It is one of the fiercest of local derbies in football and its outcome affects fans for days, even seasons, to come, throughout the north-east of England.
If Sunderland's game at Newcastle United on Sunday is won by either side, the result will bring exhilaration to one set of fans, deep gloom to the other.
Forget any assumption that with so much more in common than to divide them, the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland should really take football rivalries less seriously.
Gone, long ago...
Two minutes before Sunderland's kickoff Saturday against West Ham, a post appeared on the A Love Supreme message board with the topic, "Today is Jozy Altidore's day," followed by the text, "He will win this for us today. His time has come. Haway Jozy."
Just over 50 minutes later, after Altidore had tied his feet in a knot when presented with a tap-in from three yards out, someone else posted on the same thread:
"Love him, but let's face facts: He's rotten at football."
Moments later, on another...