The Wear–Tyne derby, also known as the North East derby, is a local derby between the association football clubs Sunderland and Newcastle United. The derby is an inter-city rivalry in North East England with the two cities of Sunderland and Newcastle just twelve miles apart. Sunderland play their home matches at the Stadium of Light whilst Newcastle play their home matches at St. James' Park. The first meeting of the two sides took place in 1883, with the first competitive fixture being an 1888 FA Cup tie, which Sunderland won 2–1. To date, both teams have won the fixture 53 times, whilst sharing 49 draws – one of which Sunderland went on to win via a penalty shootout. Sunderland have dominated the Tyne–Wear derby in recent seasons. They are currently undefeated in the last nine matches between the local rivals, including six consecutive victories from 14th April 2013 to 25th October 2015. The most recent meeting of the two sides, on the 20th March 2016, was a Premier League match at the St James' Park and ended in a 1–1 draw, with Jermain Defoe opening the scoring for Sunderland before Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised for Newcastle. Yann M'Vila, who has played in both games, describes it as bigger than the Milan derby.
The history of the Wear–Tyne derby is a modern-day extension of a rivalry between Sunderland and Newcastle that dates back to the English Civil War when protestations over advantages that merchants in Royalist Newcastle had over their Wearside counterparts led to Sunderland becoming a Parliamentarian stronghold.
Sunderland and Newcastle again found themselves on opposite sides during the Jacobite Rebellions, with Newcastle in support of the Hanoverians with the German King George, and Sunderland siding with the Scottish Stuarts.
Players warm up at the Stadium of Light ahead of the derby game.
Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century, the main rivalries in Sunderland and Newcastle were cross-town affairs. In Newcastle, a rivalry existed during the 1880s between Newcastle East End (later to become Newcastle United) and Newcastle West End, which was ended with West End's bankruptcy in 1892. Meanwhile, on Wearside, a group of players broke away from Sunderland, and formed the rival Sunderland Albion in 1888, though Albion was forced to fold four years later. The first meeting between the two took place in 1883, with the first competitive fixture, an FA Cup tie in November 1887. Sunderland won the game 2–0.
Around the turn of the 20th century, the rivalry began to emerge. The 1901 Good Friday encounter, late in the 1900–01 season at St James' Park had to be abandoned as up to 120,000 fans made their way into a ground which then had a capacity of 30,000. The news was met with anger, and rioting followed, with a number of fans injured. However, in general, although the derby attracted big crowds – with fans often climbing trees and buildings for views of the game – there is little evidence to suggest any animosity between the two sets of supporters in the pre-war and immediate post-war period. On 5 December 1908, Sunderland beat Newcastle 9–1 at St James' Park, despite this Newcastle still won the league title that season finishing 9 points ahead of their local rivals who finished 3rd. The result remains the biggest ever win in a Tyne–Wear derby, as well as the Wearsiders' biggest ever win away from home and Newcastle's biggest ever home league defeat. Newcastle's largest victory margin in a derby is 6–1, which they have achieved twice – at home in 1920 and away in 1955.
In 1979, Sunderland won 4–1 at Newcastle, with Gary Rowell (who was born in Seaham, County Durham) scoring a hat-trick. On New Year's Day 1985, Newcastle-born Peter Beardsley scored a hat trick in Newcastle's 3–1 victory in the fixture.
Side-by-side comparison of Newcastle's and Sunderland's final league positions 1891-2015
In 1990, the sides met in a Second Division play off semi final dubbed 'the biggest Tyne–Wear derby in history'. The first leg, at Roker Park, ended goalless after Sunderland missed a penalty, who then won the second leg 2–0 at St James' Park. Towards the end of the second leg, some Newcastle fans invaded the pitch in the hope of forcing an abandonment. However, the game was resumed and Sunderland completed the win. Sunderland went on lose the final to Swindon Town, but were still promoted due to financial irregularities at Swindon.
In a memorable derby on 25 August 1999, Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit dropped leading scorers Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson to the bench. Sunderland went on to win the game 2–1 at St. James' Park thanks to goals from Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn, and in the face of outrage from Newcastle fans, Gullit quit before their next match. Sunderland repeated the feat a year later, in a match remembered for Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen saving a Shearer penalty. Another eventful derby on 17 April 2006, Newcastle came from one nill down at half time to beat Sunderland 4–1 at the Stadium of Light. One of Newcastle's scorers that day, Michael Chopra, later joined Sunderland and played in 3 derbies against Newcastle. On 25 October 2008, Sunderland beat Newcastle 2–1 at the Stadium of Light, their first home win in a derby for 28 years.
On 31 October 2010, Newcastle beat Sunderland, who played with 10 men for over 60 minutes, 5–1 at home, with their captain Kevin Nolan scoring a hat-trick in the match, while Sunderland's former Newcastle defender Titus Bramble was sent off. Newcastle led the return fixture in January 2011 1–0 thanks to another Nolan goal, only for Sunderland's Asamoah Gyan to equalise in injury time. The next derby took place in August 2011 at the Stadium of Light, where Newcastle won 1–0 thanks to a Ryan Taylor free kick. The return fixture at St. James Park ended 1–1. Both sides were charged by the FA for failing to keep their players under control, charges which they both accepted.
