Remembrance set to be marked early by Sunderland AFC

Soldiers from the
Soldiers from the

Sunderland AFC will show its support for armed forces charities at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Hundreds of serving military personnel, veterans' groups and families of soldiers who have lost their lives in the service of their country will attend the Black Cats' game against Arsenal.

Sunderland's players will once again wear special poppy shirts, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

Sunderland's players will once again wear special poppy shirts, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

This is the 12th year in a row that military personnel and their families have joined Sunderland AFC and their fans in support of the country’s annual Remembrance Commemorations.

However, this year's activities are earlier than ever, as David Moyes' side are away to Bournemouth on November 5, and the following weekend has no Premier League fixtures due to an international break.

The next home game after that isn't until Saturday, November 19, when the Black Cats entertain Hull City, so the decision was taken to stage the commemorations early.

Soldiers from the Household Division, based at ITC Catterick, will parade around the Stadium of Light pitch before Saturday's game and form a guard of honour as the teams take to the field.

A traditional period of silence will be observed before kick-off, and the Sunderland players will sport special one-off match shirts bearing the traditional poppy emblem, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

Colour Sergeant Chris Hunter, a Sunderland season card holder, is leading the tribute and will lay a poppy wreath in the centre circle as the teams gather to observe the silence.

He said: “Sunderland’s backing for the military and armed forces charities such as the Royal British Legion, has been simply amazing.

“As a season card holder and a serving soldier of 17 years I am proud to play my part in helping the club and the fans to support the Remembrance Commemorations."

Sunderland AFC’s chief executive Martin Bain said: “The North East region has a long-standing and tremendously proud military tradition.

"Saturday is our opportunity as a club to show our support and appreciation to the armed forces personnel and their families for the great sacrifices they have made - and continue to make - in the service of their country.”

The national commemorations take on added significance this year, as they coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Sunderland goalkeeper L. R. Roose died in what remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.

His life, and that of six other former Sunderland AFC players killed in action in the first and second world wars, is commemorated in a monument by the stadium’s West Stand.

The memorial also recognises and pays tribute to all those killed in the line of duty.

Sunderland AFC also has a long-standing commitment to Tickets for Troops, the organisation that provides free tickets to members of the Armed Forces for a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events.

The service offers serving personnel and those medically discharged from the forces since 2001 the opportunity to enjoy an event of their choice with their friends and families.