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Features

Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 1: Ten years on

Written by Luke Vinton

It was called the Demolition Derby. Halloween 2010. The day Newcastle United achieved their biggest Tyne-Wear derby victory for over half a century. We spoke to Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi, Andy Carroll and Tim Krul to reflect on that thrilling win a decade on.

"It was a case of ‘We are Newcastle and we don’t like Sunderland'," says Nolan. "You could tell that and sense that so to absolutely demolish them on that day was an unbelievable feeling."

The clocks may have gone back an hour but the United supporters leaving St. James' Park that afternoon were wishing for a case of Groundhog Day after witnessing Nolan etch his name in black and white history with a ruthless hat-trick while Shola Ameobi added a clinical brace for his boyhood club.

“As a young boy growing up a stone’s throw away from the stadium, it was the game that every Newcastle United supporter looked forward to, certainly at home with the atmosphere," Ameobi says.

The derby was back. The Geordies and the Mackems. Tyneside versus Wearside. Black and white against red and white.

“You had fans telling you all about what they want you to do four or five weeks before it and the anticipation slowly builds," adds the former striker, who scored 79 goals during a 14-year spell with the Magpies.

"It was a very different feeling and build-up towards the Tyne-Wear derbies and it was always exciting for me to see the difference that people in the city had going into those games. It really whetted the appetite for us as players."

The Magpies, managed by Chris Hughton at the time, had secured promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt after lifting the 2009/10 Coca-Cola Championship title the previous term but were in search of a much-needed treat on Halloween after going three successive home games without a victory.

“The whole week surrounding it was great," adds Nolan, who was named captain for the 2010/11 campaign. "I remember going into a post office and there was a little old lady in the back who told me ‘I hope you’re ready for the weekend!'

"That just summed up Newcastle and the fans' love for the club which was fantastic. I said to her ‘Don’t worry, I am!’ and the next time I saw her, she gave me a big hug!"

The starting eleven that day. 

In goal... number 26! Tim Krul!

"It was a perfect derby day," recalls the Dutch shot-stopper, now plying his trade at Championship outfit Norwich City. "I've still got a DVD of the game at home which I came across while I was in the attic. 

"There were 50,000 Geordies hyped up for this game and I don't think many players actually get to feel that before they play one of those games."

The back-four consisted of Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and José Enrique. The tough-tackling pair of Cheick Tioté and captain Nolan sat in the middle of the park, with Joey Barton and Jonás Gutiérrez occupying the flanks.

Andy Carroll, 21 years old at the time, led the line alongside Ameobi who had netted four goals in his last three Tyne-Wear derby encounters.

“I thought it was brilliant playing against Sunderland," Carroll said. "The fans were always up for it - my family were up for it. 

"My mam’s side is all Sunderland and my dad's is Newcastle so, growing up, I knew how it was and the importance of it. Being a Newcastle fan and to then play in those games made it even better."

Both sides stood eagerly in the tunnel ready to descend onto the hallowed Tyneside turf and head into battle. The excitement and tension was heavily building, with vehement cries of “Toon Toon! Black and white army!" increasing in volume as kick-off approached. 

"I get shivers thinking about it now," Krul says. "That's what you do it for as a young lad. You dream about playing in the biggest games you can. You don't get much better than a fixture of that kind at St. James' Park."

Nolan, who made a total of 41 top-flight appearances for the Magpies, led out the team. “The Geordie fans were absolutely amazing to play for and they were always up for it when big clubs would come up but there was always that little edge when Sunderland came up," the captain said.

"You could tell there was a rivalry and a lot more hatred compared to when we would play a normal Premier League team."

As both teams entered the field, a mosaic of black and white filtered around the stadium, accompanied by the iconic Blaydon Races anthem over the tannoy as the 131st league meeting between the Magpies and the Black Cats was about to begin.