On 14 April 2013, Sunderland defeated Newcastle 3–0 at St James' Park in manager Paolo Di Canio's second game in charge, their first away win in the fixture in 13 years. The attendance for the game was 52,355 with 2,000 Sunderland fans, this included the suspended Black cats midfielder Craig Gardner. The Sunderland goalscorers were Stéphane Sessègnon in the 27th minute, Adam Johnson in the 74th minute and David Vaughan in the 82nd minute. The following season saw Sunderland do the double over Newcastle for the first time since the 1966/67 season and win three derbies in a row since 1923- the Black Cats edging a 2–1 Stadium of Light on 27 October 2013, before a repeat 0–3 victory at St James Park on 1 February 2014, with goals from Fabio Borini, Adam Johnson and Jack Colback. On 21 December 2014, Adam Johnson scored a late goal in the 90th minute past goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick, at St James' Park ensuring that Sunderland had defeated Newcastle in 4 consecutive derbies- a new record and it was also Sunderland's third consecutive victory at St James' Park. On April 5, 2015 Sunderland again defeated Newcastle to make it five derby wins in a row and doing the double over Newcastle for a second consecutive season, Jermaine Defoe scored a stunning 22 yard strike on the stroke of half-time to give Sunderland victory. On 25 October 2015 Sunderland once again defeated Newcastle to make it a record sixth consecutive derby victory over their rivals. A penalty from Adam Johnson opened the scoring which saw Newcastle down to 10 men with Fabricio Collocini sent off as a result. Then a goal from Billy Jones and a fine Steven Fletcher volley sealed the win.
The 1996–97 season saw Sunderland join Newcastle in the Premier League. However proposals were put forward to ban Newcastle fans from the aging Roker Park on safety and security grounds. A last-minute agreement by Sunderland and Northumbria Police was to allow 1,000 Newcastle supporters to attend the game. However, Newcastle had already made arrangements for a live televised beamback, and so rejected the offer. Responding to criticism from fans, Newcastle's then Chief Executive Freddie Fletcher suggested that the state of Roker Park was to blame and told fans: "Don't blame Newcastle. Don't blame Northumbria Police. Blame Sunderland!"
In response to the ban on Newcastle fans at Roker Park, Newcastle placed a similar ban on Sunderland fans for the return fixture at St James' Park.
Fearing that this would set a precedent for future derby matches, supporters groups and fanzines of both sides joined together to form the Wear United pressure group. Supporters of both sides were assured that away fans would be able to attend future derby games, though this was probably more to do with the fact that the 1996–1997 season was Sunderland's last at Roker Park before moving into the brand new Stadium of Light.
In January 2014, following violence after the previous year's derby in Newcastle, a 'bubble trip' was announced for Sunderland fans wishing to travel to St James' Park for the game- supporters would be denied entry unless they travelled to the game on official buses leaving from Sunderland, regardless of where they lived. The measure resulted in an angry response from both Sunderland and Newcastle supporters, with websites and fanzines from both sets of fans issuing a joint statement opposing the measure. Subsequently, a row broke out between the clubs and Northumbria Police as to why the bubble trip was being implemented, and Sunderland AFC withdrew the conditions, and in a joint statement with Newcastle United, criticised Northumbria Police's claims that they had not directed changes in kick off times over many years as 'false and absurd', and that all future games would kick off at times to suit the clubs and any TV broadcasts.
The Wear–Tyne derby has on occasion experienced incidents of football hooliganism. In 1990, as Sunderland led the playoff semi final 2–0, some Newcastle fans entered the pitch, in the hope of getting the match abandoned. There were 160 arrests in connection with a game in 2001. In 2008, after Sunderland beat Newcastle at home for the first time in 28 years, there was a small pitch invasion by Sunderland fans, and missiles were thrown at Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton, although manager Roy Keane played down the seriousness of the incident. On 16 January 2011 in the FA Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light, a 17-year-old Sunderland fan ran onto the pitch and pushed over Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper, and was among 24 people who were arrested in connection with a string of hooligan incidents at the game. However, incidents of violence are not as common as sometimes suggested – for example Sunderland were awarded the best behaved fans award for the 2010–11 season, despite the derby day arrests.
On 14 April 2013, some Newcastle United fans rioted on the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne following the 3–0 defeat by Sunderland at St. James' Park, with one fan's attack on a police horse gaining international media attention. Four police officers were injured and 29 arrests made. Confrontation between fans of the rival teams at Newcastle's Central Station was shown in the series All Aboard: East Coast Trains in an episode entitled Derby Day.
There are a number of players who have donned both the black and white stripes of Newcastle as well as Sunderland's red and white stripes. Here are the players who have appeared in the first teams of both sides.
In addition, the guest system operated in British football during World War II meant that most teams fielded guest players. Amongst these was the Newcastle forward Jackie Milburn who made two guest appearances for Sunderland against Gateshead twice during the 1944–45 season. Sunderland drew the first game 2–2 and lost the other 4–2. Another Newcastle striker, Albert Stubbins also guested for Sunderland several times during the 1941–42 season, including an appearance in the Wartime Cup Final, which Sunderland lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers despite a Stubbins goal.
Bob Stokoe, who won the FA Cup as a player with Newcastle in 1955, was manager of Sunderland between 1972 and 1977, guiding the Wearsiders to their famous FA Cup victory in 1973 and promotion to Division One in 1976. He returned to manage them briefly again in 1987.
Only one man has taken charge of both teams. On 15 May 2007, Newcastle appointed Sam Allardyce as their new manager, who had played for Sunderland in the early 1980s. He was named the new manager of Sunderland on 9 October 2015, becoming the first person to manage both derby rivals.
^Middlebrook, S. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Its Growth and Achievement, p. 87. Newcastle Chronicle and Journal, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1950 and Corfe, Tom History of Sunderland, pp. 35–45. Frank Graham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1973
^Griffiths, Bill A Dictionary of North East Dialect, p. 86. Northumbria University Press, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2004