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What it means for a Geordie when the Wear-Tyne derby arrives

We haven't had a proper derby since the 1-1 draw at St. James' Park back in March 2016, almost eight years a go. During that time Sunderland have been playing their trade in League One and the Championship, and it's only the magic of the FA Cup that has brought the two rivalries back - because the Wearside club can't get back in to the Premier League.

When the draw for the FA Cup was announced, it was actually a club official who told me in Dan King before NUFC Women kicked off at Kingston Park, I told him 'shut up' in my response and amazement that we had the derby back. The opposition have had plenty of stick off the Toon Army for playing in lower leagues, having the drama on Netflix, the ownership, not many people knowing their players and even being in the same cup competition for a couple of years with Newcastle United's U21 side - they even played each other at the Stadium Of Light, which goes down as a competitive game for the Mackems. Newcastle have gone the other way with new owners and Champions League football returning.

The build up this week with people who I know who support Sunderland has cranked up, the jokes have started from both sides and no doubt the winners will be bragging all over Teams, Zoom and in person at workplaces, family homes and pubs across Tyneside. The sense of pride coming from Newcastle, being a Geordie who lives under six miles away and working literally next door to St. James' Park, I can't escape seeing Newcastle United everyday, running a fan brand on top, it's everywhere for me. Saturday means everything for Geordies, it's having an ego of being top dogs in the area, one over mates for weeks on end (probably longer with Sunderland a tier lower) and you can begin the bragging rights. Defeat is not an option, you can not let the opposition torture you, it is not acceptable and as popular as Eddie Howe is right now, despite the awful run of form, many fans will turn if Newcastle are dumped out of the FA Cup by the enemy.

This Saturday morning, I will make my way to St. James' Park with my allotted time slot to get on one of several coaches put on by Newcastle United, on the clubs strict policy - the only way to attend the game, guided by Northumbria Police. I will have my ticket in hand, bringing fans who can't go to the game, an insight look on a supporter bus, the concourse at the stadium and the atmosphere will no doubt be rocking with 6,000 fans in the away end. If, and it should go to plan, celebrations will be in order.

A sense of pride, passion, DNA and representing your city is on the line.



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