The Echo is throwing its support behind a thriving community project which has been experienced by thousands of Wearsiders as well as people from around the world.
SAFC Museum welcomed scores of visitors each day during a four-month run at Sunderland Library and Arts Centre in Fawcett Street.
Featuring the match-worn shirts of past and present Sunderland AFC heroes as well as items from the club’s illustrious history, fans of all ages flocked to the venue.
Medals belonging to the likes of legendary goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery have also been on display, as were the boardroom table and chairs from Sunderland’s former ground Roker Park.
Now, the Echo has pledged to help boost the profile of the organisation as part of Sunderland’s 2021 UK City of Culture bid.
Echo managing editor Gavin Foster said: “We’re entering into a partnership with the museum and we will be supporting all of their events.
“It’s a fantastic cause and we’ve seen the popularity of the exhibition grow and grow in recent months.
“It’s clear the impact that the museum has already had on the city and fans of the football club.
“Now we want to work together to try and do some great things in future.”
The museum is the creation of SAFC fan Michael Ganley, who personally owns hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Black Cats memorabilia.
“The Echo’s support is imperative for us,” said Michael.
“Social media is one thing but to have the hard copy of the Echo supporting us is a massive thing that we need to keep going.”
As well as the exhibition, its pieces have been showcased as dementia and Alzheimer’s events in recent months.
The group, which includes a number of dedicated volunteers, is even a nominee for tonight’s Echo Portfolio Business Awards, in the Special Community Award category.
Michael added: “We are the only museum or hub which is community-based in the world which is quite unique.
“We hope that the partnership with the Echo will strengthen what we are doing for the 2021 culture bid and assist us in future ventures.”
SAFC Museum is hoping to secure a permanent home, with details set to be announced soon.