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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Sunderland fan living in Cumbria hoping for FA Cup replay

A lifelong Sunderland fan is praying his team fail to beat Carlisle United in their crunch FA Cup clash...

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Mal Robinson: ‘I would like to see a replay back at Brunton Park. Then I would be able to get some of my mates over and have a few beers’

Mal Robinson lives in Brampton where he runs a fanzine dedicated to his beloved Black Cats.

He moved to Cumbria about a year ago as his partner Stacy was stationed at the RAF base in Spadeadam.

Mal, who is originally from Fulwell in Sunderland, couldn’t believe it when his hometown club were drawn at home against Carlisle United in the third round of the FA Cup. His pals began ribbing him as soon as the two teams’ names were drawn out of the hat.

Mal will be in the home stand at the Stadium of Light on Sunday for the match but will be the only Sunderland supporter hoping their side doesn’t come out on top.

He explained: “I’m hoping it’s a draw because I would like to see a replay back at Brunton Park.

“Then I would be able to get some of my mates over and have a few beers without having to travel.

“I don’t feel any split loyalties though, I’m still hoping Sunderland win of course – just not at the Stadium of Light.”

Mal, of Longtown Road, set up the magazine Seventy3, named in honour of Sunderland’s FA Cup win in 1973, after leaving the RAF.

It features a different guest editor every month with the articles themed around them, and has around 4,000 readers.

Carlisle United boss Graham Kavanagh recently featured in a special Irish edition and Blues midfielder Paul Thirlwell has also appeared.

Mal also edits two other titles – Seventy2 for Rangers fans and Sixty6 which focuses on the England national team.

Despite the magazines going from strength it has been a different story on the pitch for Sunderland this season. The club sit bottom of the Premier League table and are already on their second manager after Gus Poyet replaced Paulo di Canio.

Mal is hoping for some New Year cheer in the cups instead. He said: “We had a debate on Facebook to see if our fans would rather do well in the cups and get relegated or stay up and get knocked out of the cups.

“Ninety per cent said they would rather win one of the cups and go down because we seem to get relegated every seven years anyway.

“It will be a good match against Carlisle – they are two leagues apart but have nothing to lose.

“My mates have been saying the game will be a warm up for when Sunderland play Carlisle in the Championship next season but I can’t see that happening.”

DHemming@cngroup.co.uk

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