Newcastle United play Sunderland this afternoon in what is being billed by both sides as their biggest game of the season. The North East teams are currently struggling to avoid relegation into the Sky Bet Championship (Newcastle having previously being relegated in the 2008/2009 season).
Rafa Benitez took over from Steve McClaren at the helm of of the Toon after a week of uncertainty and the Spaniard’s first home game is against local rivals Sunderland. Sunderland have previously had success swapping out managers just before derby matches with Paulo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat, and Sam Allardyce all losing their first game in charge before winning their second.
How well do you know your Tyne-Wear derby? Here are five more derby day facts for both fans.
1. How often have either team won both home and away fixtures in the same season?
Newcastle have won 9 ‘doubles’ (most recently in the 2005/2006 season) and Sunderland have won 7 ‘doubles’ (most recently last season).
2. Who has had the ‘biggest’ win?
In 1920 and again in 1955, Newcastle beat Sunderland 6-1 but in 1908 Sunderland scored an impressive nine goals beating their rivals 9-1 away from home.
3. What is the head-to-head record?
Before today’s kick-off, Newcastle and Sunderland have both won 53 games a piece and have drawed 49 times meaning today’s game has even bigger bragging rights than normal attached to it!
4. Who has scored the most goals in the Tyne-Wear derby?
Newcastle fans might be thinking of ‘Mackem Slayer’ Shola Ameobi and Sunderland supporters might have Quinn or Phillips in mind, but you’ve got to go way back in time for this fixture’s leading scorers.
Sunderland’s George Holley scored a remarkable 15 goals against the Magpies while Newcastle’s Jackie Milburn scored 11 goals against the Black Cats.
5. Players who have played for both sides?
As well as Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce returning to face the side he managed between 2007-2008, today’s lineup reveals that former Newcastle loanee Patrick Van Aanholt is lining up against his former side with Jack Colback returning to face the team he played for between 2008-2014. In total 62 players have crossed the divide and played for both North East teams.