Newcastle’s motto replaced Sunderland’s at the Stadium of Light (Photo: Getty)

Sunderland have apologized after a bar at the Stadium of Light was decorated in the colors of arch-rivals Newcastle United ahead of their FA Cup derby match.

The North East rivals meet for the first time in almost eight years in the third round of the competition on Wearside on Saturday.

The Black Cats Bar in the stadium was made available to Newcastle fans for fans of corporate hospitality.

As if that hadn’t angered Sunderland fans enough, images circulating on social media show the area decked out in Newcastle colors with a banner reading “Keep the black and white flag flying” above the bar.

Other images show Sunderland’s motto “Ha’way the lads” being desecrated and replaced with Newcastle’s rallying cry “Howay the lads”.

Sunderland have since issued a statement apologizing for “a serious error of judgement” and promising to review the situation immediately.

“Sunderland AFC acknowledges that a serious error of judgment was made this afternoon in relation to the Black Cats Bar.”

Sunderland fans were furious at the decoration (Image: Getty)

“We apologize to our fans for the understandable concerns they have expressed in response, and this sentiment is shared by the club’s ownership group and board, who have called for an immediate review to determine how this process has developed .”

“Additionally, the ownership group and board immediately decided to restore the space to its original condition and we once again apologize to our supporters for not addressing this issue sooner.”

Sunderland fans have criticized their club on social media, accusing them of ‘losing touch’ and ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for their bitter rivals.

Former Sunderland striker Marco Gabbiadini described the incident as “shameful” and warned that Newcastle fans will still be talking about it “50 years from now”.

“We have a group who have taken over the club and who you would think after our last season would have a bit more knowledge of how football works,” he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

‘There are people from the region on the board.’ The owner and his club had one of the biggest rivalries in French football with his family’s club, and we got involved. I don’t believe it, if I’m honest.

“It’s humiliating.” “Newcastle fans will be saying this in 50 years.”