Ahead of Sunderland Vs Tranmere Rovers this weekend I wanted to try and capture what it actually means to a Mackem to see our team Sunderland AFC play at Wembley Stadium.
It is no secret that supporting Sunderland is a hard task. You put in your everything, spend a lot of energy on it, and the return isn’t always there. These last few years especally have been so incredibly difficult to keep the faith. But there is something magical about this club. Every now and then it hits you. Something happens. We dare to dream. And we are reminded; This is the greatest club in the world.
Wembley is about more than just a game of football. It is an occasion, an event. Something that we can talk about for years after. The memories of going down to London are something that we can hold onto forever.
There are three things that any mackem will say about Wembley Weekend:
- They cost an absolute fortune. Staying in London is expensive, and the amount of alcohol consumed doesn’t come cheap!
- The football usually ruins it. We have lost at our last 7 Wembley appearences, and haven’t won at the new Wembley Stadium at all…
- I’m not going down there again (absolutely going down again). You know how a woman will go through labour a second time despite the horrific pain experienced in the first? That is the only thing comparible to the attitudes towards putting yourself through it again!
The general tradition now is to travel down the day before the game, stay in the cheapest most rotten hotel you can find and head to Covent Garden. Once there, we drink all the alcohol in The Punch and Judy, The Nags Head, The Nicholsons and The White Lion. Then we raid the Tesco extra just around the corner. And finally take over Trafalgar Square. This may seem like too much alcohol to some. However, that is what it takes to calm the nerves!!!!
The chaos in the capital is a huge part of the adventure and something not to be missed. The last time I was there was for the Checkatrade Trophy against Portsmouth in 2019. That was actually the last time I was in London before all this kicked off. The hotel we stayed in was something else. Me and my sister shared a room and pushed a chair against the door as a precaution. There was one toilet for the whole floor. And it was just generally shady.
But it didn’t matter.
And yes, the football ruined the weekend, however the memories of having a few drinks, with half of Sunderland, bumping into everyone you know because everyone is there. We created an absolute mess on trafalger Square. There were many people in the fountain, footballs flying everywhere. We painted the city red and white with flairs and flags. Having a right laugh, taking in the excitement and hyping yourself up for the game the next day. Those memories are forever. They can never be taken away from us. And that is what makes it worth being a Sunderland fan.
All the heartbreak, the stress, the anger and the general disapoitment. It is worth it, to see our team accomplish that. Even is we lost the game.
I hope this weekend has a better outcome. The fans deserve it, the players deserve it, and the city deserves to have a winning team.
And where the fuck is Tranmere anyway?!?
Stay Safe, and Ha’way the lads!
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