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Haway The Flags: RAWA Atmosphere volunteers on why Sunderland fans should back their initiative

Sunderland fans are like no other - and with that in mind, we asked the loyal volunteers behind the Roker End flag initiative to tell us just why being involved with the project means so much to them.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Haven’t you heard? There’ll be even more flags in the Roker End for the Doncaster game, and there’ll also be latticework - a homage to Roker Park - which runs right across the middle of the stand to add even more colour and personality to the area. Impressive.

Keep an eye out for not only the display on Friday, but also the other bits and bobs around the Roker End. Tag us in your pictures on Twitter and we’ll be sure to share them!


Melanie Riley said...

I was lucky enough to have gone to Wembley and seeing the surfer being deployed there really stirred the emotions, so I knew straight away this was something I was keen to be involved with.

The last few home games I have been to I have been quite disappointed with the atmosphere and negativity from where I have been sat - no one chanting and as soon as we lose the ball, people around me getting on the players backs rather than trying to rally them on.

The lads in the background who have spent many hours of their time to get to this stage need a massive pat on the back, they have done a brilliant job and clearly a lot of thought and effort has gone into the designs of the flags.

Despite the result last week I walked into my office full of Mags on Monday morning with my head held high, feeling so proud to say I’m red and white to the core. I’m really looking forward to being a small part of this going forwards - let’s just stop the negativity for the next few games and get behind the lads. We can do this - keep the faith!

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Barry Poskett says...

I feel showing the future generations how we are one club and how we all want the same thing is important, as these young fans are the future of our great club.

Simply put - we all want a football club to be proud of, and under the new regime this is starting to come back.

But as fans we too can play a part in the positive progress the club has made over the last 10/11 months under the new owners. As fans we need to share the belief that, whatever the contribution, nothing is too small and showcasing who we are through flags, banners, colour and noise is just a small part in the continued positive feeling that is starting to come back to the club.

I would strongly encourage anyone who wants to become involved to do so.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Hayley Holland said...

I saw a rally cry on Twitter for fans to be involved in helping distribute flags to the Roker End. As soon as I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.

I did initially worry that being a woman I may not be able to help as much or be as welcome - how wrong was I! A chat group was set up and I was welcomed as much as any other volunteer.

On meeting at the SoL on Saturday it was clear that there was pride in this group. Proud of our team, our club, our heritage and most of all proud of what can be achieved when fans come together.

It’s an eerie feeling walking into the Stadium of Light when it’s empty but you can then marvel at our beautiful stadium. However, there was no time for that - work was to be done!

Was it going to look too manufactured? Was it going to flop?

We needn’t have had those feelings - the response to them was unreal.

Seeing children, our next generation of supporters. excited and waving a flag was something else - I couldn’t help but get a tear in my eye!

As our lads came out the tunnel and the surfer was released, the noise made in stadium was the highest I have heard for a while - pure raw emotion. I personally loved it and can’t wait to be involved in taking this flag dream team forward. Haway The Flags!

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Shaun, Harry and Jamie Meek said...

From the age of six I stood in the Mainstand Paddock at Roker, and now at 35 I’m in the family zone of the Roker End, and I love to chant at the games. With that in mind, I thought this initiative was something I’d love to get involved with, trying to improve the atmosphere.

Over the past decade or so my home matchday routine has changed from going on the drink with the lads to taking my two boys to the match. We now tend to get in the ground as the turnstiles open, putting our own flags up nice and early.

Having me and my two boys being part of the group was exciting and appealing - they have always been encouraged to chant and sing at the match and have always been told to be proud of our club.

What we actually did help create last weekend blew us away, and we can’t wait for it to get bigger and better, hoping to be part of it for a long time to come.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Joe Lakeman said...

When I arrived at the Stadium on Saturday you could sense the feeling of pride from the group who were there, with everyone keen to get in the stadium and see what flags had been created.

When we got in the ground it was breathtaking seeing just how many flags there actually were - I think many of us thought there would be half as many. And, after placing the flags in the seats before the game, you could tell it was going to look amazing.

When the players ran out - where the two crowd surfers were unveiled and everyone was waving flags - it really was a breathtaking spectacle. I couldn’t see the full effect as I was too busy unveiling one of the surfers but when I saw the pictures after the game it sent a shiver down my spine - I couldn’t be more proud of my club.

We were told to fire up our city, and that we did.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

James Challinor said...

I’ve been going to games since I was 5 years old (06/07 Season) and Sunderland has stuck with me ever since, and I will do anything I possibly can to help around the club in any way.

My experience on Saturday was brilliant - I met some great people and the team worked brilliantly together. I was shocked at how many flags there were and as soon as they were placed out I knew that this was gonna look amazing.

Come the actual display itself, I didn’t see it in its entirety as I was sat in the Roker End but I could feel that the atmosphere improved massively.

It felt amazing inside knowing I helped do this.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Andy Brennan said...

It’s been a really tough few years to be a Sunderland fan, so it’s quite simple for me.

I wanted to play my part to make the club great again. I wanted to feel proud to be a Sunderland fan, and the feeling on Saturday was amazing as the surfer rode across the Roker end.

That display was done with both fans (volunteers), players, and the club working together. So I’d urge everyone to get involved to help get us back where we belong.

Tony Jones said...

I joined in with the flags following a post on RTG Pure Football - I was immediately taken by the sheer scale of the project and knew I wanted to be part of it.

I am so glad I did. The buzz I got from all my fellow volunteers and the look of sheer joy from fans, especially the younger ones, will live with me to my grave.

I can’t wait until Friday.