Sunderland AFC fans welcome new kit – and manager Simon Grayson

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Sunderland AFC fans have ushered in a new era at the Stadium of Light – on and off the pitch.

While Simon Grayson was being unveiled as the club’s new manager, Black Cats supporters gathered at the Stadium of Light for the launch of the new home kit.

Jack Thompson, 16, presents the first new Sunderland shirt to be bought to Judy Wood, 71, from Ryhope, who got it for her grandson Paul Wright.

Jack Thompson, 16, presents the first new Sunderland shirt to be bought to Judy Wood, 71, from Ryhope, who got it for her grandson Paul Wright.

But many were left disappointed that a day of unveilings did not also include a takeover, after the club announced owner Ellis Short had ended talks with potential new owners, with a proposed sale deemed not to be in the best interests of the Black Cats.

Supporters attending last night’s kit launch were hopeful former Preston North End boss Grayson could improve things at the Stadium of Light – and also gave the new shirt the thumbs-up.

John McCall, 55, said: “Grayson is used to the Championship, and I think it’ll be good if he keeps them up next season, and then we can build from there.

“As for the kit, I think it’s good. It’s new and different.”

Grayson is used to the Championship, and I think it’ll be good if he keeps them up next season, and then we can build from there

John McCall

Mick Dron, from South Shields, was less of a fan of the kit, and said he would have preferred a Roy Keane or Paolo Di Canio-style managerial appointment.

He said: “Nobody seems to be interested in the club, which I think is because of the club’s debt. We’ve been going backwards instead of forwards.”

The kit was also a big talking point for fans.

Judy Wood queued for two hours to get one for her grandson Paul.

Jacob Edwards, 11, from Fulwell, with his new Sunderland shirt.

Jacob Edwards, 11, from Fulwell, with his new Sunderland shirt.

She said: “I think it’s great. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I think it’s different.”

Simone Parker added: “The kit is nice. Hopefully the team will enjoy plenty of success in it.”

Martin Addison, from Sunderland, said: “I think I’m in the minority, because I quite like the new kit.

“It has had a lot of negative publicity, but it’s something different from the last few shirts we’ve had.”

Oliver Williams, seven, from Roker, is presented with a spot prize by James Brown, 24, from Sunderland AFC after he scored a penalty during the launch event for the new Sunderland strip.

Oliver Williams, seven, from Roker, is presented with a spot prize by James Brown, 24, from Sunderland AFC after he scored a penalty during the launch event for the new Sunderland strip.

Evan McLachlan stocks the Sunderland AFC store with the new shirts.

Evan McLachlan stocks the Sunderland AFC store with the new shirts.

Fans gathered at the Stadium of Light store for the kit launch.

Fans gathered at the Stadium of Light store for the kit launch.

Mary Anderson paints the face of young Sunderland fan Leah Henderson from Witherwack at the launch of the new home kit.

Mary Anderson paints the face of young Sunderland fan Leah Henderson from Witherwack at the launch of the new home kit.

Aiden Bowers, five, from South Shields, with the Sunderland AFC mascots before the launch of the new home kit.

Aiden Bowers, five, from South Shields, with the Sunderland AFC mascots before the launch of the new home kit.

The new Sunderland AFC home kit.

The new Sunderland AFC home kit.