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Fan Letters: “I don’t blame anyone giving up on Sunderland to watch South Shields FC instead!”

Yesterday’s Fan Letter from David Bellis - where he said he’s taking his kids to watch South Shields this weekend instead of Sunderland - caused a bit of a stir on social media! Got something to say? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

South Shields' celebrate winning the Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley
PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Re David Bellis’ recent letter on the matter of him and his girls going to see South Shields instead of the Sunderland v Boro game, I can a) fully understand/sympathise with him and b) can guarantee from first-hand experience that he’d have made a wise choice.

For I myself have seen South Shields (and quite a few other local non-League sides) in action not just this season, but over the last few years, and compared to some of the garbage which has been served up not just at the SOL but numerous away games, there’s really been no contest as to who has provided better entertainment/made my afternoon out and my weekend in general worthwhile.

This may seem a bit fickle - for I consider myself something of an Sunderland loyalist -but, as is the case with any product in life, one surely always seeks value for money, whether that be from a football ticket, new car, computer or whatever.

So having (in common with a lot of other folk) paid good money into the Sunderland AFC coffers in the past for match tickets, merchandise etc., certainly in view of the former commodity, and even allowing for the occasional off-day or whatever, can I/others HONESTLY on the whole say that we’ve always had good value, entertainment etc. from our rather handsomely-paid footballers?

Granted, no-one has expected/expects a Barcelona-esque performance in every game, but can ALL those players who’ve appeared for us, both in this and in recent seasons, HONESTLY say they’ve given their all for cause this season/in past seasons and thereby justified their huge pay packets?

Perhaps a bit of a contentious point, and in comparison, I quite honestly can say that in 99.9% of local non-League games I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed nothing less than 100% endeavour from all players involved, whether that be in victory, defeat or draw, and all this for a fraction of the cost of a ticket for an SAFC home/away game. In which case, maybe some of our own players may do well to take in a game involving South Shields or whoever before this season’s out, for they may just learn a thing or about passion, commitment, and putting in a REAL shift in for THE DURATION, and who knows, it may just mean the difference between The Championship and League 1 for us next season.

Andrew Cockburn

Ed’s note: I think me and you are of the same mindset on this Andrew - I too have watched a fair bit of non-league football in recent years on the days when Sunderland aren’t playing and have thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a very close-nit atmosphere, the tickets are cheaper, the standard of football is generally very good and entertaining, the players give full effort and in general it’s better value for money. I’m no South Shields supporter but I don’t mind nipping along to Mariners Park to take in a game every so often, it’s good fun.

South Shields' Dillon Morse (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley
PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It is with deep regret that after 50 years of supporting Sunderland I simply can’t take any more suffering and will not be renewing my season ticket whilst Ellis Short is still in control.

It has been a difficult decision to make and no doubt some fans will label me as being disloyal and not a true fan. I don’t blame them for thinking that way and wish all you die-hard fans all the very best, but I’m a broken man!

Every game I hope that we’ve turned the corner and our fortunes will change but week in week out I’ve come away bitterly disappointed. I’ve experienced lows on many occasions but my instinct tells me that we are a broken club and whilst Ellis Short is the owner I can’t bring myself to invest any more money.

I intend posting a notice on my seat to this effect and would urge those fans who simply can’t take any more to do likewise. Over the years I’ve watched folk about me gradually give up, disappear never to be seen again. Whereas it use to be snug on match days I’m in a row of seats almost on my own.

Maybe a visual reminder of how many seats will be empty will do some good but personally Ellis Short is so detached from the club that it will be a futile gesture.

I’m not encouraging fans not to renew their season tickets (and would applaud anyone who has the mental strength to renew next year) but I simply feel that I have to make some gesture before I depart the Stadium of Light possibly for good.

Andrew Farnie

Ed’s note: I don’t blame anyone that does decide to give up their season card next season. I’ll still be there, but I totally understand why people can’t be arsed any more. Most of my mates won’t be bothering because they’re just sick of turning up and watching us have the piss taken out of us, and who can blame them?

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