That was a really intense game because the rivalry between those two sides is fierce! When I first joined I didn’t think it would be worse than the Liverpool and Everton derby, but it really was.
People up here are really passionate about their football and I enjoyed my time playing for Newcastle. The city is amazing and I met my missus here so I have very fond memories of the place.
I also met a lot of good people outside of football, which was a really positive thing for me. I probably didn’t appreciate it when I was up here, but the city has everything. And although I always felt like I was a long way from home, it was only ever an hour on the plane.
As a team that was how we got up here this afternoon. It’s changed quite a lot this year as we are flying to most games, but I guess that’s the nature of the Premier League. When I was at Newcastle we used to fly to Manchester - it was only 20 minutes in the air!
In comparison, when I was a youngster at Plymouth we had to drive everywhere and there were some absolute killer journeys! Even if we were going to somewhere like Swansea we would have to pile into the back of the minibus at about 6am, get there to play and then come straight back!
In that sense I understand and have a lot of respect for the fans that are travelling up to Sunderland early tomorrow morning. The away support has been incredible this year and some of the money you spend to follow us is humbling.
That’s why we always show our appreciation – win, lose or draw. Because we truly appreciate the support and know it takes a lot of time, money and commitment to follow us up and down the country. The least we can do is go over and show you that.
I remember there was an away game last year that I didn’t go over and clap after the final whistle. I hadn’t played and I was really angry and annoyed, but that’s something I massively regret now. I was told straight away in the changing room that it wasn’t acceptable - I haven’t done it since and neither has anyone else.
On our away trips I tend to share a room with Smudger. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not! I don’t know when we first started sharing, but I think he gets lonely so he needs me! I have to make sure that he gets to all of the meetings on time. I am also the one that sets the morning alarm - he just complains that it goes off too early!
Away from tomorrow’s match, Surs and I did an interview together this week with a journalist called Tom about our running stats. He was really interested in how and why we do so much running as a team.
Personally, I think it’s just the way that we set out to play. We defend as a unit and press together, so that takes a lot of running from everyone. So far we’ve outworked every team we have played this season, apart from West Ham. We weren’t at our best physically that game, so it was important that we were able to bounce back straight away against Norwich.
It was also good to get my first home goal in the league and my first headed one! That victory has set us up nicely for tomorrow’s game and hopefully, with the help of your support, we will be able to bring home all three points.