Krul stretched his neck from left to right before following Nolan onto the pitch. "When we walked out of the tunnel, you saw all the fans holding up the black and white cards which was a great feeling," he said.

"You then hear that huge roar, which you don't get in any other games, as you walked out to play your fiercest rivals."

Ameobi is the seventh player in the United line. “It is interesting because when you are warming up, you see none of that as the cards are still on the seats," he explains. "There isn't any expectation of it so when I walked down the stairs of the tunnel and saw that I thought ‘Gosh, it cannot get any better than this’.

“I’m playing for my hometown club, supported by not just the people in the stadium but across the whole city. I really wanted to put my best foot forward on that occasion."

As referee Phil Dowd blew his whistle for kick-off, the noise was deafening as Nolan rolled the ball to Ameobi from the centre circle.

"There were healthy nerves from myself at the start of the game," Krul says. "I had even went to a derby at Sunderland and to see that rivalry and the anger, you feel that on the pitch.

"Obviously, you try to be as relaxed as you can but it certainly adds to the importance of the game." 

The Magpies advanced forward as Carroll picked up the ball on the left wing before winning a throw-in by the corner of a lively Gallowgate End after the opening 60 seconds. A huge eruption of cheers occurred.

Barely a minute had elapsed before Tioté beat Steed Malbranque to the ball, sending the Frenchman to the floor before the Ivorian was brought down by pantomime villain Lee Cattermole. More shouts and hand gestures from the crowd follow. The derby was well and truly under way.

“St. James’ Park has always had that kind of atmosphere and then it’s even better when we played Sunderland," says Carroll.

Krul adds: "In football, you don't have much time to stand still but when I watched that DVD the other day, I showed my daughter who is now seven and wasn't even born then.

"It was amazing to look back on the game with her and all she kept saying was 'Wow, the noise of the crowd!'"

After a series of passionate chants and continuous hand gestures from both sets of supporters in the opening 26 minutes, an inviting corner from Barton is sent into the penalty area.

“I think a lot of people know me for being around the goal," Nolan says. "I worked a lot on how to upset goalkeepers but always be in the right places. 

Meanwhile, Ameobi, Carroll and Williamson are all awaiting an inch-perfect delivery. “I remember saying to Joey ‘Just ping it in!’ and I knew Andy loved that delivery as well," says Ameobi. "Between me, Andy and Willo, one of us would get our head on the ball."

An attentive crowd moves off the edge of their seats as the ball is nodded into Nolan's path. It is hooked into the roof of Simon Mignolet's goal. Cue pandemonium.

Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 0

“When I look back at it, it’s a great finish," Nolan recalls. "I thought ‘Did I do it?’ but I’m glad I did and then I just remember getting jumped on by Andy and the rest of the lads."

Before Nolan can even lift himself from the floor, the goalscorer is immediately wrestled down to the ground by a delighted Carroll. Coloccini quickly joins in. Williamson and Ameobi jump on. Gutiérrez, Tioté, Barton and Simpson dive wildly onto the top of the pack. A pile of Geordie joy.

“I kind of rugby tackled him and there’s a great image of all of us lying on top of each other," Carroll says. "I think Joey’s on top and then everyone has come on and started slapping Kev a bit!"

Ameobi adds: “I’ve experienced a lot of goals being scored in front of the Gallowgate End but when that goal went in, wow, the noise was just incredible!"

"I loved the celebration how everyone literally piled on top of each other. I was thinking there’s a lot of weight on me here! That could have done some serious damage but it was an insight of just how close we were as a group."

Krul is watching the joyous scenes unfold in front of him. "I was a bit jealous seeing the lads piling up on each other!" he said. "As a goalkeeper, you haven't really got many opportunities to join in but it didn't make the feeling bittersweet as I had 10,000 people behind my goal to celebrate with!"

Apart from the Magpies' summer acquisition of Tioté, the core of the battling Championship-winning side remained. 

