Updated: Apr 8, 2019
The first wave of flags will be on display in the Roker End v Coventry on Saturday 13th April afer a successful crowd funding initiative undertaken by the Red and White Arm
When Sunderland take on Coventry on Saturday the Roker End will look distinctly different in the build up to kick off, as the first wave of flags appear following a fundraising campaign by the Red and White Army (RAWA).
The independent supporters group raised £10K to produce flags and other material and artwork with the aim of enhancing the identity of the Roker End and it's "singing section".
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Sunderland fans the target was reached swiftly and has been the catalyst for an atmosphere group to form. Once the £10K target was reached fans were asked to submit ideas for a large surfer flag which was to be unveiled in the Roker End against Coventry City on 13th April. However, when Sunderland reached the Checkatrade Trophy final RAWA decided it was too good an opportunity and decided to pull out the stops.
Chairman Andrew Hird said "We had asked fans to submit their ideas for the main flag. We're not designers, and besides, as with everything we do it's about what the fans at large want. The common themes from supporters were the ship from the previous club badge and the words "Sunderland 'til I Die". One fan submitted a design that incorporated all of that so we fast-tracked the process and got it sorted just in time for Wembley"
A group of volunteers will be in the ground early to get things ready for the display and RAWA are asking for more fans to get involved. If you want to be part of it email firstname.lastname@example.org The group are also calling for fans all around the stadium to bring their scarves as they did at Wembley.
"This whole initiative comes from the fans - it's absolutely not a replica of these club led displays you see from time to time - where they produce thousands of little plastic flags and clappers" said Andrew. "We all know that what happens on the pitch is vital to the atmosphere. We also know that flags and scarves don't make a noise. What we hope is that this visual display is just the start and that it will grow and fans will be encouraged to bring more and more of their own creations. More than that we hope it might act as a spark to cement the Roker End as a true "home end" and capture the spirit of the Roker Roar throughout the stadium."
In addition to the main surfer which is 25 meters by 15 meters there will be a multitude of large waver flags in the club colours and depictions of iconic away strips. The display will also celebrate SAFC's 6 league titles and 2 FA Cup triumphs