GUS Poyet says he completely understands the Wembley dreams of Sunderland fans – because he shares them!
It is more than 20 years since Sunderland supporters last made the trip to Wembley for a cup final, losing to Liverpool between the famous twin towers in 1992.
And the excitement that goes with that long absence is reflected in the armada of buses prepared to head from the Stadium of Light to Old Trafford today in the hope that Poyet can steer the Black Cats to the Capital One Cup final.
It would be the first time that Sunderland, holding a precious 2-1 lead from the first leg going into tonight’s game, have been to the world-famous ground in the 21st century and more than 9,000 red and white fans hope to see that dream become a reality at Manchester’s Theatre of Dreams this evening.
While Poyet has been on Wearside little more than three months, he is fully aware of how much the fans would love to go to Wembley.
And he believes that a cup final appearance in his debut season in charge could help fuel the beginnings of a special era for the club.
“I do realise what it would mean for the supporters to go to Wembley and to be honest, it’s not far from what it means to me,” he told the Echo.
“I love that place.
“I love to be involved in finals and I had great memories at Wembley.”
Poyet believes a cup run all the way to Wembley would help blow away any bad feelings surrounding the club after a trying 2013.
“I think the best feeling is when you win something because you become closer to the fans and the club.
“That brings plenty of things into the team too. And it could be a great experience.”
For the moment, though, he is savouring the occasion this evening when underdogs Sunderland will look to upset the odds at the home of the Premier League champions.
“For us, it’s great,” he beamed.
“It’s the best thing about football.
“When you’re a football player and you’re coming to England, that’s the best part of it - going to a game when it’s full and your supporters are there.
“They respect you so much just for doing your job properly and that’s all we have to do for them tonight - do our jobs to the very best of our ability. If we do that, we have more than just a chance.”