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FAN LETTERS: Exiled Sunderland fans worldwide - join your local branch, they need your help!

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In today’s edition of the Roker Report mailbag the subject is supporter branches and how Sunderland fans everywhere can do their bit to ensure they thrive. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am incredibly excited to say that come August 24th one of my best buddies and myself will be hopping the pond and flying into London to begin a 2.5 week trip around Europe. One of the main reasons for the trip was to watch some professional soccer matches, and for me that can only mean one thing: The Bonny F*cking Lads.

As an avid reader/listener of yours I figured who better to go to for my SAFC questions than the legends at Roker Report. Here goes!

1. Tickets - I would love to make it up to the SoL, but with our itinerary and depending on the lads schedule that may not be an option. I wanted to know the best way for a foreign fan with no loyalty point to grab tickets to a home game, or an away game. Price is really not an object for a bucket list item like this, but I assume the prices for League One won’t break the bank. Are tickets available through third parties like Ticketmaster/Seatgeek that kind of thing? Should I look to buy from SAFC direct? Will I even have a chance of getting a ticket amongst the travelling support if I am going to a game in the south?

2. SoL - If I do get to the Pink Seated Palace to watch the lads run rampant over some poor souls, where should I look to sit for the most authentic “english football experience”? By this I mean singing the whole game, getting drunk, and having a laugh with the rest of the long suffering faithful?

3. Away Matches/Cities - I’ll be honest, some people try to spook you about going to away games in England with tales of home fans jumping those in away jerseys etc. We are chill guys and don’t plan on talking any more than a little sh*t. Anywhere in particular I should legit worry about sporting my red and white? Or is that all a bit overblown?

Will absolutely read the RR article on what to do in the prospective town if I do catch an away game.

4. Cup Games - Just as good as league games? Or should I really shoot for a Saturday affair?

5. Sunderland - if we do make it up I would love a few pointers on where to stay in Sunlun, where to grab a drink, and how I buy a pint for the boys of Roker Report!

Cheers boys for the awesome content, the connection with the fans, and being this accessible to someone looking to fully enjoy his experience in England!

Mike Emerson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Phoo - a lengthy one!

1. Home tickets shouldn’t be a problem at all - in fact, they won’t. Away tickets may be a little more tricky, as I suspect we’ll sell out our allocation most weeks. I’d recommend you hook up with Chris Waters, the Supporter Liaison Officer - Chris is incredibly accommodating, particularly with fans from abroad, and anything he can do to help he will. Drop him an email - Chris.Waters@SAFC.com.

2. For what it sounds like you want, head to the back of the South stand - it’s usually as rowdy as it gets up there. It’s where most of the singing emanates from anyhow, and you’re guaranteed to stand throughout the game.

3. Completely overblown. Obviously, don’t go on like a total knob trying to antagonise people, but it’s really not that bad these days.

4. Cup games are pretty dull usually, unless we get a good away tie somewhere. I’d say that you should just try and watch as much football as you can while you are here though.

5. I’d advise you stay on the sea front as it’s minutes outside of the city centre and the views are great. There are plenty of watering holes in the city centre and around the ground, and if you fancy a change you can always hop on the Metro to any one of a dozen places for a canny sup.

Let us know if you make it across, we’d love to catch you for a beer.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Creating a new exiles loyalty scheme, which would be incredibly difficult to implement, surely isn’t the answer.

The first job would be to draw an arbitrary line to determine who is eligible to become an exile? For example, would residents of Northumberland or Yorkshire be classed as exiles? People living in Berwick or Barnsley would probably think of themselves as exiles, but residents of Blyth and Richmond probably not. If an arbitrary distance of, say, over 50miles from SoL, how unfair would that be to the person who lives 49 miles away and can’t get a ticket?

My suggestion would be to encourage all exiles to join their nearest official supporters branch and apply for tickets through the branch. You are much more likely to get tickets that way. If you don’t have a local branch, start one; you’ll be surprised how many Mackems there are out there who just want to enjoy time talking football with other Mackems.

Robert Grayham

Ed’s Note [Gav]: You know what Robert, I think I agree with you. Since we raised this issue last week we must have received around 40 emails on the subject, so it’s clearly something that exiled supporters feel passionate about, but I think the branch structure is the way forward.

It’s no secret that many of the branches have struggled in recent years and we should all do our bit in order to ensure that the hard-working people behind them are able to carry on providing a great service to fans outside of the area for many years to come.

If there is no local branch, why not create one? It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can be almost certain that there are Mackems nearby who have the same needs as you as a supporter. As I mentioned in my reply to the last letter, speak to Chris Waters and he will help with branch related queries.