Our remarkable photograph from the ChronicleLive archive was taken 65 years ago.
It shows thousands of eager Newcastle United fans queuing at the Gallowgate End of St James' Park for tickets for the impending Tyne-Wear derby.
Newcastle were due to host Sunderland in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.
Back in 1956, the Cup remained untarnished, still the trophy that fans and players alike dreamed of, and arguably more prized than the league title. Incredibly, by today's standards, it was not unusual for teams to rest players in league games and save them for important FA Cup ties.
And it was a time before the long, painful decline of both North East clubs.
Newcastle United, in fact, were the FA Cup holders.
When the Magpies beat Manchester City 3-1 at Wembley Stadium the previous May, it was their third Cup win in five years - a victory which confirmed them as the joint-second most successful club in English football in terms of trophies won, alongside Arsenal and behind Aston Villa.
(By the grim standard of 2021, this leaps out as a truly remarkable statistic. If anyone wants to posit a theory explaining United's collapse in the second half of the club's existence, feel free).
They were doing well in the league too. By the time our picture was taken on Sunday, February 26, they were sitting third after a 2-0 midweek win at Portsmouth (the first league game played under floodlights, incidentally) and a 2-0 home triumph over Arsenal on the Saturday.
Sunderland, like Newcastle, were still one of football's big-hitters. The one-time 'team of all the talents' and 'Bank of England club', they had never experienced relegation.
(When, towards the end of the decade, they did finally go down for the first time in their history, it was the starting point of decades of snakes-and-ladders seasons and going up and down the leagues. Since the mid 1950s, Sunderland have finished in the top half of the top flight - First Division and Premier League - just three times).
But 65 years ago, decline for both clubs and both sets of fans was in an unimagined future. The much-anticipated quarter-final would take place at St James' on Saturday, March 3. Cup fever gripped both Tyneside and Wearside.
The Chronicle reported how 50,000 tickets would go on sale from the turnstiles of St James' Park at 3pm on the Sunday, and 10,000 simultaneously at Roker Park, Sunderland.
There had been doubts over whether the 60,000 tickets would be printed on time, but Sunday rather than a weekday was confirmed "after many requests from business firms and factories to avoid absenteeism from work by ticket-eager fans".
In the event, the game itself from a Newcastle point of view would be a write-off.
In front of a baying 61,474 crowd, they simply never got going, despite fielding the likes of Jackie Milburn, Vic Keeble and Bobby Mitchell.
Sunderland ran out deserved 2-0 winners, with our sister title the Sunday Sun reporting how United "caved in with astonishingly little form or fight".
For the Wearsiders, the semi-finals beckoned - but the joy in Sunderland would be short-lived and, just a couple of weeks later, they were beaten 3-0 by Birmingham City at Hillsborough.
The decline for both Newcastle United and Sunderland was underway.
Don't miss our new Memory Lane local history website that's packed with archive photographs and has an easy-to-use picture colourisation tool.