“We had a good team spirit and all the lads were in it together," Carroll said. "Going into the big games, like the derbies, we were always confident with the players we had on the pitch and those on the sidelines. 

"There were real friendships in that team," Krul says. "It was amazing to achieve something with a team you've fought with so long and hard in the Championship to then fire ourselves back to where the club belongs.

"Winning the Championship built momentum and that togetherness. We were able to back that up in the Prem and we just went from strength to strength."

"We’d all go out together," adds Nolan. "Even the Spanish speaking lads such as Coloccini, Gutiérrez and José Enrique and, looking back, it was such a fantastic dressing room to be a part of."

A squished Nolan eventually rises from the floor, producing an iconic chicken dance before punching the air with pure delight. 

“The celebration became famous because of the hat-trick," he says. "All the Newcastle fans did it but that’s really how my mate dances when we’re on a night out!

"He literally does dance like that. When we would go out and he starts dancing, people think that he’s taking the Michael out of me but nobody realises that’s just how he dances."

United are ahead. "Who are ya! Who are ya!" and "Shall we sing a song for you!" are aimed at the travelling away supporters by the ecstatic home fans.

Any signs of nerves had evaporated and, eight minutes later, the Magpies doubled their lead as Nolan netted the club's 900th Premier League goal.

After a neat one-two consisting of himself and Gutiérrez, the latter's strike at goal is blocked into Carroll's path. An audacious bicycle kick from the Gateshead-born striker bounces kindly into Nolan's path.

“Andy’s going to say it was definitely an assist!", Nolan said. "No way! All he’ll say is that I never used to assist him - I can read him like a book!

"What I will say, though, is that I loved playing with Andy Carroll. Our figures showed that we were a very good attacking duo and hurt a lot of defences. Especially on that day, with Shola too, we dominated their backline."

Carroll jokingly responds. “I've created enough goals for Kev throughout his career," he said. "I'm taking that as an assist and I meant it! He's not getting away with that one. I always used to set him up and he never used to assist me!" 

Had the skipper strayed offside? No. Could he finish? Of course! 

Newcastle United 2 Sunderland 0

"It was a nice bit of movement between a few of us," the Merseysider said. "As it's come across, Andy's tried that ridiculous overhead kick, if you like, and I've managed to chest it and play it into the far corner."

Another goal. Another showcase celebration.

“I remember running off doing my dance again and then Joey hitting me like a ton of bricks. I’ve went over again but it was fantastic!"

Carroll and Ameobi continued to dominate in the air, winning header after header as Sunderland's defence, including former Newcastle centre-back Titus Bramble, were unable to cope with the pair's towering presence.

“I think when you’ve got two strikers over six foot in Andy and myself, we thought that we could really dominate physically," Ameobi said. "I know Titus was a big boy but we felt we had the edge over their defence so that was definitely part of the game plan going into it.

As the half-time whistle beckoned, Jonás picked up Ameobi's pass before surging into the box. The Argentinian advanced beyond right-back Nedum Onouha before being bundled over. Penalty to Newcastle!

Who would take the spot-kick, though? Would Nolan be handed a rare opportunity in grabbing a first-half hat-trick? Not on this occasion.

“People have asked me this and said ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ and I would never do that," says the professional skipper.

"I think if it was something like the 90th minute, I might’ve asked Shola if I could have had it, knowing you have that opportunity to score a hat-trick and there’s no real repercussions. I just wanted the job done.

“We were playing so well and I wanted to go in three up knowing we wanted to hurt our arch rivals, if you like, our enemies. The ones across the border who we don’t want to talk about.

Sunderland's seven-game unbeaten league run was heading to an abrupt end.

“We wanted to make sure we made a statement because there was a lot of talk about them being this and that, how good they were and how they had all these good players," Nolan adds.

"There was no better man for the penalty than Shola. He was the iceman when it came down to things like that. We also wanted to hear the fans singing the ‘Ameobi’ song so we had to get him in on the act!"

