As a Sunderland season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light since the 2013/14 season I’ve seen some great games throughout the years, I’ve narrowed the best games I’ve seen to the top five.

5) Manchester City 3-1 Sunderland, Capital One Cup final, 2nd March 2014: This was my first trip to Wembley and just for the moment Borini scored to give us the lead it gets into the top 5. The place was absolutely bouncing, partly as nobody could quite believe what was happening as it had been such an awful season so far, and although we may have lost in the end that moment will live long in my memory as one of the best games of my life.

Sunderland’s Fabio Borini shoots to score his team’s opening goal

4) Sunderland 1-0 Newcastle, 5th April 2015: One of 6 in a row games, this game was special to me thanks to the goal and the aftermath to it, it was by far the best goal Jermain Defoe ever scored for Sunderland and you could see in the celebration how much it meant to him. But the goal came just before half-time and during the interval you would think we had just won the league, the stadium was shaking and you could hardly hear yourself think the atmosphere was that good.

Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe (left) and Sebastian Larsson celebrate at the final whistle after the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

3) Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City, 1st January 2012: This would have likely been higher up the list had the majority of the game not been dreadful but the time and context of the goal caused this game to be one of my favourites. Manchester City were neck and neck with Manchester United going for their first Premier League title and Sunderland were in the process of turning their season around under Martin O’Neill.

Nobody expected Sunderland to win this game, and nobody and I mean nobody expected Ji-Dong Won to score, so when it was 0-0 in added time and Ji had just rounded the keeper with four seconds left, I think just about everyone in the stadium had to pinch themselves, I didn’t have a season ticket at the time so was just sitting in a random seat which happened to be close to the corner Ji celebrated at and I think I nearly went over the chair in front when the goal went in.

Sunderland’s Ji Dong-Wong celebrates their victory over Wigan during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW stadium, Wigan.

2) Sunderland 3-0 Everton, 11th May 2016: The game that kept us up under Big Sam thanks to two goals from Lamine Kone and a Patrick Van Aanholt strike, this will go down as one of my favourites as we comfortably won and it was the last time I saw my favourite Sunderland team with players like Wahbi Khazri, Younes Kaboul, Yann M’vila and Lamine Kone all playing some of the best football of their career, as well as one of my favourite’s Yann M’Vila.

This game too just had a party atmosphere from the second the first goal went in and the dance from Big Sam at the end and the fact that we’d just sent Newcastle down topped it off. Little did we know it would be the last time we saw many of these players.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce celebrates after the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

1) Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea, 7th May 2016: This was the game which effectively kept us up in the 2015-16 season under Sam Allardyce however it could have been very different had Newcastle beaten Aston Villa, who had already been relegated, and we’d lost. This looked a likely scenario when Chelsea went 1-0 up but, then a Wahbi Khazri moment of magic gave us hope just before half-time with one of the best goals I’ve ever seen. But then Sunderland did a Sunderland and conceded with seconds to go until half-time.

But Sunderland came out of the blocks flying but just couldn’t get the equaliser until two identical goals from Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe from DeAndre Yedlin crosses, put us 3-2 up and it was the loudest anyone had heard the Stadium of Light in a long time. Then John Terry getting sent off in the 95th minute just made it that bit sweeter, and then when the scores came up at full-time and Aston Villa had held Newcastle to a 0-0 draw the crowd went mad, we couldn’t believe Newcastle hadn’t won as Aston Villa had been shocking that season.

Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri scores his side’s first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

 

Words by Charlie Hodgson