The Tyne-Wear Derby Chronicles: Part Six


The Premier League Years I

What both sets of supporters would give for victory in the upcoming derby. Both sides have had well-publicised problems on and off the field this season and, winning this will be make or break for either side as the season hones in on the final straight. Not only this past season, but throughout both sides respective sojourns in the Premier League, there have been highs and lows. More often than not it has been the black and white of Newcastle United that has emerged on top of the famed, Tyne-Wear derby.

Some twenty one matches have been played in the Premier League, Sunderland however have won just three of them, much to the delight of the Toon Army. As we head into the twenty second encounter between the two rivals some fifty five goals have been netted, Newcastle with an impressive thirty four of them, and, although there is still to be a goalless derby in the top flight of English football, the Magpies have kept a clean sheet on five occasions (Sunderland are still to do so).

The first derby in the Premier League would be played on the 4th September 1996, three and a half years after the last encounter which saw a solitary Scott Sellars strike seal a home win in the old First Division in what was United’s Championship winning season under Kevin Keegan in 1993. In the 1996 encounter a paltry a crowd of just over 22,000 turned out at Roker Park as United travelled to face a previously undefeated Sunderland side, and fell behind to a Martin Scott penalty after just twenty minutes. He sent Pavel Srnicek the wrong way after Robbie Elliott had brought down Steve Agnew just inside the area. Newcastle came out fighting in the second half as they set about silencing the famous ‘Roker Roar,’ and two goals from the visitors inside a ten minute spell, did just that. Peter Beardsley levelled with a ‘tame’ header following a chipped pass from Les Ferdinand just seven minutes after the restart. Sunderland’s confidence drained as United got more and more on top of the game. In the 63rd minute pressure told and the visitors scored what proved to be the winning goal. Richard Ord conceded a corner which was perfect for the mercurial Frenchman, David Ginola, to deliver pin-point for the head of the towering Ferdinand and Roker Park was silenced.


(Some of the greatest attacking talent in the Premier league era have appeared in the Tyne-Wear derby including above, Messrs Alan Shearer and the mercurial Peter Beardsley; and below ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn ‘Disco Pants’)


Sunderland would win two of the next four derbies, both at St. James’ Park and both consisting of goals by Niall Quinn but it is the former of the two that hankered long in the hearts of many a United faithful. Defeat is a hard enough pill to swallow but the manner in which it was offered to the enemy by then manager, Ruud Gullit, was to be the beginning of the end of his managerial spell on Tyneside. He just didn’t get the importance of the occasion and in doing so left that of Alan Shearer, Duncan Ferguson and Robert Lee on the bench. Newcastle did take the lead though, through Kieron Dyer inside the opening half an hour, who was played through by the preferred striker, Paul Robinson. Sunderland took to the second half with much vigour and within twenty minutes levelled when Nicky Summerbee’s cross was headed home by Quinn at the near post. Newcastle capitulated in the rain and Summerbee again played a part, his cross-field pass picking out a racing Kevin Phillips. Although the strikers’ first effort was saved by Tommy Wright, he followed up with a chip from the left side of the area to net a disastrous winner.

Sunderland’s victory in November 2000 was to be their last for eight years during which time Newcastle registered six victories from nine encounters, including five on the bounce between 2002 and 2006. The remaining three matches during this spell all finished as 1-1 draws. The first of the five-in-a-row was in front of the highest Premier League derby attendance at Sunderland when a 48,290 crowd saw a second half goal from defender, Nikos Dabizas, seal a 1-0 away win for United. Clean sheets followed in a 2-0 home win where both Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer scored, then a penalty minutes before the interval, from Nolberto Solano, sealed another win on Sunderland.

The matches that were played in October 2005 and April 2006 would consist of ten goals, the introduction of the ‘Mackem Slayer’ and Shearer’s last in a United shirt. And they my friends are part two of ‘The Premier League Years’ ……


About petermannwriter

Freelance (Sports/Music) Journalist

Posted on 25/10/2015, in Football, Newcastle United and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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