What Happens After the North East Derby

So we beat the Mags and it was incredible. Now this should kick start our season and help catapult us up the table – right? Well, let’s have a quick look at what history tells us…

by Jonny2608 Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:28 PM Comments

So we beat the Mags and it was incredible. Now this should kick start our season and help catapult us up the table – right? Well, let’s have a quick look at what history tells us…

Sunderland's unexpected derby win on Sunday (27th Oct) was the first time they have recorded back-to-back wins against Newcastle since the two 3-0 wins of the 1966/67 season. We finished that season in 17th place and most fans (me included!) would probably take that now and the Premier League survival that would come with it. The interactive graphic shown here compares league position after a derby game with the final league position.

As the graphic above shows, an early season derby win for Sunderland does not necessarily spur the team on to a good season. We have registered an early season (within the first third of league games) derby win on 7 occasions since the war but only 2 of those wins resulted in them finishing in a higher league position than before the derby game; the two famous 2-1 wins at St James's Park in the seasons where we finished 7th.

Interestingly, a Newcastle derby win mid or late-season does not have a negative impact on Sunderland's final league position, suggesting there is no derby hangover when we lose a derby mid or late season. Of the 11 mid-season derby wins for Newcastle, Sunderland went on to finish in a higher league position than they were in after that derby loss. Similarly, in 5 of the 6 late-season derby wins for Newcastle, Sunderland stayed in exactly the same position as they were in immediately after the derby loss. [For further details, using the graphic here, select a Newcastle win from the 'Result' drop-down menu and select mid or late for the 'Timing in the season'.] 

What does it mean? Well, based on historical data, an early season derby win for Sunderland doesn't necessarily set them up for a good season. In what has been a pretty terrible year for fans, the euphoria of the derby victory has been a rare crumb of comfort. The extent to which it might mean we can turn the season around and beat the drop is debatable. Collecting points from games like Hull City away will be just as important. 

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