The SFG, or better known as The Sunderland Football group, are looking to change the match day experience at the Stadium of Light for the better, but who are they? Here’s all you need to know...
The Sunderland Football Group is a fairly new organisation, but they’re looking to make a big noise, literally.
Frustrated with the declining atmosphere at the SOL, much like you and me, a group of like-minded SAFC fans actually did something about this and formed the Sunderland Football Group. A group aiming to organise and unite SAFC fans into creating an electric atmosphere every week at the Stadium of Light.
We’ve all heard the Stadium rocking, and the hairs can stand-up on the back of your neck the atmosphere is so electric, but this doesn’t really happen all that often. A welcome return of the famous ‘Roker Roar’ anyone?
The SFG locate themselves in the South West Corner, handy since that has evolved into an unofficial ‘singing section’ for lack of better words. They do a grand old job (most the time) in the SWC trying to raise the atmosphere, but just imagine that all round the ground.
I know one thing I’d like to see is the return of the ‘home end’ in football, as all too often the singing areas in modern stadia across the country are in the corners. The SFG however, have grander ambitions, and would like to see SWC-esque chanting and support throughout the ground.
At Roker Report, we share the Sunderland Football Group’s vision, "We're located in the SWC, but we feel the SWC and the rest of the stadium for that matter could be so much better".
You may have noticed over in the SWC, the appearance of some banners and flags. These have been created by the SFG; however are pretty much the property of the fans. The fans fund the costs through donations, and get to vote on the design of the flags/banners on the Sunderland Football Group website www.sunderlandfootball.co.uk.
The SFG added "The flags and the scarves are a show of solidarity. It's a simple way to show you're a like-minded fan who likes nothing more to vocally support the lads".
There’s a very important message in that statement; Support the Lads. "Our stance is pro-Sunderland. You won't find us self-obsessing about the Skunks and we frown upon fans that are intent on singing about a TV pundit week in week out instead of singing for the lads." A message we fully support on Roker Report. For The SFG to work, and to become something truly special, it’s got to be about supporting the lads and not be anti-our neighbours up the road. You won’t find that sort of thing going on around Europe.
Whilst we all realise the chanting, banners and flags don’t appeal to everyone, they do help create a ‘proper’ footballing atmosphere. However, the Sunderland Football Group want to stand out from anything other clubs may be doing, "We'd like Sunderland to be known for their originality. Be it in the flags/banners we have made and the chants we introduce" the SFG tells us. Definitely the right route to go down, without the creativity and something to set us apart from other clubs, the whole thing is pointless. It needs to be something special, and SFG are on the right road.
Whilst it is still relatively early days for The Sunderland Football Group, numbers are swelling and big strides have been made. Two new banners are to be introduced in early 2011, and no doubt there will be many more to come if people join the movement, continue their generosity with donations and continue their loyal support for both the SFG and SAFC.
Worth noting too, The SFG are trying to organise an in stadium get together for the Notts County FA Cup game on January 8th. They are urging supporters to sample what they are all about by buying tickets in the SWC. Full details of their plans are available on their website - http://www.sunderlandfootball.co.uk/like-to-chant-get-your-fa-cup-ticket-next-to-us.html
The Sunderland Football Group is something all SAFC fans should be aware of, and they are only going to go from strength to strength. So get involved, and make your passion heard at the Stadium of Light
You can find out more about the group, along with their message and ideas on the website: www.sunderlandfootball.co.uk