Forty one years is a long time to wait. Not since that upset win over Leeds United in the FA Cup final in 1973 have Sunderland tasted silverware.
Come Sunday, they will again be the big underdogs, up against a Manchester City side, targeting dominance on all three fronts of the English game, and looking to begin the trophy glut with victory in the Capital One Cup final.
"You can ask them when is the next time we will be back at Wembley," Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. "Who knows? For teams like Sunderland, it does not happen every year.
"I have to make sure they do everything possible to win."
For 90 minutes on the pitch, though, all the form, the predictions, the expectations will matter little. Play out of your skins at Wembley, the ground that should inspire any football player, and you should be OK.
"I think it's going to be special," added the Uruguayan. "I've not prepared my team talk because I'll follow my instincts but I'm sure I will use special words.
"It's a special moment and I need them to feel it is a unique opportunity."
Sunderland made their first major final in 22 years courtesy a nerve-wracking penalty shootout victory over Manchester United. Manchester City, though, had no such worries as they dismantled West Ham 9-0 on aggregate in the semifinal to ease into the Wembley final.
"I will be very happy if we achieve it because I think it reflects all your hard work from the year," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side are also still alive on three other fronts this season. "I think we have played very well in the Capital One Cup because we won all our games, scored 19 goals and conceded just one. I think it is very important to win the cup.
"It is important for this club to win titles. To win this first title at Wembley is very important."
City, who do not have fond memories of their last time at Wembley, when they were upset by Wigan in the FA Cup final, will start as the overwhelming favourites, which means the pressure will be firmly on the men in sky blue to be on top of the podium, hands aloft, with that wonderful piece of silverware come the final whistle.
"It is always dangerous to play against any team," Pellegrini noted. "Sunderland also have a lot of motivation to win, exactly the same as we do.
"Maybe we are the favourites but we cannot forget that Sunderland eliminated Chelsea and Manchester United, big teams. They are defiant. I am sure it will be a very close game."
Capital One Cup Final: Manchester City vs Sunderland Live TV Information (Match starts 2 pm GMT, 7.30 pm IST, 9 am ET)
|US||Bein Sports USA|
|Canada||Bein Sports Canada|
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live|
|Middle East||Bein Sports Arabia|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport|
Capital One Cup Final: Manchester City vs Sunderland Online Live Streaming Information (Match starts 2 pm GMT, 7.30 pm IST, 9 am ET):
|US||Bein Sports Play|
|UK||Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live|
|Middle East||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Canada||Bein Sports Play Canada|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport Go|
Team news: Manchester City: Matija Nastasic, Stevan Jovetic and Richard Wright are ruled out of the cup final, but Pellegrini will have his main man Sergio Aguero available.
Sunderland: Liam Bridcutt is cup-tied, while goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, a former Manchester City youth player, remains sidelined. Steven Fletcher and Carlos Cuellar, though, return to the squad after overcoming their respective injuries.
Key men: Manchester City: Pick any of Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, David Silva, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero. If even one of them fire, then Sunderland could be in for a long evening.
Sunderland: Former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone will have to be at his best, while the onus will be on Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson to create chances at the other end. Put in a now-that's-brilliant performance and Johnson could just book his ticket to Brazil with the England squad.
Expected lineups: Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho; Nasri, Aguero, Silva; Negredo.
Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, Cuellar, O'Shea, Alonso; Gardner, Ki, Colback; Johnson, Altidore, Borini.
Prediction: 3-2 to Manchester City