The responsibility would lie with Ameobi, who had netted a penalty in the previous Tyne-Wear derby - a 1-1 draw at St. James' Park.

"When you’re two-nil up and have a penalty, it’s easy to go ‘you just take it’," says the striker, who had already netted four times against the Black Cats. "At the end of the day, anything can happen in football and you want to do the right things at the right time.

"It wasn’t just about getting personal plaudits. Kevin had taken penalties before but I think there was a real respect between me and him. Luckily, it didn't matter in the end."

Raised in Newcastle, Ameobi raised the roof after emphatically converting his 12-yard attempt into the bottom left-hand corner. 

Newcastle United 3 Sunderland 0

“When you’re a kid, you always think about putting yourself on the line right at the end of games," says Ameobi. "In this instance, at the end of the half in front of the Gallowgate End with all the pressure on you.

"Even though we were winning, you want to make sure you stick the ball in the back of the net but it’s something I really relished."

The black and white scarves were hoisted wildly in the air, swinging round and round whilst Ameobi wheeled away to celebrate, beating his right arm onto his chest as St. James' Park erupted around him.

“As a fan, it’s what dreams are made of," he added. "It meant so much and I never took it for granted the fact that I was in this position and being able to play for Newcastle.

“A lot of people have the passion to do what we do and I made sure to celebrate that penalty in a way that made people realise how much it meant to me."

Half-time arrived. Delight for the Toon Army. A nightmare for the visitors.

"It was a sucker punch to them and you could see that as well," says Krul. "Walking into the tunnel knowing you're three-nil up, there's no better feeling looking at your competitors, especially your rivals, knowing you're not going to get anything here.

“You just need to stay on top and you get the win," Carroll added. "If we were two-nil up and they nicked a goal straight after the break, there could have been a bit of pressure so going three up was helpful and a much better feeling." 

The high-flying Magpies headed back out for the final 45 minutes, thirsty for more goals.

“We did not want to let the lead slip and let them back into the game," Nolan recalls. "We had to go out, starting where we left off, and that’s certainly what we did.

“It was a case of let's go and do this again and everything went our way in that second half," Ameobi added. "We were all on the same page in terms of how we played, with our intensity and also the enjoyment.

“We didn’t want to take our foot of the gas and there was a real ambition in the dressing room."

The game had barely restarted before signs of resurrection from the visitors were vanquished when Carroll advanced towards the penalty area, with the forward bearing down on goal before being swiped down by the sliding Bramble.

“He’d caught me with a good ‘un," Carroll said. "Thinking about it, I can’t believe I’ve actually went for it because these days I can’t run that fast and I can’t believe when I could run that fast, it was Titus who caught up with me!"

"Off, off off!" yelled the home supporters before their wish was granted as Dowd brandished a red card towards Bramble.

“I’ve spoken to Titus a couple of times after that," Carroll added. "I've wound him up saying I was too fast for him but for them to go down to ten men was another bonus for us."

As Bramble trudged off the pitch, receiving the sarcastic goodbye waves from his former supporters, Newcastle were now in a dream scenario with a three-goal advantage and a man up. 

"Let's all laugh at Sunderland, let's all laugh at Sunderland!" was sung towards the hour mark as the Newcastle fans were beginning to realise, if they hadn't already, that today was going to be their day.

Newcastle carved their neighbours further apart as the fourth goal would shortly arrive, proving arguably the pick of the bunch.

"That's the moment I remember the most from the game," Carroll recalls. "The cross has come in from the right hand side by Danny and I've connected with it well but it's come off the crossbar." 

Despite Carroll's misfortune, the loose ball bounced into Ameobi's path who, without hesitation, directed a thunderous volley towards goal. 

Newcastle United 4 Sunderland 0

"It's definitely one of my favourite goals for Newcastle at St. James' Park because of the technique and the occasion," Ameobi recalls with glee.

