SUNDERLAND can overcome all-conquering Manchester City and win the Capital One Cup at Wembley – because they have God on their side.
The odds are stacked against the Black Cats defeating the ‘City Slickers’ on Sunday, March 2.
But after wins against Manchester United and Chelsea, manager Gus Poyet can approach the game with some measure of confidence.
After a tumultuous few months, life appears to be looking up at the Stadium of Light.
The disastrous reign of Paolo Di Cannio has been consigned to history, and Poyet now has the fans believing they can also avoid relegation from the Premiership.
The team can also rely on the prayers of South Shields priest, Father Michael Weymes, of St Bede’s RC Catholic Church in Westoe Road, who will be lighting candles in his church in support of the boys.
Father Michael, speaking in King Street, South Shields, said: “God bless them. Everyone will be supporting them, apart from some Black and Whites.
“I think they will do it, and everyone loves an underdog. I’ll be lighting some candles for them –red ones, of course.
“There’s another reason I’ll be cheering them on. My brother, Peter, is stadium manager at the Stadium of Light!”
Coun Eileen Leask, 66, who represents the Horsley Hill ward for Labour on South Tyneside Council, said: “It was a fabulous win against Manchester United.
“They were marvellous. I think they can do anything now they have made it to the final.
“It will be a huge task because Manchester City are so good, but why not?”
Karen Occomore, 42, took a break from preparing for the re-opening today of the Yorkshire Linen Company in King Street, to give her opinion.
She watched Wednesday’s game and thought it was a “game of two halves”.
She said: “I’m a Sunderland fan.
“They played really well in the first half, but then they nearly made a hash of it in the second.
“I think they can win at Wembley. I’m going for a 2-1 victory.”
Retired deep-sea fisherman William Martin, 75, of Oswald Gardens, South Shields, is less convinced.
He said: “It will be really, really tough and they’ll need all the luck in the world because Manchester City are so good. I think they are going to be way too strong on the day.”
South Shields shopper and Sunderland fan Jeff Stoker, 66, of Eggerton Road, South Shields, was at Wembley in 1973 when his team enjoyed their greatest triumph – Bob Stokoe’s team beating all the odds and defeating the then-mighty Leeds United to lift the FA Cup.
Sadly, he doesn’t see history repeating itself.
He said: “I fear it will be a step too far, but I hope I’m wrong.
“Defeating Manchester United was a brilliant achievement, but City are a different proposition. I’d go for a 3-0 defeat.”
South Shields shopworker Linda Woodhouse, 52, watched the United game, and was impressed at the way Poyet has developed a team spirit.
She said: “The win wasn’t a one- off. They had already defeated Chelsea during the run to the final so I think, why not Manchester City?”