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FAN LETTERS: “Reward loyalty - bring back the membership scheme for Sunderland supporters!”

Roker Report reader Chris discusses the ticketing system at Sunderland. Have you got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition!

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve been living in France for almost four years now, working and studying, so I’ve been following letters about a loyalty system with interest. What strikes me is that there’s almost immediately this friction of “I’m more loyal, I am the most loyal supporter”, “but I’ve done this this and this...” So let’s sidestep this trap.

A couple of years ago, the club introduced a membership scheme. If you bought a season ticket you were a platinum member, if you paid a few quid you were a gold member and you got a copy of Legion of Light and second priority after season ticket holders for away games, cup games etc. I can’t remember the exact levels or prices, but it seemed a fair idea to me!

I didn’t mind paying a few quid for my “Black Cat points” (of which I had a few then) to actually count for something. I’m not bothered about the copy of Legion but I would like to feel like I’m contributing to the club, and of course being able to apply for high priority games, should the need arise. Successful/rich clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool have membership and cup schemes in place which they can afford to do as they have the customer demand. Obviously season ticket holders should get priority, but there needs to be a way for exiles and people who can’t have a season ticket for whatever reason to contribute and be involved.

I will be contacting the supporter liaison officer, but just one thing - I feel there’s been a feeling for a while that the Supporters’ Association was dead or out of reach unless you lived somewhere with a very active branch. I hope this isn’t the case, or maybe it’s from being part of a younger generation - we’ve never been so connected, never been so cut off.

Chris Pearson

Ed’s Note [JN]: After reading and replying to a number of comments upon reforming the current loyalty scheme, this could be one of the easiest to implement and arguably effective ideas suggested.

I tried to buy tickets for Liverpool - Spartak Moscow earlier in the season and noted that fans with a buying history or who live in the local area are also given priority if the brackets above (x number of loyalty points, season card holder etc) had sold out.

Although making it difficult for tourists, I think this could work greatly by placing supporters first no matter whether they are local of in exile.