MY FIRST TIME AND FAVOURITE GAME, GROUND & PLAYER. BY SIMON CRABTREE


With very little going on right now, we thought it would be nice for folk to look back on their time supporting the lads and name their favourite game, ground and player as well as remembering their first time watching the lads…


Today's very special guest is Simon Crabtree...


Feel free to contribute yours to info@a-love-supreme.com


FIRST COMMENTARY GAME

I’d got the best gig going for my first ever full match commentary… Sunderland commentator for Metro Radio! I got the job thanks to a recommendation from Guy Mowbray and the faith of Mick Lowes. Two people who continued to help me massively in my career and I’m always thankful for that. Some match to be my debut too… but I wasn’t alone that day (aside from Lord Rowell, obviously). The North Stand extension and a Slovakian centre half (who was almost as tall) also made their first appearances. Stan Varga had a worldy didn’t he? He was immense that day. I do wonder how different things might have been for him if he hadn’t got that horrific injury in the next match at Maine Road. The atmosphere was electric and we only imagined good times ahead… what would you give right now for a home Premier League match against Arsenal? Any Premier League match? Actually, just right, any match at all…

FAVOURITE GAME

A few weeks later and we would head up the road for what would be a game changer for me. I’d been getting some seriously bad letters sent to me (including one hoping I would die on the way to the next match) and it had seriously knocked any confidence I might have had at the start of the season. By the time we got to the derby in November I had nothing to lose. I’d thrown the commentator handbook out the window and decided to just do it my way and, most of all, enjoy it. Everything felt different for me after that match. I felt accepted. Part of the Sunderland family. Once you’re in – you’re in forever. And I love that. Totally. The weather was great, Sunderland came from an early goal down, Tommy saved a penalty… oh… and Tony Blair’s boys took one hell of a beating! A great weekend…



FAVOURITE GROUND

Let’s assume I can’t say Roker Park or SoL? If I can’t those… can I say Deepdale? Despite my North East heritage, I was born in Preston and brought up a North End fan. The first few years were watching them getting relegated season after season until they had to apply for re-election to stay alive. So, anything after that felt like a bonus! It was also the first place I watched Sunderland too, in 1988. I’d be lying I didn’t say it’s got a big part in my heart.

FAVOURITE PLAYER

There’s a few former players who I now class as some of my best friends. So, they’re my favourites already. I’ll try and go for someone else though. But crikey… it’s a tough decision! I’ve always had an affinity with the goalkeepers. Mart Poom is definitely up there. The Poominator told me off once in a supermarket for my trolly being “full of rubbish”! But I’m going to choose two players actually and you can’t stop me. Two lads I’ve watched work their way up the ranks as kids and get to the very top. Great players and great people. Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford. I think we always knew they were going to be top players didn’t we? As well as the obvious natural talent they both have a will and determination to be the absolute best… and both still with plenty ahead of them. It’s always great to have a little chat about Sunderland when I see either of them and they’re still very proud of where they’ve come from and that’s great too.

So that’s it really. Thanks for asking me! Stay safe, healthy and happy Easter everyone… STID


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