"I didn't realise how high the ball actually was when I've hit it and, to this day, I can't believe I managed to get my hip that high! We were running on adrenaline and it was a magnificent moment for me personally and for the club."

The striker's right arm is beating his chest once again as he runs away to celebrate his second goal, this time in front of a jubilant Leazes End.

With 20 minutes left on the lock, the Geordies continued to sing as many of the Sunderland fans had observed enough, ejecting their seats and beginning the short journey back to Wearside.

The Magpies, meanwhile, were relishing the occasion and with both Nolan and Ameobi in pursuit of a hat-trick, a fifth goal was firmly in sight. 

Controlling the majority of possession, Newcastle were met with consistent cheers after each pass as the demolition job was in full swing.

The drama continued to unfold as Barton, a workforce all afternoon, prepared to take another corner from the right flank. Carroll, Ameobi and Coloccini huddled together at the penalty spot before orchestrating a training ground routine.

Before the ball entered the crowded box, Coloccini moved towards the front post before quickly reversing. Ameobi, marked by Onouha, then came in behind and after the Argentine cleverly blocked the rushing defender, the ball was met by the head of a "frustrated" Ameobi.

“I should have buried it!", he affirmed. "It was a corner that we had worked on as well. This time, Joey bent the ball in and it was a beautiful corner!

"I was thinking this has got my forehead written all over it but I think there was a Sunderland defender who jumped just before I headed the ball, which made me lose sight of it for a split second.

“Obviously, Nobby being the poacher that he is, it went straight to him so I’ll take the assist!"

The header would be directed towards an alert Nolan who, once again, peeled away from Phil Bardsley and Mignolet on the goal line before nodding home.

Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 0

“Once Shola had got past his man I knew even if it was going on target or not, I would’ve been there to put it in!", the hat-trick hero said.

“I then went off again to do my chicken dance and gave the camera a quick kiss!

“It was a special day and it was great to share that day with such special players, our mates, and people who I still talk to today."

Along with scoring the first Premier League hat-trick of his career, Nolan also placed his name in United's history books after becoming the first player to score a Tyne-Wear derby hat-trick since Peter Beardsley's treble in 1985.

“You don’t realise the enormity of it until you come off the pitch," the ex-midfielder continued. "Peter was actually in the stand watching the game which was a fantastic moment for me as well.

"I loved playing in the derbies. I made my debut for Newcastle playing against Sunderland and it was such special times."

The scarves were aloft in the air once more while some supporters had their black and white shirts flying above their heads in the frosty October air. It was a scoreline even the most loyal United fan could have hardly expected. 

In the closing stages of the game, Ameobi would receive a rapturous round of applause as one of their own was substituted in a moment he forever cherishes. 

“I didn’t get emotional many times during a game but that’s a moment in my career that I’ll never forget," he said. "It was definitely a sense of appreciation of what we had done but personally as well.

"As we all know, you have ups and downs in this game but to get that reception in that moment meant the world to me. To bring our best game against our rivals, you couldn’t ask for much more!"

Sunderland would eventually get themselves on the scoresheet in the final minutes of the contest as Darren Bent netted a late consolation to dash Tim Krul's hopes of a clean sheet.

"I suppose we had to give the Mackems something as we didn't want them to be punished too hard!" joked the goalkeeper.

There would be little signs of celebration from the Black Cats, with sarcastic cheers from the Gallowgate End as the majority of Sunderland supporters had departed the city, let alone the stadium.

The full-time whistle brought an end to an unforgettable 90 minutes for the Magpies as Tyneside witnessed one of the most spectacular Newcastle victories in 112 years of league football between the two rivals.

"I remember getting the match ball off the referee and giving it a kiss," Nolan recalls. "As I was walking off, I was clapping the fans around the ground and you could see everyone was elated.

"I must admit, the derbies were one of my favourite times and the good thing about it was that I never lost one so that was always nice."

