EVERY single person in the United Kingdom, from newborn baby to pensioner, has lost £12,500 in this seemingly never-ending recession.
It’s a sobering statistic that was revealed last year by think-tank the National Institute of Economic Social Research.
The vast majority of people living on these islands would greatly miss such a sum of money, even when stretched over a period of time. Many families in our region survive on less than that as an annual income.
Coincidentally, £12,500 is the prize for all football clubs who reach the giddy heights, well giddy as far as Newcastle United and Sunderland are concerned, of the FA Cup fourth round.
However, unlike the ordinary punter in the street, the ones who pay out of their own pockets to attend football, Premier League clubs would not miss that kind of money. Indeed, they wouldn’t even notice if that sum was deposited into one of their many bank accounts.
And judging from the performances of the North East’s two Premier League sides in this season’s FA Cup, the players won’t particularly miss being part of what is still the world’s most famous domestic cup competition.
Middlesbrough, for the second time this season, are flying the flag in the cup; they reached the Capital One Cup quarter-finals by beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, with Newcastle going out to Manchester United in the previous round.
There was a depressing inevitability about Sunderland’s 2-0 replay defeat by Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night, as there was Newcastle’s loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.
As soon as the first goal was scored in either match, there was going to be no other result than a victory for the Championship teams.
Sunderland admittedly showed passion to come back from 2-0 down at the Reebok Stadium in the first match against Bolton, but such commitment was lacking on Tuesday night as they “meekly” were knocked out, in the words of their own manager, Martin O’Neill.
The final whistle on Tuesday had just sounded when jubilant Newcastle fans took to Twitter and began to not so gently chide their friends from Wearside. Their point was that Bolton sit lower in the Championship than Brighton, and at least their team lost away from home with a team made up of youngsters and a few fringe players.