Sunday's 2-1 win over the Magpies at the Stadium of Light ended the club's wait for a Barclays Premier League success after six successive defeats and lifted the Black Cats from the foot of the table.
But just as important was local pride and the psychological boost that victory can give to players and fans alike going forward.
Fletcher said: "We're not daft, we know what this game means to the fans and everyone around the place. We knew we needed to win this one.
"We are told every day - some fans tell us that we just need to win this one and that's it.
"The fans have not had a lot to cheer about, but I think it showed from our celebrations in the first five minutes how much we wanted to win the game.
"We managed to go on and do that. They have stuck by us and hopefully we have repaid them."
- Sports & Recreation
- Barclays Premier League