Sunderland fans mock Newcastle's relegation with 30ft banner
The Black Cats secured their Barclays Premier League safety and condemned their North-East rivals to the drop with Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Everton at the Stadium of Light.
Yesterday, aerial advertising company Air Ads posted a message on Twitter which said: “Busy afternoon, putting together a banner for St James Park tomorrow afternoon!”
That was accompanied by a picture of a banner being prepared, with red letters across it spelling out ‘AUF WIEDERSEHEN PREM’.
It comes after a crowdfunding page was created on gofundme.com on Thursday by ‘SAFC AWAY DAYS’, with the stated aim of the project being to “organise a fly past banner over St James’ Park to allow us to say bye to our neighbours for a little while”.
Four donations have been made, with an anonymous one of just over £1,000 accounting for virtually the whole of the total amount raised. The page says £900 will be for the aircraft trailing the banner, with the rest going to charity.
Around £400 has already been collected to boost charity.
The page features several negative comments about the project.
One reads: “Absolutely the wrong thing to do.
“As a Sunderland supporter you should have a bit of dignity and be grateful that it wasn’t us. It could so well have been but for a good run at the end.
“I want no part of this whatsoever. Shocking behaviour if you ask me.”
Another says: “This is just pathetic, we have relegated them isn’t that enough? What good will come from this?”
Last year, an Air Ads plane flew a banner displaying the message ‘5 IN A ROW 5UNDERLAND’ over St James’ Park during a match there - a reference to Newcastle’s run of derby defeats to the Wearsiders.
Before the game, a spokesman for the firm admitted the banner plan has been met with a social media backlash by disgruntled Newcastle fans.
He said: “Between our Twitter and Facebook accounts, we have had about 40,000 Geordies threatening to kill us.
“It is just another job for us and we have worked with Newcastle fans in the past.
“I do think the Sunderland fans have the edge with this one, it is a witty banner they have come up with.”
The spokesman was eager to assure supporters that the banner will not be flown over the ground until supporters have paid their regular tribute to John Alder and Liam Sweeney, the two devoted fans killed in the MH17 plane tragedy.
“There has been some people concerned that the banner would be flown in the 17th minute, but that will not be the case.
“The Sunderland fans have not requested us to do this, and we would not have done so if we had been asked.
“The banner will be flown over the ground after the tribute has taken place.”