Great to see Sunderland tub-thumping its own history at last
In common with all properly functioning adults, I hate Christmas.
Look up a song by Eric Idle on YouTube for beautifully articulated thoughts on the subject.
So Sunderland’s home game on Boxing Day against Bradford City is more than welcome. The club wants to attract 40,000 spectators and will break the division attendance record, currently held by dirty Leeds.
Get yourselves there. What will you miss by attending? Claustrophobia, stale air, more overeating and Carry On Up the Khyber: that’s what.
The fixture will also see an official re-naming ceremony of the Stadium of Light’s South Stand. Good.
For obvious historical reasons it will now be known as the Roker End. Personally I would prefer the stadium itself to be renamed; it isn’t too late. But this is a positive start and other plans are afoot, such as the Captain’s Mural.
The stands were named when the stadium opened in 1997: and the imagination employed in the process could have been contained in a small Manila envelope.
To the south of the stadium we were given the imaginatively entitled South Stand, opposite which stands the North Stand. There are also East and West stands.
Between the North and East stands we have something called the North East corner, between the South and the ... Is anyone still reading this?
Sections of the ground have at various times used sponsors names, such as the North Stand currently being officially known as the Carling Stand – with limited success: i.e. nobody calls it that.
Various sections, including hospitality areas, have names that could be improved upon. If lucrative and much needed sponsorship should dictate what these areas become known as, then so be it.
But in the absence of such largesse there are plenty of worthies deserving of such an honour: James Allan, Bob Kyle, Johnny Cochrane, Charlie Buchan, Bobby Gurney, Raich Carter, Len Shackleton, Charlie Hurley, Johnny Mapson, Davey Dowell... You will have your own suggestions.
And while we’re at it, I’ve always thought that SAFC could perform great self-promotion by tub-thumping its own history more.
Just as people around Britain are completely unaware that this city has miles of beautiful sandy beaches; so there are football fans with no idea that its football club has been champions of England six times. Only five clubs have done this more.
Of course, it’s a while since Sunderland won the league: 1936 to be precise.
But history matters.