Video of the Day: Newcastle United vs Sunderland, May 1990
Last night here on 200%, we had a look back through the mists of time to an infamous match in 1901 between Newcastle United and Sunderland which had to be called off before kick-off. As we noted, the history of the Tyne-Wear derby is pock-marked with violence, and today’s videos go back to the tail-end of the worst period in the history of the game for hooliganism and a round of play-off matches that may well have left the Football League wondering whether the whole concept of these end of season mini-tournaments were even worth the effort of playing them.
Both Newcastle and Sunderland had a disappointing time of things in the 1980s. Both spent time outside the top flight, and at the end of the 1989/90 season, with Leeds United and Sheffield United having claimed the automatic promotion places, these two north-east giants were desperate to reclaim a place in the First Division. With Newcastle having finished in third place in the table and Sunderland having finished in sixth position, they had to play each other for a place in the final against the winners of the other play-off match, between Swindon Town and Blackburn Rovers.
Because of their league positions, the first leg was played at Roker Park and the second leg at St James Park. After a draw in the first match, Newcastle began the second as favourites to get to Wembley, but Sunderland had a surprise in store for their hosts and the home support ended up venting their frustration at the evening’s events with behaviour that was rather too familiar at the time. Sunderland lost the play-off final to Swindon, but shortly after that match were promoted anyway after Swindon Town’s financial misdemeanours caught up with them. Commentary for the first leg comes from Roger Tames, and for the second leg from Alan Parry.
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