Sunderland would be in the Champions League if they had the same pulling power with players they enjoy with stars like Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones

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If Sunderland AFC could have attracted football’s biggest names in the same way they have attracted music’s biggest names they’d be playing in the Champions League by now.

While successive managers have struggled to sign stars to ply their trade at the Stadium of Light, there’s been no such problems when it comes to the gigs.

Take That, Oasis, Beyonce, Kings of Leon, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Coldplay ... all, and more, have graced the home of Sunderland AFC.

Successive SAFC team managers have had no such pulling power.

Related story: Is turning Sunderland's ground into the Stadium of Bud Light really such a bad idea?

For a long time, the football declined while the concerts grew.

Rihanna in concert.

Rihanna in concert.

Sunderland couldn’t even lure journeyman Lewis Grabban to the club, yet had the Rolling Stones knocking at their door to perform ... and the club, by all accounts, turned them down!

Which makes the decision to stop hosting the big gigs all the more astonishing. They pulled in the crowds, boosted the economy and put the city in the spotlight.

Related story: Major music concerts to return the Stadium of Light

We don’t, of course, know the full story of why the gigs were pulled in the first place, but today’s news that they’re set to return will be welcomed across Wearside and beyond.
It just feels right.

For the football club it’s a sure sign that the owners are thinking big and looking to capitalise on city’s feelgood factor.

Businesses will like the idea of more footfall (and more cash) in the city while music fans will love the see the biggest names in pop playing on their doorstep.

It’s also another welcome string to the city’s cultural bow.

A return of Premier League music stars will be great ... if a little of that magic pulling power can rub off on the footballing side, the team may well follow suit.