Sunderland And The Fort Settle Differences

Stu Forster - Getty Images

Following on from the 'flag debacle' of Tuesday morning, Sunderland and The Fort pub have settled their differences, with the Roker-based alehouse now included in the club's unique SAFC Rewards scheme.

The club announced yesterday on SAFC.com that The Fort pub, owned by landlord Alan Wallace, is now to be included in the SAFC Rewards scheme that benefits season card holders.

The scheme, introduced for the first time this season, seeks to create links between the club and local businesses, encouraging Sunderland fans to give their custom in the city with the incentive of a variety of discounts.

The Fort, which as recently as Tuesday drew headlines when landlord Wallace informed the Sunderland Echo that he had received a letter from the club demanding he remove flags showing the Sunderland badge from his premises, will now offer season card holders a 20% discount on selected drinks on non-matchdays,

Given the events of the past week, it is clear that this is the club's attempt to salvage the PR firestorm they started by sending The Fort their letter of demand.

Wallace, for one, seemed to be pleased with the reaction from the club, telling the official site:

I'm a huge fan of Sunderland so to now have that affiliation with the club is something I'm really proud of.

The pub is popular amongst Sunderland fans and anyone is welcome to come along and talk football!

The statement on SAFC.com makes no mention of Tuesday's events, with the club wishing to sweep the matter firmly under the rug.

Sunderland must, however, be commended for their swift reaction here. Their initial decision to send such a forceful letter to Mr Wallace backfired incredibly, but their desire to seek to mend bridges is admirable and deserving of praise. With the benefit of hindsight, it is a situation that could easily have been avoided. But, once it had taken place, it has to be said that this new announcement shows the club still cares about its supporters.

The club's commercial director, Gary Hutchinson, had this to say on the newest addition to the scheme:

We are delighted with the growth of SAFC Rewards which offers our season card holders a number of benefits.

We are pleased to have another local business sign up to the initiative.

The new scheme already appears to have been a success with fans and, as no doubt stated before, it is refreshing to see supporters rewarded for their loyalty.

Further details on this newest link, along with the rest of the deals available in the SAFC Rewards scheme, can be found at http://www.safcrewards.com/.

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