Trip To Old Trafford Sold Out

Mike Hewitt

Sunderland will be backed by a huge swathe of Black Cats fans next week, as the club announced this morning that away fans have snapped up all 9,000 tickets for Wednesday evening's Capital One Cup semi-final.

Gus Poyet's men's final stop before a potential Wembley visit won't be a lonely one, with 9,000 ardent red and whites joining them in Manchester next Wednesday evening.

As confirmed by the club this morning, tickets for the crucial cup tie - which only went on sale last Wednesday morning - have all gone, following several days of queues at the Stadium of Light Ticket Office and many hours spent answering club telephones.

Given the circumstances, it once again has shown quite how remarkable Sunderland fans are.

Despite tickets being offered to Manchester United fans at a mere £20 for the opening leg on Wearside, Sunderland supporters have been hit with charges ranging from £45 to £55 for next week's game. This is in keeping with a policy the Red Devils have had in place throughout the competition this term, but that makes it no less galling for fans so soon after Christmas. Not to mention the fact that many will require at least a half-day off work.

Huge credit is due to Sunderland AFC here. The club's PR has long been in need of a positive boost, and over the past fortnight or so they really have turned a corner. The subsidising of Newcastle United tickets and the bursting of the 'bubble' were excellent moves, and the decision to lay on in the region of 150 free transport buses to Old Trafford will have played a huge part in the tickets selling this quickly.

It is a rather astonishing turnaround given how low things have been at the club lately. Gus Poyet has injected a real sense of optimism - despite Sunderland still sitting in the relegation zone - and Sunderland fans have once more repaid this with staggering support.

Those travelling to Manchester have collectively spent at least £405,000 on match tickets alone. In addition, the tickets did not even manage to reach general sale before being snapped up.

Given the fragile state of the home side currently, a veritable red and white army can only heighten the Wearsiders' chances of a trip to the capital at the beginning of March. They will be loud and proud a week tomorrow, and now it is down to the players to ensure their return home is a happy one.

Fans wishing to use the club's free buses for this game must book a place by no later than noon this Saturday (18 January). Full details can be found on the official club website HERE.

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