If you went for a pint, a pie or a pee at half time during yesterday’s match you may have missed the launch of Sunderland’s new third kit. If you stayed in your seat during the interval you may also have missed the launch of Sunderland’s new third kit.
Because in an odd unveiling, the club decided to celebrate the release of the strip -which probably won’t be seen in action this term such is the lack of potential for clash - with a maudlin round of tunes delivered at the side of the pitch by a colliery band sporting the dark grey affair.
Because the colour of the shirt is ‘charcoal’ the wags who work in marketing figured it would be a topper idea to link it to coal and claim the new kit is a ‘homage to the region’s mining heritage’.
Part with fifty quid to get your hands on a nostalgic nod to the coal mining past of Wearside and County Durham. Roll up roll up.
Now I’m as much a fan of colliery bands as the next Mackem and I'm partial to spending a few hours watching the annual procession at Durham’s Big Meeting, but in truth this was all a bit shit.
But that’s nothing compared with the promo pic released to mark the occasion. Some bloke called Barry who used to work at Wearmouth Colliery and who is now employed in the maintenance department at Sunderland AFC can be seen posing with the new coal-coloured shirt down the pit shaft at Beamish Museum.
I’ve nowt against Barry and his story is interesting enough as a commentary on the changing face of the north east economy. But he’s one of the lucky ones of course after over 70 people generally employed in relatively low-paid positions at Sunderland AFC were culled from the wage bill earlier this year. This really is the stuff of cringe. All that’s missing is a whippet and a leek, perhaps an old lady knocking up a proggy mat.
I’ve been to Beamish - regularly - it’s brilliant. But I can categorically state that no pitman who worked down Beamish colliery would have been seen dead in an Adidas football top adorned with the logo of a betting company.
All this because the bloody thing is ‘charcoal’? It’s actually a decent enough top. Better than the godawful first kit and the bright blue change effort - in my humble opinion.
But this is the football club taking the patronising cliche’d claptrap which has blighted its attempts at public relations in recent years to new depths.
Sadly, there is little that the proud mining communities on which Sunderland AFC were built would recognise in the soulless existence presently being stripped bare on the site of the former Wearmouth Colliery.