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Fan Letters: “Let’s turn Sunderland’s Stadium of Light into a giant community fan-park!”

RR reader Andy wants to see Sunderland turn the area surrounding the stadium into THE place to be on a matchday, and has some suggestions for how we do it. Email us: - we’ll include your message in a future edition!

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Danny Roberts |

Good morning lads and lasses at Roker Report!

I’ve recently been to my first International Rugby match, Scotland v Argentina and what struck me was the massive family friendly atmosphere around Murrayfield before the KO.

If anyone has been to Murrayfield they’ll know what I’m going to describe. To enter the area surrounding the ground you enter turnstiles that form a sort of perimeter to the stadium itself, once through the turnstiles, you’ve got a plethora of burger vans, fish & chip vans, hot dog stalls, beer stalls, sweet stalls, burrito huts, Vegan stall, pizza stalls and loads more that also surround the stadium. To get to your seat, you just walk into the stadium, no turnstiles as you’ve already gone through them.

I’m now honestly surprised as to why football clubs haven’t tried (to my knowledge) something similar.

I know Stewart, Charlie and Juan are wanting to help improve the fans experience on a match day. Think this is something they could possibly look into? Just a thought!

Have a good day guys!

Andy Urwin

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hi Andy - funnily, you aren’t the first person I’ve seen suggest this and I think it’s definitely something that the club need to look at.

The problem with the Fanzone is that, whilst it’s a decent idea, it’s also very avoidable if you can’t be arsed with the hustle and bustle of it. It’s just plonked in the carpark. Me and the lads left town early for a game earlier in the season to grab a pint in there, and were put off by the enormous queues at the bar. I think that, after this season, there are probably a load of improvements to be made to the Fanzone experience and that the club are likely very aware of that, but it’s good to offer up suggestions.

I love the idea of turning the outside of the ground essentially into a fan park. increase the boundaries so that you have to pass through the ‘arena’ before going into the Stadium - it just makes so much sense. I’ve no idea how possible it would be unfortunately, though, as the main carparks for the ground surround the stadium and you’d probably have to forgo those in order to do this, but maybe down the line its something for them to look at.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I work out of the country a lot of the time so reading articles on your website and others is the main way of keeping up to speed of what is going on.

This may be something others may do already, but this season I have taken to reading the teams we have played against, post game reports in their local paper websites.

This often adds a different view to the match from the one we see. Sometimes it’s the same, sometimes it’s probably a bit less rose tinted but most of the time it is funny to read.

It has been far too long a time that we have had something good to cheer about and reading others woes, whilst sometimes hard for them, is a pleasant change for us. Even if we are not playing to our best, it’s good to see that there is a belief that we can still gain something out of the game, even if the opposite managers view it differently sometimes.

On a different note, my only major gripe with the club on what I feel has been an excellent turn around so far has been the Black Cats Academy.

I do believe the owners are doing a great job in difficult circumstances. The initiative’s they have started and their vision for the club has been refreshing and it was with that in mind that my son was excited about this potential link to the club and gaining the next generations support.

However, this has yet to materialise, was supposed to have correspondence since September and after 2 emails which I’ve had to send to ask about what is going on, there has still been a lack of well, anything.

If it has been a big issue to have gotten the black cats academy off the ground due to technical issues or other reasons then surely an email from the club to let people know this would be the easiest thing to do.

Instead, I’m left feeling annoyed now and £20 lighter as well as a disheartened son. Fingers crossed they can get it sorted sooner than later as I feel it has a lot of merit and potential to it.

Durham Dave

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hi Dave - firstly, thanks for reading the site regularly, we’re always blown away by the amount of exiled supporters that see Roker Report as a valuable resource, so thanks.

Regarding the Black Cats Academy, that does seem a shame though I imagine that there is a sound reason for why things are delayed. If I were you, I’d get in touch with Chris Waters. Chris is Sunderland’s Supporter Liaison Officer and he’s fantastic in engaging with and doing his best to help fans - drop him an email, I’m sure you’ll get a reply. He’s also on Twitter if you’d prefer to engage with him there instead.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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