Sunderland fans in the Tavern loved manager Chris Coleman’s comments today when he claimed that playing Middlesbrough isn’t a derby game – only Newcastle is. Coleman’s rock-bottom Sunderland are hosting a Middlesbrough side that sit 8th in the Championship.
The defiant words from Coleman come in spite of the fact that his side are sitting three points from safety in England’s second tier and have failed to win their last five games in the league. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough, under Tony Pulis, are looking to occupy a playoff place come the end of the season, they’re currently 8th and three points off of 6th placed Bristol City.
Chris Coleman: “I don’t think this is a derby match – Middlesbrough are a club down the road. Newcastle are our derby.” #SAFC
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) February 22, 2018
Coleman’s words are sure to infuriate Middlesbrough fans although most Sunderland fans enjoyed – and agreed – with the sentiment that only Newcastle matters as far as football in the Northeast is concerned. Fans of the Black Cats will be hoping that Coleman can infuriate ‘Boro further and inflict defeat on their neighbours for the first time in over five years.
Sunderland are looking increasingly likely to playing alongside Doncaster, Gillingham and Portsmouth next season however as Coleman has been unable to lift his side out of the bottom three since being appointed in November after a very successful spell with Wales in which he took them to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
About time someone said it
— Connor Swainston (@swainyFTM) February 22, 2018
Small team in yorkshire
— Macca (@sunderlandafc11) February 22, 2018
Best way to look at it at the moment because let’s be perfectly honest. Sunderland have no fight for a derby game
— Rory Bull (@RoryPBull) February 22, 2018
— Guy Incognito (@_GuyIncognito__) February 22, 2018
He's spot on. Boro are a irrelevance. Even to their own fans. They prefer bingo and smoking tabs.
— hefty em (@hefty_em) February 22, 2018
— Lee Percival (@Percival21Lee) February 22, 2018
Finally a manager who understands!!
— Eddy Gray (@EGR4Y) February 22, 2018