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FAN LETTERS: Should a loyalty system be created for supporters outside of Sunderland & abroad?

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In today’s Fan Letters, we share Malcolm Dugdale’s recent letter to Sunderland AFC Supporter Liason Officer, Chris Waters. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

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Dear Roker Report,

Alright lads - I just wanted to share that I sent the below email to Chris Waters, Supporter Liaison at the club, to see if we can ride this wave for more distant Sunderland fans too.

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Hi Chris,

I have a suggestion I would like to put to the club, and as the supporter liaison I hoped I could do this via you.

I’ll start by saying, after the first week of ownership by Stewart and Charlie, I am totally inspired to support my home town club however I can once again. Despite the league we are about to play in, I cannot wait for the season to start. The new guys are making all the right noises, and if they deliver on the vision I have heard about, we will be where we belong again very soon. The managerial appointment is spot on too.

I will say, that first press conference and the podcast with Roker Rapport was pivotal for me, and the fact it happened on day one for the new owners speaks volumes. I’m in, and I want to chip in.

My idea is quite simple. I live 3.5 hours away from Sunderland, in a small village north east (of course) of Peterborough....I will be a local Mackem at the “Posh” game, one small upside of our repeat relegation. Over the past couple of seasons I have been to 2-3 games a year, as I have worked weekends numerous times, and the seven hour round trip is not easy to make possible even when I’m not working. I am proud to say I took my son to see THAT GAME against Chelsea, when Khazri, Borini and Defoe soared like eagles for us. That game will be a moment I will share with my teenage son for all of our lives, and I owe my club for the honour of being there that day.

My issue is there is no incentive available from the club to encourage me to go to say five games, or more. My suggestion is that the club introduce the same scheme I have at my local coffee shop - six games for the price of five or similar? I cannot commit to a season ticket, nor to a ten match sequence which I know the club have offered. This is due to the distance and work/family commitments, but if the club would do something like the coffee shop principle, I would pick five or six games at the start of the season and I would be there for all of them, and I would buy at least 2#two tickets so my lad or one of my daughters, or my wife would be there with me.

I admire the fact that Charlie and Stewart and the club have extended the season card offer, but if the club can consider other offers people like me can take up, this would add to the numbers for about a quarter of the home games or more. I know that would help the sounds of “the Dance of the Knights” raise the hair on our necks once again, as it has many times over the years.

I always buy tickets through SAFC.com, and a sales channel like that could provide an easy way to implement this and prevent fraud or people trying it on - use the same points as used for other ticketing decisions and this could be enabled fast and cheap.

Can you please pass this on to supporters forums and discussions with the club please Chris?

Whether this idea comes off or not, I will do my best to be at as many games as I can. This Red and White Phoenix is regenerating and will fly again soon, and I am hanging on for the ride.

All the best, good luck and good health for 2018/19.

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Malcolm Dugdale

Ed’s Note [JN]: An interesting proposal, and I do think the club could improve marketing towards single-ticket games. Granted, that is much more difficult in the lower leagues and the selling of season tickets is the financial priority.

It could be a viable alternative, or possibly even introducing a form of loyalty points for non-season card holders? Ones that act completely differently and are separated from the current system - in a way to encourage both rewards and return for the club and the supporter.

Nevertheless, I’m sure the new regime will at least listen to our concerns and ideas - which is massive in truly feeling a part of the club once again. I can only echo your thoughts, and cannot wait for August to roll around.