For many, it is classed as one of Newcastle United's greatest wins of the 21st century but where does it rank amongst the careers of whose who take part in it?

"I don't think there has been a better atmosphere since," Krul says. "Obviously, we beat Man United 3-0 at home, which was a big night as well.

"Getting that massive roar from the Gallowgate End never got tiring even more so in the time we're living in now, with no fans, and you probably take it for granted.

"For my first derby day, to get a 5-1 win was incredible. You now see the 5under1and hashtags and the whole thing was great to be a part of. I have nothing but fond memories of that day."

"I always look at it from a team perspective and we were all fighting for each other that day," Ameobi said. "There was a real ease and flow to that game which you might only experience once or twice in your career where everything just clicked.

“With that being at home in front of our fans and with the excitement in the stadium of what was on the line, that is certainly at the top for me."

Ameobi's prolific goalscoring form against the Black Cats over the years also led to a renowned nickname for the former forward - The Mackem Slayer.

"There's a lot of affection from Newcastle fans," says Ameobi. "When I first heard it, I thought 'What's all this about?' but it is still going today and that certainly brings a smile to my face.

"It's something that is endearing myself to fans and the people growing up in the area.I was very blessed to be a part of that team at the time and part of an era where we played many games against Sunderland."  

Nolan, who made over 400 Premier League appearances as a player, added: “It certainly ranks up there with one of the top games of my career. I think it was the performance of how we went about it and being a part of a derby where we were so, so strong and dominant.

"It was such a pleasure to be a part of and the fact they’ll talk about it for years and years and more years.

“It was such a great squad because you had so many players that the fans could engage with and we were. We all had each other’s backs and I think that game summed it up perfectly.

“The fans still love it and, even now, they still talk about it. It was a big result and I think the team we had then made it even better. The bond we had as a squad made it such a special time."

On November 2nd, Krul celebrates 14 years since making his professional debut with the Magpies, keeping an impressive clean sheet during a 1-0 UEFA Cup win at Palermo.

The 32-year-old may now have left United, departing in 2017, but his affection for the club he served for 12 years heavily remains. 

"Newcastle shaped me into the person I am," the Hague-born ace revealed. "To move to a different country when you're 17 was a massive step but it is home. 

"Holland will be always your first home, of course, but to be welcomed like I was by the Geordies was amazing. It's a journey I wouldn't have wanted to go any other way from a 17-year-old boy. 

"Even coming back to St. James' Park last season (with Norwich in February), and to see the respect from both sides was perfect for me personally. There is a true connection with these supporters and that will never go."  

Nolan is now an assistant coach at West Ham United following his retirement in 2018 and, even a decade on, is kindly reminded of his heroics against the Black Cats.

"I’ve been up to Newcastle a couple of times working with West Ham or doing a few bits up there," he said. "I went into the one of the bars before meeting one of my friends and I saw these people looking at me.

"I thought ‘What’s going on?’ but you forget. They then came up to me and said ‘Oh my god, it’s you’ and they're then bringing their wives over saying ‘This is Kevin Nolan who scored the hat-trick!'

"You don’t realise how much it means to people and it’s such an honour to be part of those good times."

Ten years on and the two sides are now separated by two divisions, with the last competitive meeting taking place in March 2016.

During that period, Carroll rejoined his boyhood club and, when asked if he'd relish another Tyne-Wear derby, he replied: “One hundred per cent. I would like to see them back in the Premier League, playing against us.

"It would be nice to have all of the North East teams in the Premier League and Newcastle versus Sunderland would be brilliant.

“When I was at West Ham and Liverpool, I would play against Tottenham or Everton but being from Newcastle, I know exactly what it’s like growing up here and how the fans were, going to the game, and thinking or talking about it for a week.

“Although most of the fans like to see Sunderland struggling, I think they would also like to play each other in the Prem and experience the build-up to the games. It is a special fixture." 

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Highlights

Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 1

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