Two thousand, six hundred and fifty one. A nice number. Most of you will not need telling that was the crowd last Saturday at Mariners Park for the Shields derby. Amazing. A bit embarrassing for those clubs, I hesitate to name names, who can generate barely any interest in the biggest city in the North East, but maybe it's just one of those things. Very good for the league in general and non league football on Tyneside in particular, TV and press coverage and a lot of word of mouth about what good entertainment and good value the Northern League offers. It should help us all.
However back to the business in hand. Vase today, against interesting opposition and in international week so not much else to do and hopefully a good few will take a trip to Meadow Park for their football fix. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed. We played Stockton a while back in a cup tie and a cracking game it was. Maybe Wembley for the winners?
In the wider world I see my old sparring partner Andy Murray is now world number one, with many an unkind pundit suggesting it is on the back of old age and injury among his rivals, but I have a different theory. Shanghai, Paris and God knows where else in the last few weeks to clinch it; we all like to be on our travels when there is a new baby in the house, but I think the Mrs might have noticed. And his mother will have been there watching. The tennis not the baby I mean; I don’t think Judy is one for staying home and helping the daughter in law with the nappies.
But of course the big news of the week is Sunderland finally winning a game. Soon as the weather turns so do the SoL boys. With a good dose of good luck I understand, but as I pointed out a few weeks ago, they have had plenty of bad luck and it does usually even out. And the Nigerian Scouser was the surprise packet. Took three months to get him fit and when you see the size of him you can understand why. He certainly battered the Bournemouth centre backs. Been playing for ten years and hasn’t got to a hundred starts, yet so Mr Moyes better take advantage while he is healthy. Never simple for Sunderland though, everybody else down the bottom promptly won as well, another long hard winter looms. West Ham look dodgy to me, playing in the old Olympic park isn’t helping, and nobody is ever disappointed to see West Ham get relegated anyway, so they are one of my early tips for the drop, along with Hull and somebody else, not sure who, which is worrying.