While this Christmas is going to be vastly different for almost everyone this year, the news that we would have to miss some of our festive games came as a blow as we had just looked like turning a corner after the 4-0 at Lincoln.

If ever you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself, pissed off with something. Bad day at work, chew on over something meaningless. Give yourself a minute and Google “ji v man city bbc 5 live.”

The audio clip is special. Sometimes the less you can see the more you take in. You’re almost blind to the action and so you focus on the sounds. It starts with relief as we clear an attack, the roar builds as we look to counterattack.

The belief transfers from fans to players as the wave of positivity and urgency gives the tail wind for one last attack. As we make our way to the 18-yard box the suspense is tantalising. The ball played into Sessegnon, straight back to Ji, he’s almost laid down as he shimmies round England’s number one, the noise at fever pitch.

Then, silence. Just for a millisecond.


The whole of Wearside inhales a gulp of air. Almost a white noise of sound deafens as the unbelievable is about to happen. He rolls the ball into the net and is mobbed by players and fans. Securing himself in the hearts of Sunderland fans everywhere. Ecstasy.

Strangers hug each other, gangs of lads roll down steps. People race back up the exits to join in the celebrations. We took on the best and won. They weren’t just a good team; this team went on to win the league.

There is something special about the SOL at night, the crowds are always bigger over Xmas. Probably owing to lots of people returning to their hometown to be with families. This game will always stand out for me for the happy memories. Just for once we were on top of the world. Hopefully one day we can not only take on the best, but we beat the very best.

Merry Christmas