Sunderland fan starts campaign to replace ‘pink’ seats at Stadium of Light

SAFC fan James Smallwood has created an online petition to change the faded stadium seats
SAFC fan James Smallwood has created an online petition to change the faded stadium seats
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A passionate Black Cats supporter has started a campaign calling on SAFC bosses to replace sun-bleached “pink” seats at the Stadium of Light.

When the now 48,000 capacity ground was opened 19 years ago, most seats were bright red in honour of the club’s traditional colours.

Sunderland supporters at the Stadium of Light for the last game of the 2015-16 season against Everton. Picture by FRANK REID

Sunderland supporters at the Stadium of Light for the last game of the 2015-16 season against Everton. Picture by FRANK REID

However, many of them, particularly those in certain sections of the North and East areas of the stadium, now have a faded look having not been replaced for almost two decades and constantly in view of sunlight.

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Lifelong fan James Smallwood has now set up a petition on the change.org website as well as a Facebook page calling on chiefs to replace the tired-looking chairs with bright red new ones.

The petition has so far gathered almost 800 signatures.

If they were to bring new seats in it could really brighten the stadium and improve it.

James Smallwood

The ground hosts an England international for the first time in more than 13 years on Friday, when the Three Lions take on Australia.

“I don’t want give the club any bad publicity over this, but I just think with the ground being 20 years old next year it could do with freshening up,” said James, 31, who works at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

“If they were to bring new seats in it could really brighten the stadium and improve it.

“At the minute, it looks a bit tired compared to what it looked like when it first opened.

“With the new TV deal we’ll be getting money from, I doubt it would take much of that to get new seats in.

“I even saw when my nephew was playing as Sunderland on Fifa that the seats are faded on there, so people obviously notice it.”

So far, James’s drive has attracted plenty of positive comments from fellow supporters who agree with his view.

It’s thought that the cost of replacing all seats with new ones could set the club back hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“I’m emailing a few other clubs in the Premier League to see what kind of plastic they use for their seats,” added James, of Hastings Hill, who has been a season ticket holder for 18 years.

“We’ve got the sixth biggest ground in the country and millions watching on TV and it should have a higher standard of maintenance, especially with us hosting England games and concerts like we are this summer.

“If they replace them it will really smarten the place up and I’m sure those people who work at the club would say the same thing if they could.”

To view James’s petition go to www.change.org/p/sunderland-afc-stadium-of-light-pink-seat-campaign?recruiter=545670968&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=whatsapp or to see the Facebook page he has set up search for “Stadium of Light Pink Seat Campaign”.

A spokeswoman for Sunderland AFC said the club would not be commenting on James’ campaign.