“Looking at this makes me feel like someone is groping around my skull…”
- James Sunderland, Silent Hill 2
Paolo Di Canio is an insatiable reader. The Italian ingests books at a frightening rate, and when he moved to the north east of England to take up the manager’s chair at Sunderland, he made a point of collecting a variety of history books reflecting the local area.
“I like to study the history,” he explained. “[I know] the fact that it started in 1640 in the [English] Civil War.”
The ‘it’ he’s referring to is the Tyne-Wear divide. The Italian was forced to face his first derby fixture in just his second game in charge and thus was eager to understand the very foundations of the rivalry in which he was taking part.
As Di Canio rightly points out, Newcastle and Sunderland’s rivalry is far greater than 90 minutes on a football field. Dating back to the days of the English Civil War, the two parties represented opposite sides, typified by the battle of Bolden Hill where the majority of Roundheads were understood to hail from Sunderland and the King’s Cavaliers were from Newcastle.
Since day one of the league year, we have been at the top of the premier league table, and if we win the league and it stays that way then we will have another premier league record in our hands.
Some of the records we currently hold:
Most wins in a season (29/38)
Most points in a season (95/114)
Least goals conceded in a season (15)
Most away wins in a season (15/19)
Longest unbeaten run at home (86 games from 2004-2008)
Highest no. clean sheets in a season (25/38)
By winning the title this year, we will add number of days at the top of the league to our list, knocking current record holders Manchester United off the top. This is the current standings for that record:
1. Manchester United (1993/1994) - 262 days 2. Chelsea (2005/2006) - 257 days 3. Manchester United (2006/2007) - 250 days 4. Manchester United (2000/2001) - 241 days 5. Chelsea (2014/2015)* 230 days and counting
We are on course for an almighty 274 days at the top of the league! We just have to obtain 15 more points (less if our nearest rivals drop points, but we have it in our own hands) from our last 8 games against: QPR, Man United, Arsenal, Leicester (our game in hand), Crystal Palace, Liverpool, West Brom and Sunderland. Currently 7 points (with that game in hand) ahead of our nearest rival, we will be top for another 16 days guaranteed. Note that significant years like the invincibles, missing from that top 5 list. Since day one, dominance. Not a load of poxy draws.