Flag day for Sunderland fans

The huge flag will be unfurled on Sunday
The huge flag will be unfurled on Sunday
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DEDICATED Black Cats fans will unveil months of hard work at Sunday’s derby clash with Newcastle United.

The Ha’way the Flags group have been drumming up support for a crowd surfing banner, and the fruit of their labours is to be paraded on the Stadium of Light turf this weekend.

The 15m by 9m flag is set to be shown on the pitch to fans for the first time as the two North East giants warm up for the big game.

Sunderland AFC themselves are also planning a red and white card display.

 Nick Adams, from the Ha’way The Flags group, said: “We’re delighted to have met SAFC’s safety officials and finalised our plans for Sunday’s unveiling.

 “We’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support and donations from Sunderland supporters and the Ha’way The Flags group is delighted with the way things have gone so far.

 “Fingers crossed that the crowd surfer and the red and white card display will have a positive effect on the atmosphere on Sunday and that we can roar our team onto a famous victory against our deadliest rivals.”

The model for Ha’way the Flags is similar to Manchester United fans’ group Stretford End Flags, whereby banners are designed by, paid for and owned by the fans themselves.

Several former SAFC players – including Gary Rowell, Marco Gabiaddini and 1973 FA Cup-winning hero Jimmy Montgomery – have all come out in support of the campaign.

Former favourite Gary Bennett, who played for the club during the 1980s and 1990s said: “I think it’s a great idea.

“I remember at the World Cup in South Africa, England fans had huge flags.

“I think it gives you a great boost when you’re playing.”

 The first time the flag itself will be passed among supporters will be when Sunderland face Premier League champions Chelsea on Wearside on, Tuesday, February 1.

All those who have contributed to the creation of the flag are named on the organisation’s website.

Those fans wanting further information or to donate towards the group’s efforts should go to www.hawaytheflags.co.uk

They also want to hear suggestions for further banners to be carried among SAFC fans at matches.

Donations can also be made at the A Love Supreme fanzine’s premises, directly opposite the Stadium of Light.