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Q&A with the ‘Red & White Army’ - what will Sunderland’s newest fan group aim to do for supporters?

Yesterday, the Red and White Army was launched - what is it, what will it achieve and how can you get involved?


What is The Red and White Army?

The Red and White Army is a fully democratic, inclusive and independent supporters group which aims to give a voice to all Sunderland fans. Its goal is to inform, liaise with and communicate with the club in the hope of strengthening fan relationships with Sunderland AFC, to the benefit of all supporters. We're not here to replace or repeat the good work undertaken by some of the well-established, existing supporter groups. In fact, we hope our approach will complement their efforts.

Who are the RAWA representatives?

A co-opted individual is invited to join the team of lead reps from the following sections of support/organisations:

A Love Supreme / Away Fan Rep / Branch Liaison Council / Disabled Supporters Group / Family Zone Rep / SMB - Pure Football Forum / South Stand/Atmosphere group / Supporter Liaison Group / Roker Report Fansite / Wise Men Say Podcast / LGBTQ rep

The elected roles are filled on an interim basis by the following until the first Annual General Meeting.

Chair - Andrew Hird

Vice Chair - Jane Hughes

Vice Chair - Michael McAllister

Treasurer – Ryan Griffiths

Secretary – Cath Reid

Policy Coordinator – David Rose

What are RAWA representatives bringing to the table?

Through members of this group having experience in fan media (fanzines/blogs/podcasts etc) and fan engagement (Branches/SLG/Football Supporters’ Federation) we already have an established dialogue with SAFC Supporter Liaison Officer, Chris Waters, as well as the club’s media team. We are no more entitled to meet with club representatives than any other fan, but are collectively in a very advantageous position to aggregate and gauge the feelings of supporters given our web and social media presence. We intend to use our position of influence to help get your voices heard.

How do you intend to get a dialogue going with SAFC?

Under new EFL Regulations, football clubs are obligated to hold at least two fan engagement sessions per season with an elected supporter group to discuss relevant issues or points of interest. The regulation is as follows:

112: Supporter Engagement

112.1: Clubs shall hold at least two meetings/fans forums per Season to which its supporters (or representatives) are to be invited in order to discuss significant issues relating to the Club. The framework for these meetings shall be documented in the Club’s customer charter, but are subject to the following minimum criteria:

- 112.1.1: Clubs must be represented by the Club’s majority owner, board director(s) or other senior executive(s);

- 112.1.2: where meetings are not open to all supporters wishing to attend, the supporter representatives must be elected, selected or invited in line with basic democratic principles;

- 112.1.3: individuals cannot be excluded by the Club without good reason (the Club acting reasonably).

While two meetings per season is enshrined as the minimum, we aim to interact with the club whenever necessary with any overarching concerns that supporters may have.

What happens once I have raised my comments to RAWA?

All comments and concerns received by RAWA via the dedicated email address will be logged and common themes/discussion points will be drawn out. The themes will then be used to inform discussions at members meetings with the most pressing and pertinent issues being formally raised with the Club for their review and comment.

To ensure transparency, all points formally taken forward to the Club along with responses will be available to view on our media platforms.

How can I express my concerns to RAWA?

We want fans to feel comfortable interacting with us, and so are happy to be contacted publicly or privately via your preferred social media platform.




How do I join RAWA?

You are invited to sign up to our mailing list on our website ( There will soon be an open meeting at a city centre location to officially launch the group.

Has this group been set up to protest against Martin Bain and Ellis Short?

We planned to set this organisation up this season whether we were at the top, or the bottom, of the league. RAWA has been formed with no specific agenda other than to relay the concerns of supporters to those at the club who are empowered to make change. We are merely a platform to help improve dialogue with the club, whatever that dialogue may be.

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