DERBY matchwinner Jermain Defoe says he will “never forget” his Wear-Tyne heroics after sealing a fifth win in a row over Newcastle United.
Defoe’s stunning strike at the Stadium of Light yesterday equalled the record of five wins on the spin in the derby – set by Newcastle nine years ago – and more importantly saw Sunderland earn a huge three points in the fight against survival.
The 32-year-old had been told what to expect on his derby debut by his team-mates in the build-up to the game after the England international’s arrival in the January transfer window.
But Defoe – left in tears as the teams came off for half-time following his stunning strike – admitted the occasion far exceeded his expectations, with his goal making it an unforgettable occasion.
Defoe said: “The lads had told me what to expect during the week, but it was like ‘wow’.
“Even during the warm-up, the noise and coming up the tunnel, I got goosebumps.
“Coming to the stadium, seeing the fans on the streets and the kids in their shirts... it was just crazy.
“A special day. I’ll never forget this day.
“I got up yesterday morning and I was so excited. It was like my first game!
“You just want to do so well. It means so much to the people here, this game.
“And obviously we needed the three points as well.
“To play in a game like this AND score the winner, is just special.
“I love games like this where it means so much.
“You work hard, do well and you can be the hero.
“I was painting pictures in my mind all week and did everything right; stayed behind after training because I was so looking forward to the game.”
Defoe’s goal – a 20-yard left-foot volley from Steven Fletcher’s knock-down – will go down as one of THE all time great derby strikes.
Afterwards, the former Spurs frontman took his time in trying to put the goal in context from his decorated career, before eventually deciding that it ranked in his top two!
“It’s up there and with my weaker foot,” he added.
“Top five easy. Top two actually! That feeling was unbelievable.
“Fletch played that number nine role on his own and me and Connor (Wickham) just got around him.
“When he headed it, I saw it coming down and thought I’m just going to hit it on target.
“It happened so quick, but as soon as it left my foot, I just knew.
“It’s one of those moments where you think ‘wow, is this even happening?’
“The stadium just erupted and I got emotional. It’s hard to find words to even describe that feeling.
“I’ve always practised on my left foot since I was young, so I’m always confident that if a chance comes, I can hit it like I did.
“But to score a goal like that in a game like this, is a dream come true.
“Some things are just mean to be. The way we won the game was special.”