Moncur: There is more animosity than my day
Having had the privilege of captaining both Sunderland and Newcastle during his career, Bob Moncur knows better than anyone what derby day means on both sides of the Wear-Tyne divide.
Moncur is in an exclusive club of players to captain both sides alongside the likes of Stan Anderson and Paul Bracewell, who also skippered both clubs during their playing careers. Moncur spent 12 years on Tyneside, racking up almost 300 appearances, but after captaining Joe Harvey's side to an FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool, the defender crossed the divide and signed for Sunderland in 1974. Moncur recalls the first time he arrived at Sunderland after signing from Newcastle and an innocent mistake that got him off on the wrong foot with his new fans.
"After Newcastle won our FA Cup semi-final in '74 (against Burnley) I got a sponsored car. There weren't too many players that had them back then. It was a Geordieland special, all black and white stripes with Bob Moncur, captain, Newcastle United emblazoned on it" explained Moncur, who was speaking at an NUFC community question and answer session with children at St James' Park on Tuesday.
"My last-ever game for Newcastle was actually the final and then I was away with ITV on their World Cup panel and actually signed for Sunderland live on TV. When I got back home I tended to forget it was all dolled up black and white. For my first pre-season game with Sunderland, Bob Stokoe had already given me the captaincy.
"I drove up to Roker Park and as I was coming in I was looking at all these hostile faces, thinking ?I know I've come from Newcastle but give me a break!' They were all gesturing at me. It wasn't until I got out that I realised I was driving my black and white car! So on the Monday I went to a garage in Consett and told them you better paint it red and white.
"Instead, they gave me a brand new one and it was red!"
Now, it is rare for players to move between rival clubs and Moncur admits that may be down to the fact there is more animosity between rival fans these days. He said:
"It was not quite so bad in those days. There was some animosity back then but nothing like now. A lot of people would go to both clubs because they loved the game.
"Very few do that now. the game has changed. They are more aggressive to each other now, which is a shame. It was nowhere near as bad in my day."
Martin O'Neill and Alan Pardew will be putting the final touches to their preparations for Sunday's Wear-Tyne derby over the next 48 hours, while rival fans are counting down the hours until Sunday's kick-off. Moncur insists the players must focus on enjoying the game and doing their jobs rather than fearing the occasion. He said:
"I did not play that many derbies because we were in different divisions, but in my early days I played against Jim Baxter. I got the job of marking him, suffice to say we got beat 3-0! I did not enjoy that, although I was young enough not to experience any fear and I got over it. I was young, trying to make the grade so I did not have real fear.
"As a player, your job is easy. Yes, there is a bit more edge to the game but you just go out to try to get a result. I never feared them, I quite enjoyed it."
Moncur was also present at St James' Park yesterday alongside Peter Beardsley and Alan Pardew for the official re-naming of the stadium. The ceremony came after digital finance company Wonga announced last week they will sponsor the club for the next four years, a move in which they chose to reinstate the St James' Park name.
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