10th of August 2001 - 11th of August 2001
NAC Breda - Sunderland
score: 4-0 (5' min Stewart 1-0, 18' min Salmon 2-0, 60' min Simons 3-0, 89' min Christiano 4-0)
note: 61' min Emerson Thome sent off
This is a trip from a while ago and there's no photos of this trip, so I have to ask my memory for all the details. If there's anything I've forgotten please feel free to add this or inform me so I can update the details.
This was the second year in a row that Sunderland was in the Netherlands for a pre-season tour. We really enjoyed this of course. And just like Heerenveen from the previous year, some of the ladies wanted to get involved for a night out in Breda. The party that was spread over the two cars were: Pep, San, Guppio, Peur, Jaime, Drew and Nick. The group would be completed by Paddy and Mary who would join us in Breda, because they could stay at Paddy's parents. We stayed in a Formula 2 hotel, just outside the city centre. We just managed to get our rooms, because there was an Antillian Carnaval in Rotterdam and a lot of those people stayed for the night in Breda. But just a bed was fine for us.
We arrived in the afternoon and decided to get into the city centre. There was an Irish pub in the city centre where most of the Sunderland supporters were as well. We also were surprised to meet Mark and Sam again. After a couple of pints we decided to move ourselves towards the stadium. There was some entertainment at the ground and we still didn't have our tickets. When we arrived it was already pretty crowded. And everone looked a bit nervous. That many away supporters for an friendly, that was something that Breda never had experienced before. And they all were without a ticket! There was no plan, so there was no away area. It all looked very chaotic. We decided (well, Paddy told us this was the best option and he is a NAC Breda season ticket holder) to get tickets for the main stand. After we got the tickets it was time for a burger and in we went.
Inside you could see there was Sunderland supporters everywhere. This was not good for the atmosphere. It ended up in a summernight kick-about and the Sunderland players looked tired and not that interested. Two days ago they showed some good football vs. Vitesse Arnhem, but now they didn't show up. And NAC Breda did the opposite. Before you could blink your eye the score was 2-0. There were a lot of subs and in the second half a complete new team showed up. After fifteen minutes in the second half, a nasty tackle from Emerson Thome and he was shown a direct red card. Later on we knew this had some extra damage, because Emerson Thome was suspended by the FA for the fist game of the season because of this red card. Ridiculous descision ofcourse. NAC scored two more goals and Sunderland went off with the tail between their legs. To be fair, new arrivals Laslandes and Haas didn't play yet, but this was not a good test.
The supporters didn't care, they didn't want to spoil their night out. So back to the city centre. But this was a long walk, so we got into every pub we got past during this walk and in the end we arrived at the Irish pub again. There was a lot of singing involved and closing time came too soon. The kickoff was at 8 PM, so we didn't feel like we've had enough. Paddy and Mary invited us to a nightclub: the Graanbeurs (Wheatsheaf). But we couldn't get in with our football tops on. So we walked away, turned our tops inside out and even changed into someone elses clothes (Pep was wearing a top of Jaime) and we tried again. This time we were allowed, but this wasn't our cup of tea. So we decided to get upstairs where the food was served and after some food we went back to the hotel.
The next morning we jumped not in the same shape as the day before in the cars and after a refreshing stop at a petrol station we arrived early afternoon back in Hillegom again. Another Sunderland pre-season tour had ended. Again some ups and downs, but as a Sunderland supporter you have to get used to that.
(written by Nick)