Dear Roker Report,
My little lad is Sunderland daft and all he does is think about the club and football, so the fact that things are so good around the place at the minute is great for me and him because, after worrying the years of poor football would end up putting him off for life, he stuck with it and now is able to see the lads win a few games. One thing he seems very passionate about is the renaming of a stand.
I don’t know why, because I doubt many other eight year olds care about such matters, but he overheard me and his uncle talking about it on the way home from a game a while back and ever since he’s been coming up with his own ideas for what he’d call it, though I think it might be a bit too early to be naming it after his favourite players Josh Maja, Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch - though ‘the Gooch End’ does have a ring (get it?) to it!
It has got me thinking though. I know it was mooted by the new owners that this would happen eventually, but I feel like it absolutely has to happen soon. I’d love to see a stand named after a club legend, and I ask you this: who would you lads at Roker Report like to see a stand named after, and why?
Me personally, I’d like to name the South stand after Raich Carter. Sunderland’s greatest ever player arguably. Born and raised on Wearside, captained Sunderland to league and cup glory and nobody else can say that they replicated his achievements. I know he was around long before the time of 99.9% of Sunderland supporters, but historically he’s our most important player and he deserves to have his name remembered forever.
Haway the Lads!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: From what I believe, the club have plans for this to happen in the very near future. The early idea was to have a fan vote which will be used to decide who the stand is named after - and that seems like the most sensible idea to me, so I hope they press ahead with it.
Personally - and I’ve already written about this in the past - I’d like to see the stand named after Sir Bob Murray. I know we already have the Murray Gates outside of the ground, but the legacy of this man on Wearside is often understated and I think he deserves a lot of credit for bringing the Stadium of Light, Academy of Light, Beacon of Light and Foundation of Light to the region.
I read Peter Reid’s book recently and he too admitted that, in hindsight, the tough decisions made by Murray in prioritising spending on developing the club’s facilities was probably the right thing to do, even though at the time he wanted more money spent on new players.
He wasn’t perfect and I won’t stand here pretending that he was, but Bob was just a normal working-class lad that did well for himself and spent a hell of a lot of money and time on ensuring that he did well by the people of Sunderland - and when you look now at the part he’s played in developing some of the most amazing facilities for the people of this area, you have to admit that he’s been able to achieve all of his dreams.
There are many fans who will disagree but, for me, the first name above a stand at the Stadium of Light should be for a man who, without his influence, we wouldn’t have such a magnificent arena to play at in the first place.