Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn today appealed for the whole of the north-east to back the club's bid to host games in the 2018 World Cup finals.
Speaking at the launch of the Black Cats' campaign to be included as part of England's bid to stage the showcase event, Quinn cited the facilities and the city's people as major strengths.
He said: "I've experienced first hand the huge excitement a World Cup generates, and it would be absolutely fantastic to see the Stadium of Light and the north-east play a big part in such an international sporting phenomenon.
"The warmth and enthusiasm of the people are such assets for us and I ask everyone, young and old, to put their heart and soul into supporting our bid.
"I know that football fans from around the world will fall in love with this city and the whole of our region, so let's put football rivalries aside and pull together and show everyone what Sunderland and north-east England are all about."
Sunderland is one of 15 cities, along with Newcastle-Gateshead, seeking host city status.