With very little going on right now, we tasked our regular writers 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… First up is Sobs, others to follow daily. Feel free to contribute yours to FIRST GAME: Easter Monday, 1968 when I finally persuaded dad to take me to Roker. Charlie Hurley against Derek Dougan of Wolves, the footballing equivalent of Thor v Hulk. While those two smashed into each other, scaring the life out of little old me, a goal in each half from Colin Todd and George Herd got both points. Sunderland were already my team, but day included the crowd, the pies, and the noise, and proved my allegiance.

FAVOURITE GAME: Newcastle 1 Sunderland 4. February 24th 1979 is a date which I’ll not forget. In a dilapidated Leazes End, we watched one of our own, Mr Rowell hit perhaps our club’s most celebrated hat-trick, Wayne Entwistle finish things off, and celebrated like idiots at the final whistle. Then there was the small matter of dodging under a police horse in Leazes Park ‘cos I didn’t want to go to the central station.

FAVOURITE GROUND: For all the sorry state it was in towards the end, when the hopelessly reduced capacity meant it was simply no longer fit for purpose, it has to be Roker. I love the SoL, but, football-wise, I grew up at Roker. I learned the ways of the football fan, developed immunity to stadium pies, watched my heroes in the flesh, established friendships that last to this day, and generally learned how to be a human being. FAVOURITE PLAYER: One of our own – in fact, our record appearance maker, and a vital contributor to “that” FA Cup win with Wembley’s most celebrated save. Jimmy Monty - my mam knew his brother in law and arranged for Jim to kick off a charity match at our school soon after ‘73. He was a lovely bloke, later sorting me tickets for a game at Carlisle, and we once “kidnapped” him on the train back from a London game to talk about the FA Cup. When we thanked him and apologised, he said “I’ll talk about that all day every day. Thank YOU.” As Vic Reeves would say – “whadda guy!” Stay Safe, Haway the Lads