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Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light

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Roker Roundtable: Which former Sunderland players would you name a stand in honour of?

Renaming stands at the Stadium of Light after red and white greats is a possibility that has often been mooted. We asked our RR panel for their suggestions…

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Andrew Smithson says…

We’ve got such a rich history that it would be difficult to come up with a list that suits everybody. Indeed, you could include the four corners of the stadium, the Premier Concourse, and the Upper North Stand, and still end up leaving a couple of legends out!

In order to narrow it down, I’d probably suggest adding parameters of some sort, such as local-born players.

Obviously, Sunderland have had several legends from outside the region, many of whom later settled in the area, and I’d like to think fans are also welcomed no matter where they are from. If you did limit it to homegrown names, it would also recognise the community aspect that has helped to grow SAFC over the generations. After all, the roots of the club are highly important and still play a part today.

The other thing to consider is how you could appeal to different age groups.

Younger fans may not identify with the older names, so a wide range would be ideal, and somebody like Jordan Henderson could fit perfectly. I know his best achievements have come elsewhere, but he remains an inspiration to local kids and embodies the kind of work ethic and warmth that I want my city to be known for.

It also reminds people that you can come to this club and excel - although naming a stand after somebody still playing elsewhere doesn’t seem too clever, so we might have to wait until he makes an emotional homecoming!

Jill Scott comes into the same category as Henderson, but there’s a deep pool of red and white heroes, now retired or passed, that could be used right now.

Jimmy Montgomery, Raich Carter and Bobby Gurney would be obvious choices, and if there was room left over for an expat my feeling would be Niall Quinn - any honorary Mackem anyway.

I remember that in the past he was humble enough to initially turn down similar recognition, but after everything he did for the club and the area, I would love him to be remembered.

The whole point of naming stands would be to herald the great and the good like Quinn. I think some people within the club explored the idea in the past and if the scheme was ever resurrected, it would surely be well received.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Play-Off: First Leg Photo bt Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Derek Carter says…

Ideally, one section of the ground would be called the ‘Carter Stand’, and although it would obviously be named after Raich, I could convince my young grandkids that it was actually dedicated to me in recognition of sixty years’ worth of of stress as a result of following Sunderland!

On a serious note, I would have the ‘Porterfield Concourse’ because it not only has a classier ring to it than Premier, but it also reflects the fact that his FA cup-winning goal took us to great heights which would seem apt for that particular area.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Fulham v Sunderland Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Rich Speight says…

I think that dedicating the stands at the Stadium of Light after the most important figures in our history would be a great way of linking the past to our present and making sure that some important names are remembered by future generations.

Personally, I think the club’s founder James Allan should be the first of these - we literally would not exist without him. I would also put in a word for the club’s first manager - the man who won three league titles for us in the 1890s, Tom Watson.

I also think there’s been no better servant of the club over so many decades than Jimmy Montgomery, and his legacy has been felt down the generations.

Andrew mentioned Jill Scott, and as the most capped player from our city she deserves proper recognition - the premier concourse would be a good fit for a tall lass who has reached the very top of the English women’s game since graduating from our Centre of Excellence.

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Gary Engel says…

In the modern era, we’ve covered the most likely candidates, especially a certain Irishman.

But before our move to the Stadium of Light, as the tongue-in-cheek saying goes, football was indeed invented before the 1990s, and Sunderland had another Irish hero who was as named our ‘player of the century’- the legend that is Charlie Hurley.

There were good reasons that he rose higher than the rest of his Black Cats contemporaries. He was always brave and strong, but also humble. He took Sunderland into his heart and they loved him for it.

Indeed, when Martin O’Neill first arrived he spoke about his reasons for supporting Sunderland as a boy, and how Hurley was his hero during the 1960s, as he was for an entire generation who walked through the Roker Park turnstiles.

It is quite a compliment too, as so many headlines are written about goalscorers and goalkeepers, and not so much centre halves, yet Hurley towered head and shoulders over so many.

I’d say name a section of the West Stand after him- a touch of class, just like the fellow himself.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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