the Magpies. Billy Hogg (three), Arthur Bridgett (two) and Jackie Mordue got the others. Holley has 15 derby goals, incredible!