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OPINION: Are the shiny new seats at the Stadium of Light a metaphor for Sunderland’s future?

New seats, new outlook - Sunderland’s hierarchy are trying to rebuild from the bottom up with the fans very much a part of everything that they’re doing.

An action shot of the seats taken on Thursday evening
Roker Report

The World Cup may have ended in heartbreak for England, but on the domestic front we Sunderland fans have a lot to look forward to. The changing of sun-damaged seats in the Stadium of Light may not seem like something that should top the list of things to get excited about, but their removal and replacement will make a definite impact as we head into our upcoming League One campaign.

From early on in their ownership, Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven were asked about the changing of the infamous pink seats in some parts of the Stadium of Light - something they stated they would look to sort as soon as they could. In truth, the seats had become a representation of the dire situation the club had found itself in over the past few years, and the chance to rid the stadium of them will have a cleansing effect for everyone on Wearside.

Some of you out there may be sceptical, but a fresh squad playing in a stadium which has been spruced up will bring about a feeling of positivity - something that’s been sorely lacking for many a year.

The end of last season couldn’t have come soon enough; however, to prevent a repeat of our recent antics in the third division, a lot of things needed to change in and around the club.

With new owners, a new manager and an overhaul of the playing squad in full swing, the additions of fresh, vibrant new seats rounds off the clean slate we find sitting before us. It’s a tangible reminder that this is a fresh start, and has fans excited ahead of the new season.

There is further significance in the new seats in that it is supporters which have been asked to help replace them. The idea was developed by our new owners and true to their word they have engaged with the fanbase and brought supporters in to help with the redevelopment.

The scheme was destined to go down well with fans as it shows that the new members of the hierarchy at the club want to rebuild a positive relationship with fans. For too long Sunderland supporters have not been appreciated enough by the club; those days are in the past now and engagement with supporters is already at its highest in a long, long time.

So far, we’ve seen Donald, Methven and Jack Ross interact with fan-run media on numerous occasions. However, the fact that the new hierarchy have made good on their word with the Stadium of Light seat change shows that the new regime wants to put supporters back at the forefront of the club.

It may feel like a simple gesture, but this is a big step forward for a club that really hasn’t had a particularly good relationship with its fanbase - this can only be a positive move.

It is a case of out with the old and in with the new at Sunderland, with the clear out ranging from the players on the pitch, to the people in the boardroom, and the seats which we sit in on Saturdays afternoons - things are changing on Wearside and fans are optimistic once more.

So, nice new seats for a successful season in a league unknown to Sunderland fans? Let’s hope so. One thing that seems a certainty is that there will be a large number of supporters covering them when our first match day of the season against Charlton Athletic comes around.

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