THE decision of Sunderland AFC to have new badge designed for copyright reason has raised a few eyebrows among supporters – because the traditional black cat emblem of the club has been dropped.
Tradition is difficult to put to one side but from the opinions of a number of people interviewed by an Echo reporter it appears that older people welcome the change while younger supporters feel that black cat should have been retained.
Mr Albert Garrick (76), of Mayfield Court, Sunderland, was in favour of the new design. “It’s simple, straightforward and the name “Sunderland” is outstanding on it. The old one is a fancier badge,” he said.
A visitor from Wakefield, Yorks, Mr W A Gilbertson (74), who is a native of Sunderland, pointed out that the new one was distinctive and if he saw anyone wearing one in the streets of Yorkshire, for example he would instantly recognise it as a Sunderland football badge.
“The Sunderland colours are predominant on the new one and I think there is rather too much on the old one. Anybody who was not a Sunderland supporter would not know what the old one meant, but the football is unmistakable in the new one. I would have no doubt about what it was.”
Mr Gilbertson could not, however, see the point in leaving out the black cat. It had always symbolized the club.
Miss Jean Gibson (20) of Callerton Station, Newcastle, was – somewhat naturally – not a Sunderland supporter, but she was in favour of the new badge. It was brighter, it stood out more and was more original, whereas the old one was “old-fashioned”.
A 15-year-old supporter Neil Scott, of Thornhill Gardens, Sunderland was strongly against the new design. “I think it’s got to have the black cat on. The galleon on the top of the old badge also shows that Sunderland are an old-established team.”
Another young supporter, Kevin Rafferty (16), of Perth Court, Sunderland said: “I like the old one best; it’s got more to it, Sunderland has always been the “black cat” club and the old badge has got more character.”
Kevin and his friends all wore the old badge and he felt that this would be the one they would carry around with them.
A 12-year-old supporter Paul McKivvin, of Cliffe Park, Sunderland, also preferred the old badge. It had more design and the black cat should have been retained.
A visitor from Scarborough enjoying the sunshine at Roker, Mrs S A Chamberlain, felt that Sunderland could hardly be called the “black cat” club if they was nothing in the badge to denote the cat: but she felt that the old badge was untidy. “The new one looks better and is much more outstanding,” she said.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on August 14 1972.