A knifeman narrowly missed his victim’s jugular vein when he stabbed him in the neck during a Metro station confrontation.
David Sorlie plunged a blade into Sean Smith’s flesh during a 6am stand-off in a stairway over the Jarrow platforms on October 14 last year.
The victim needed hospital treatment to the neck wound, which bled heavily, and told police in a statement: "I could have been killed."
Mr Smith told officers he was "shocked" at what happened at the hands of an attacker who had been his friend for years.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the men had been drinking together until the early hours when an argument between them spilled into the street.
A judge has said could not be sure who introduced the knife into the fight on the Metro stairs.
Sorlie, 32, of Chichester Road, South Shields, who was out on licence from a prison sentence for robbery at the time of the attack and has 50 convictions, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding.
Judge Paul Sloan sentenced him to 27 months behind bars.
The judge told him: "The confrontation erupted into violence, you kept going towards Mr Smith.
"I cannot be sure who introduced the knife into the confrontation.
"I sentence you on the basis that it wasn’t you.
"However, once you had hold of the knife, you used it deliberately to inflict injury.
"You intentionally stabbed Mr Smith, even though at that stage he was unarmed and you had suffered superficial injuries.
"The blow struck him in the neck. The wound narrowly missed his jugular vein.
"The wound bled profusely.
"In my judgement, you did use the knife intentionally to cause injury, not recklessly."
Glen Gatland, defending, said Sorlie had found a home and was looking for work after his release from jail last August and is "disappointed" to find himself in trouble again.
Mr Gatland said Sorlie has unresolved bereavement issues after the loss of his two brothers within weeks of each other in 2003.
Mr Gatland added: "The background to this is that the defendant, we would say, had disarmed Sean Smith and should and could have walked away but he failed to do so.
"It was as a result of that that this injury occurred."