DAVID Bruce says the feel around Sunderland has been transformed in the last week after a string of major off-field developments - and has described the club as "a rocket ship ready to take off".

The club's chief business officer says Sunderland's hierarchy were well aware of the anger and frustration of fans on the back of last season's disappointment and the long-standing head coach uncertainty.

But in the past seven days, the Black Cats have appointed Regis Le Bris as their new boss, unveiled their hugely popular new home kit - the first since partnering with hummel - and opened the doors to their impressive new stadium store, in partnership with Fanatics.

Bruce believes all of the above helps to draw a line under the disappointment of last season and is now excited about the future - on and off the pitch.

He was joined by Kyril Louis-Dreyfus at the official launch of the stadium store on Thursday night - before the chairman returned on Friday morning, when he dished out pink slices to supporters who were queueing to get their hands on the new shirt.

"We recognise where the fans were," admitted Bruce.

"It wasn't ideal. But we always trusted the process to get the right head coach in. We believe we've got the right head coach in. When he was announced and people started to understand what he's about and what he'll bring to the football club, I think the fans have really warmed to that appointment.

"Fast forward through the weekend, we've fired a drone over the stadium and shown the grass growing and some of the safe standing areas. We teased the kit on Sunday. It felt like a different place in 48 hours.

"Then the fixtures get released and you can almost start to feel the season. With the head coach, new partnerships like hummel and Fanatics, what we're doing in the stadium, it's going to feel like a different place.

"There's a lot of energy around the club and long may that continue."


Bruce added: "We listen to the fans and understand where the issues have been. We want to deliver against that.

"We have people here who live and breathe the football club and have a really good read of what this football club can become. Put those good people with good instincts and understanding, that's what we've done with hummel and Fanatics and delivered a superior product.

"It's been really nice to see how the fans have reacted and I can't wait for them to come into the space (the new store). It's just the start of all the amazing things we're going to be doing together."

Sunderland have worked closely with hummel and Fanatics over recent months and Bruce says the new kits and store show why the Black Cats were so excited about the partnerships.

He said: "I'm completely delighted with the end product. What I think was most pleasing was the time frame we worked with, everything we've done, from the start of the conversation with hummel and Fanatics to now, is like 11 months.

"That's unheard of in retail time. To be able to get a store like this and product in the market like we have, at the level of customisation that we do have at the football club, it's testament to everyone who's touched this and everyone who's believed in the vision.

"I think we hooked hummel and Fanatics very quickly around what this football club is and could become with the right type of partners by our side.

"As we've said before, this club is a rocket ship ready to take off and if we have the right partners alongside us, who are able to deliver in a few key areas, like retail and product and some other fan related stuff that we'll talk about later, the opportunity is just limitless."