Updated: Jul 14
Sunderland welcome Hull City to the Stadium of Light on the 24th anniversary of the stadium opening. The match is the final friendly of pre-season, before the season kicks off next Saturday against Wigan.
The two clubs have a number of similarities, including ownership problems, former players, former managers and finding themselves in League One in recent years. Of course, the Tigers won promotion last season, storming the division whilst Lee Johnson’s men failed in the play-offs.
Infamous former Sunderland and now Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has managed both Sunderland and Hull, winning two promotions in Black and Amber as well as getting them to an FA Cup final. He was actually pretty good at Sunderland, finishing a comfortable 10th in the Premier League. However, his relationship with the fans began to sour towards the end of his spell. Bruce was sacked with Sunderland 16th in the league and winning just 2 games out of the first 13.
When the Geordie manager was at Hull, he took with him several Black Cats. Ahmed Elmohamady, David Meyler and Michael Turner all played for Hull after leaving Sunderland. However, the most recent player to move to Humberside is George Honeyman. Although the midfield man split opinion at Sunderland, everyone was confused when news broke of the academy graduate moving to Hull, who were in the Championship at the time. He became a fan favourite at the KCOM Stadium, helping them push for promotion at the first time of asking. Honeyman finished joint-second of the League One assist table, only being bested by a certain Aiden McGeady.
Hull were the hosts when Sunderland played in the FA Cup quarter-final in 2014. Gus Poyet decided to play a weakened team which consisted of Andrea Dossena, Ignacio Scocco and Oscar Ustari. Despite the latter’s penalty save, Hull were comfortable victors, earning their place in the semi-final. They cruised to a 3-0 win, and in all honesty it could have been more. City manager Steve Bruce had the last laugh against his former employers.
The most recent fixture between the sides ended in a 2-2 draw at the KCOM, with Jordan Jones and Grant Leadbitter both getting on the scoresheet. Hopefully tonight’s game will be equally as filled with goals, giving the fans a taste of what’s to come on Wearside this season.