South Tyneside folk get ready for derby day

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Bragging rights in workplaces, pubs and schools across the borough are up for grabs tomorrow as supporters of Newcastle United and Sunderland cheer their teams on.

Newcastle United go into the game at their St James’s Park home ground after losing to Tottenham Hotspur in their League Cup quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Despite that loss, the Magpies’ recent good form has seen them rise to eighth in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are struggling nearer the bottom of the division, and Gus Poyet’s team desperately need to chalk up more victories.

Sunderland have won the last three derbies, but can they make it four in a row?

We headed out into South Shields town centre to ask shoppers which way they think the game will go.

One view was unanimous. The game might not be pretty, but it will be exciting. Welding inspector and Sunderland fan Bruce Raine, 50, of Westoe Crown Village, thinks his team can snatch a victory.

He said: “My family has split rivalries. Myself and my younger brother are Sunderland fans, and my two older brothers support Newcastle.

“Newcastle are at home, so they have the most to lose, and we’re draw specialists at the moment, but I think we can get a narrow win, maybe 2-1.

“I work in Wallsend, and I won’t be looking forward to going in on Monday morning if we’ve lost.

“Each lot of supporters wants the bragging rights.

“Newcastle losing in the cup may also have an impact. They might be a little bit more nervous.”

South Tyneside College student Nathan Bell, 18, of Halstead Place, South Shields, is predicting an unlikely 7-1 win for the Black Cats.

He said: “I don’t know why, but I think it’s going to be a real shock result. I’m a Newcastle supporter, but I just have a feeling we’ll get hammered. I’ve even put a bet on for that score.”

Fellow student Aiden Scott, 19, of Westoe Road, added: “Newcastle will win, but it will be close. I’d probably go for a 2-1 win, with Ayoze Perez getting the winner.”

Retired shipyard worker Barry Key, 66, of Jarrow, is a neutral. He supports Stoke City.

Predicting a 1-1 draw, he said: “The odds go out the window when it is a derby match, and form counts for nothing.

“Newcastle losing in the cup might spur them on, but you really can’t say what will happen.”

South Shields shopper Thomas Tweddle, 81, a former electrician at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, fears that the police are inviting trouble by not accompanying Sunderland fans from Newcastle Central train station to St James’s Park.

He said: “I hope that does not backfire and there is no trouble.

“I had a couple of friends who were dog-handlers with the police, and they’d tell me there were always Newcastle fans goading the Sunderland supporters on the way to the game.

“As for the result, I’d go for a 2-2 draw.”

Retired pit-worker Hector Sim, of Marsden Miners’ Cottages, said: “I think it will be close because Sunderland are returning to a bit of form, but I think my team, Newcastle, can edge it, maybe even 2-0.

“A derby is always a special occasion.”