DOCTORS last night warned Newcastle United supporters they were now vulnerable to a nasty case of Leeds.
Following a fairly typical weekend for North East football, Newcastle fans were told to face-up to reality and change their lifestyle before they end up having the tallest stadium in the third division.
Dr Tom Logan, of the Institute for Studies, said: "It's a big problem across the North East. They spend money they don't have on things that are bad for them and eventually find themselves sitting in the pub wondering why they've just drawn 0-0 at home to Yeovil."
Despite spending hundreds of millions of pounds the three North East clubs have not won a major trophy since Sunderland lifted the FA Cup in 1973. Middlesbrough's 2004 Wembley triumph was quashed last year under the League Cups Obviously Don't Count rule.
Dr Logan added: "They need to stop chasing impossible dreams and learn to be happy with what they are, which is rubbish."
In Sunderland, local cinemas are playing Newcastle's game against Aston Villa to packed houses, with one critic describing it as 'an absurdly exaggerated version of the Marx Brothers at their most surreal and outlandish'.
St John's Ambulance volunteers are on hand for the moment Damien Duff deflects the ball goalwards, as hard-pressed usherettes move in to mop-up all the urine.
Duff has been named a Freeman of the City of Sunderland, bestowing the ancient right to chase a barmaid across the Wear Bridge with a monkey wrench without having to pay the traditional toll of four Benson and Hedges and a jar of meat paste.
The reaction to Middlesbrough's relegation was more muted as most Premier League supporters had assumed the club had gone into administration some time around 1998.
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola said: "So that was the real Middlesbrough? I thought it was some kind of tribute band. How fascinating."
Meanwhile Ricky Sbragia has resigned as Sunderland manager after failing to get his side relegated, adding: "We cannot maintain a savage, inexplicable rivalry with Newscastle and Middlesbrough if we are in the league above them and for that I am truly sorry.
"I only hope the new manager can succeed where I have failed. Or the other way round, if that makes more sense."