Excuse the triumphalism. I am a Sunderland Fan and I am obviously greatly relieved that Newcastle United and Middlesborough have just been relegated from the Premier League rather than the Mackems.
But unlike many Sunderland Fans I am not massively opposed to our team's fellow North East rivals. I would be over the moon if Middlesborough were Premiership runners up and the Black and Whites finished third, as long as Sunderland took the title.
When I was 15 I had a very happy Easter watching Sunderland defeat Huddersfield Town 7-1 at Roker Park on the Good Friday, Newcastle defeat Man City 1-0 at St James' Park the following day and Middlesborough defeat Newcastle 2-1 at Ayresome Park on the Easter Monday. That seemed to me to be the natural order of things.
Mind you Len Shackleton played for Sunderland in those days and is the footballer I have seen play more games than any other. Having played for both the Black and Whites and their Red and White striped rivals, his take on the rivalry was "I'm not biased when it comes to Newcastle, I'm not bothered who beats them!". Not even Aston Villa, I assume.