Kit nerds abound at this time of the year. Leaked images of shirts for the new season and fan mock-ups are everywhere. So what will Sunderland's home and away strips look like for the League One campaign which kicks off on the first weekend of August? So far, we've managed to force two clues out of a man who knows what's in store for us - read on.....
It'd be fair to say that the red-and-white kit which adorned the backs of the losers who were relegated last term will be spoken of in unkind terms until the end of time. Universally despised for its thin stripes and hideous back panel, the shopping bag creation will no doubt be recalled as possibly the worst in Sunderland's history. But what will replace it?
This is one of the presumably fake leaks which were spreading around during the course of the weekend. It's no doubt a fan mock-up but it's a pleasant enough affair with a return to thick stripes.
Speculators on social media reckon it can't be real because no Sunderland kit would have black-and-white stripes as seen on the shorts above. They also reckon Newcastle's current manufacturer, Puma, wouldn't adorn their black and white monstrosity with a black logo - because it's a black cat, and that wouldn't do (last season's Mag cat was white}.
Black & red away top
We reckon the above can't be real because we have it on good authority that Sunderland's away top for 2018-19 is going to be black with red features. We're also told it'll be from one of two Adidas templates - Condivo 18 or Regista 18.
Condivo 18 will be a regular feature at the World Cup. Sweden and Belgium's shirts for Russia 2018 are based on the design and Valencia's recently leaked away top utilises the template. So something like this perhaps in black with red trim...
Valencia's 2018-19 away kit is a Condivo 18 design
Or it'll be a Regista 18 design as featured on the shirts of Ajax and Morocco. Something like this perhaps in black and red...
Brace yourself. We're told that Sunderland's home kit for 2018-19 could feature red shorts. Yep, the regular black shorts could be binned for this season.
We haven't had red shorts since 1983 when they were paired with the controversial pin-stripe affair which Le Coq Sportif produced and which still splits opinion amongst Sunderland fans old enough to recall it.
That kit - as featured above on the backs of Sam Allardyce and co - was pretty much the only time Sunderland have played in red shorts and reaction could be a little mixed if it comes to pass.
It's not gospel that one and remains unconfirmed. Certainly Adidas and of course SAFC are aware of fan disquiet at the state of last season's shirt. So, another controversial design statement could have been binned off by now.
Brentford and Sheffield United are the two other English clubs who wear red-and-white and whose kits are manufactured by Adidas. There's been no clue as to what there's will look like for the new season but both club's from the last campaign were a whole load nicer than the monstrosity handed to Sunderland.