With Gateshead’s Wembley date booked for the FA Trophy final, both Sunderland and Middlesborough could make it a triple threat North-East takeover of London this month.
After Sunderland’s final day heroics mean a clash against close rivals that aren’t rivals, depending on which side of the divide your loyalties lay, in Middlesborough could be instore for what is often deemed football’s richest game, the Championship play-off final. A ticket to the promise land.
If all goes well for both sides in the play-off semi-finals, against Luton and Coventry respectively, then they could join a fellow North-East team in Gateshead making the walk down Wembley Way. The Heed will face off against Halifax Town in the FA Trophy final after beating Barnet on penalties in a thrilling semi-final last month.
However, there is often a perception that Wembley is a cursed land for this region’s success there. So, we have taken a look at whether this sentiment is accurate or not with the latest North-East Wembley results, and whether their will be any Tyneside, Wearside or Teesside glory in the capital in 2023.
Newcastle United – Loss
Starting off with Wembley’s most recent North-East visitors. The Magpies were unable to end their 67 year wait for a domestic trophy, as they were beaten in this year’s Carabao Cup final by Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United, who subsequently ended a trophy draught of their own, albeit a one that was 61 years shorter.
Their latest Wembley appearance is seemingly going to be the only thing slight stain on what has been a magnificent season for Newcastle United. The toon are set for a season in Europe for the first time since the 2012/13 season where they competed in the Europa League but could go one further under Eddie Howe and qualify for the Champions League.
The sea of black and white flags that greeted the final whistle, however, showed the pride felt by the 32,761 travelling Newcastle United fans, despite what was ultimately a disappointing result.
Sunderland – Win
The Wearsiders are, of course, the most recent Wembley victors to come from our region. They will be looking to repeat last year’s play-off success where they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Wycombe Wanderers to end a prolonged four year stay in England’s third division.
Sunderland go into this years’ playoffs having the confidence of knowing they have won their last two visits to England’s marquee stadium, previously beating Tranmere Rovers to lift the much coveted Papa John’s Trophy back in 2021.
However, despite this recent upturn results in at Wembley, Sunderland will be battling history as their record of four wins and seven loses at the home of football does allow plenty of doubts to creep in if the black cats were to reach the Championship play-off final and try to secure back-to-back promotions.
Middlesborough – Lost
Like Sunderland, Middlesborough will be hoping to reach the Premier League for the first time since their relegation from the top-flight in 2017. Boro are going into the play-offs this time around hoping to rectify their last result at Wembley where Norwich defeated them by two goals in 2015.
The Teesiders reached the play-off final after beating Brentford over a two-legged semi-final but ultimately came up short under the arch in what was worth a potential £120 million to the victors at the time.
It’s fair to say that Boro have had their fair share of heartbreaks at Wembley, being winless in their five appearances at the stadium. Can they break the curse and make it sixth time lucky? Well they are certainly the bookies favourites to do just that and having the Sky Bet Championship Golden Boot winning amongst their midst, in Chuba Akpom with 28 goals, you can see why.
Gateshead – Lost
This month’s FA Trophy final against Halifax Town will be just the second time that the Heed will have played at Wembley. Let’s hope it’s second time lucky with their only previous appearance ending in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Cambridge United nearly a decade ago in the 2014 Conference Premier Play-Off Final.
Having overcome the disappointment of being a whisker away from the football league and the terror of almost ceasing to exist four years later, Mike Williamson’s team will be looking to take their phenomenal 2023 form with them to the capital.
After beating Barnet on penalties, in a thrilling semi-final, last month to vanquish their FA Trophy curse having lost their last two semi-finals Gateshead will now hope to overcome their previous Wembley misfortunes and claim some silverware at the end of what has been a stellar year for the Heed.
Hartlepool United – N/A
Unfortunately, the Monkey Hangers have never played at either the new or old incarnations of Wembley stadium. They were denied their Wembley trip when the 2021 National League play-off final against Torquay United was moved to Ashton Gate away from Wembley for the first time since 2011, where they secured promotion back to the football league. The status of which unfortunately only lasted a couple of seasons as Hartlepool’s relegation back to the National League was confirmed this season.
Defeat to Rotherham in the semi-finals of the Papa Johns’ Trophy, 5-4 on penalties, in 2022 was another cruelly close potential Wembley date for Hartlepool United.
Overall, then, Wembley has often been the place to break a few North-East hearts, but that walk down Wembley Way along with the colour, noise and vibrancy those from our region often take to the capital can’t but help fill the football fan with hope.
|Teams||Wins||Loses||Goals For||Goals Against|
|Newcastle United (Excluding, 1988: Football League Centenary Tournament)||5||9||12||21|