North East football’s pride at stake

by Chris

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

But who is number one?

No matter who they support, many football fans believe that their team is the pride of their area. Pride is not only about success, but also about reputation and respect for the team and their supporters. With Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Premier League, there is always going to be debate about just who is the pride of the North East?

This season has been, in all truth, a disaster for the North East football clubs. With Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough all fighting for Premier League survival, it is almost guaranteed that at least one of the clubs will be visiting the likes of Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Roy Keane’s Ipswich next season.

In terms of trophies, the North East cabinets do not exactly gleam in silverware. Newcastle have struggled to win a major trophy since the Fairs Cup in 1969 whilst Middlesbrough’s most recent trophy success was winning the League Cup in 2004 against Bolton. Sunderland however, won the Championship title in 2005 and again in 2007 under Roy Keane, promoting the Black Cats back into the top flight.

When considering the pride of the North East, it’s obvious you cannot judge it solely on trophy success. In terms of vocal support and attendance figures, Sunderland and Newcastle are perhaps well known for their passionate fans. However, you have to remember that the city of Newcastle has a higher population than their rival’s cities and towns.

Many may believe that Newcastle are the pride of the North East due to the fan base, but you have to consider how a club could be labelled this after numerous changes in management and other personnel behind the scenes.

With Sunderland, you also have passionate fans in numbers, but it is hard to consider them as the pride of the North East as they have yo-yoed from the top flight and the Championship in the last five years.

Middlesbrough however, could boast of their development of young players and giving them a chance to prove themselves. Whilst Newcastle and Sunderland splash the cash, Middlesbrough have brought through highly rated youngsters such as David Wheater, Stewart Downing and Adam Johnson. Although Boro do not have the same high attendances as their rivals, you still cannot question their passion and loyalty.

Outside of the Premiership, lets not forget the likes of Darlington and Hartlepool. It would be naive to dismiss these clubs within the debate just because of their position within the football league. After Darlington went into administration in February, the Quakers have slipped away from the playoffs. Whereas Hartlepool have all but secured their league one status after a disappointing campaign.

It might just be these fans, who choose to support their teams in the lower levels over the big timers, who are the pride of the North East.

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  • dexylongshot

    I like Middlesborough and Southgate, they bring through players as you say, much like my beloved West Ham. I have a sneaky sticky my neck out moment and say they might nick a point on Sat. It’s 11/2 but it will be the Mancs b-team. I hope they do!

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