Sunderland fans today unveiled their stunning new pre-match flag display at the Stadium of Light.
Paying tribute to famous successes, legendary players and kits of years gone by, as well as the city's industrial heritage, the display helped create a breathtaking atmosphere before the clash with Coventry City.
The display was organised by the Red and White Army supporters' group, who raised a remarkable £10,000 from the Sunderland fanbase.
The designs for the banners were also led by Black Cats supporters, with the first surfer flag unveiled before the Checkatrade Trophy final against Portsmouth at Wembley.
With crunch games against Doncaster Rovers and Portsmouth still to come at the Stadium of Light this season, the group are hoping that their efforts can help build the atmosphere and inspire the Black Cats squad.
Speaking before the game, Executive Director Charlie Methven said it was the 'latest step towards creating something truly special.'
“The re-naming of the South Stand to the Roker End was just the start, and thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Sunderland fans, I believe it will quickly become an iconic element of the matchday experience at the Stadium of Light.
“Thousands have been heavily involved in making the Roker End a reality, from the re-naming to the Captain’s Mural, and this is the latest step towards creating something truly special that represents the people at the club’s core – the fans.
“We have witnessed the power of our support throughout the season, and it will be more valuable now than ever before, as Jack Ross and his players strive to seal an instant return to the Championship.
“So, arrive early this weekend and whether you are in the Roker End or not, let’s create an atmosphere between now and the end of the campaign that fires up the Lads and pushes them over the line.”
Chairman of the Red and White Army, Andrew Hird, said it was just the 'start' of the group's plans.
"This initiative comes directly from the club’s supporters, and it's absolutely not a replica of the club-led displays you see from time to time, where they produce thousands of plastic flags and paper clappers," he said.
“Throughout the last eight months, we have worked closely with the club to identify how we can improve the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light, and although we recognise that flags and scarves don’t make noise, we believe this pre-match display can be the spark that ignites our support and cements the Roker End as our true home end.
“Coupled with the Captain’s Mural that was unveiled in January, this is just the start, and we hope that it will continue to grow in the coming months and years, as further supporters are encouraged to bring their own creations to life.”