A SEA of red and white descended on Park Lane as fans set off on the road to Wembley.
From the crack of dawn, thousands of dedicated Black Cats supporters filed into 31 coaches destined for the Capital ahead of tomorrow’s Cup Final clash against Manchester City.
As well as donning their red and white colours, many dressed up in raincoats and trilbies like 1973 hero manager Bob Stokoe.
Many more fans across the city decorated their cars in scarves and banners as they set off down the A1 in the hope of seeing their team bring home some silverware.
Most of the fans the Echo spoke to this morning are predicting a 1-0 win for SAFC.
Steve Patrick from Silksworth, 56, remembers being at Sunderland’s last victory at Wembley in 1973.
“The atmosphere has been brilliant, even better than ‘73, everyone is so excited,” he said. “It’s been brilliant to see everyone in the city smiling.
“Come on Sunderland! I feel sorry for the Geordies. Lock up your horses.”
Val and Robert Dakers from Millfield were also among the masses boarding the National Holidays coaches at Sunderland’s bus station.
Robert, 64, said: “It’s been great this morning seeing so many of the younger generation getting excited for the match. I think what’s made it more special is that no one ever expected it this season. Johnson, in particular, has been a great signing. I reckon we’ll win 1-0.”
Bill McHale from Wingate said: “I’d like to see Adam Johnson get man of the match to see Roy Hodgson eat his words about leaving him out of the England squad.”
Steve and Jan Shinkfield from Roker are hoping to bring a flavour of the famous Roker Roar to Wembley.
Steve, 51, said: “I’ve been to Wembley three times before - for Norwich, Liverpool and the play offs. My dad wouldn’t let me go in ‘73 but we went and bought a colour TV and watched it at home.
“I’ve never seen them win there in person but I think it will happen this time. Poyet will get there, he knows what he wants. I think he was a good decision by Ellis Short.”
Katherine Lowes, 26, from Roker is travelling to London with dad Michael, 56.
“I’m so excited, I’ve been waiting 26 years for this,” she said.
Michael said: “Sunderland winning would be such a boost to the whole city. The town is so glum at the minute, this is what we need.”