Adam Johnson hopes the dark cloud over the Stadium of Light will have now lifted - but the City slicker from Sunderland's heartland aims to do Steve Bruce's strugglers no favours on Sunday.
The tricky 22-year-old winger who grew up in Easington was a ball boy at Newcastle before joining rivals Middlesbrough to emerge as one of England's best young attacking talents.
But most of the family and friends looking forward to the game are Sunderland daft - and young Adam's first taste of the football terraces came at their famous old Roker Park ground.
He said: "I went on a Sunderland soccer course as a young lad, and the first game I ever went to was at Roker. I was so young I hardly remember. My dad took me, we went with relatives.
"Our family are Sunderland fans - not so much my mum and dad, but aunties and uncles and cousins. They will all be at the game but they'll be sitting in the Sunderland end.
Lots of my friends are Sunderland fans too. Most people at school were Sunderland supporters - a few were Newcastle and nobody was Boro! I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of texts!
Johnson, recently named in England's 30-man squad against Egypt, added: "I've played at the Stadium of Light. Stewie Downing missed a penalty, which he won't thank me for saying, and we got beat.
"I'm hoping it will be a lot different on Sunday. We need the points with fourth place in mind. It'll be good to go back though I'll probably get a mixed reception as a former Boro player.
"But I've a soft spot for Sunderland, and all the north-east teams. Newcastle are probably nailed on to go up, but for the sake of everyone at Boro I'd like to see them up soon as well."