Meet... our Exiles Podcast host, Rich Speight!
Alright there - I’m Rich, an exile living on the edge of Snowdonia.
I grew up around Ryhope and Silky, stood on the Roker End with my dad as a little kid then the Fulwell End and North Stand as a teenager.
I’ve lived away for most of the last 15 years, and now work in adult education. I had the idea for a “MackemExiles” podcast earlier this year as a way of connecting and telling the stories of Sunderland fans around the world - but didn’t really have the time or team to get it going properly.
So, I’m over the moon to be working with the Roker Rapport gang who’ve been there and done it, looking forward to a great season of away days with my 9 year old and some good crack with other exiles on the new pod.
Meet... Niall Bromley!
Hello there! I’m Niall - a 28 year old Lads fan who lives in Nice, France.
I’ve been a supporter since I attended my first game in 1997 which was the first ever game at the SOL against Ajax. I spend 10 months a year out of the country, so I make sure I attend every home game when I’m back.
Before I worked away I did have a season ticket for six years, and it’s probably the thing I miss most about being home. But, I never miss the games, I’m always sat with my £5.99 stream and a bottle of San Miguel on a Saturday.
My best moment as a lads fan was beating the mags 2-1 at the SOL when Borini pinged one in the top corner, but my worst has to be the play of final last year, sat at work with all the lads who support different teams. All of them were pulling for the lads, had loads of beers and celebrations ready, but I ended up in bed by 8pm that night after spending an hour on the phone to my mam telling her how it was all her and my dad’s fault for taking me to the SOL as a child...
P.S. I’m the better Bromley.
Meet... Michael Dunne!
I’m Michael, a 24 year old from Dublin in Ireland. You’d think coming from Ireland that I would support a Man United or a Liverpool or Celtic but fortunately (or unfortunately) my team was Sunderland since I was old enough to kick a ball. My Dad is a massive lads fan and Charlie Hurley was his hero, so I followed suit.
I’ve been going over to games even before the Keane/Quinn era and my first game was in 2002 against the mags. I had season tickets for a good few years also. These days, I’m part of the running of the Irish supporters branch - the Irish Black Cats - and last year I got to ten games between home and away, and will hopefully I’ll get to even more this year. The Wembley heartbreaks were tough to take but I feel refreshed and ready for another year of an emotional rollercoaster!
I work as a primary school teacher in Dublin, hoping to inspire the next set of Sunderland fans.... though, needless to say I am failing in that regard. I enjoy the banter with the kids and they genuinely still think I’m joking when I say I support Sunderland!
Meet... Danny Roberts!
I’m Danny, a Roker Reporter for about five years now, and more specifically the goal gif guy.
I’ve been exiled for the majority of my life, and only lived in Sunderland between the age of 9 - 18. I was brainwashed as a child to support Sunderland from my mother, after being born in Germany and then living down in southern England for my early years. I had a season ticket while I lived up north, and I’m very tempted to get one again despite the distance.
I got to about 13 games last season and hoping for a similar or better number next season.
I work as a digital marketer and website manager for one of the UK’s biggest equestrian wholesalers, I’m a video editor for TEAMtalk, and run a fairly successful Instagram account on the side.
I love being a part of the RR team and I’m looking forward to seeing how this new exciting expansion will help the site and podcast grow.
Meet... Brett Lyons-Davis!
I’m a 37 year old Sunderland fan born and raised in Milton Keynes.
My first game was back in 1990 - a 1-1 draw away to Watford... somethings never change! I still live down here and have forced Sunderland onto my 6 year old daughter, who went to her first game at home to Portsmouth last season.
I get to as many games as I can, and normally do all the Midlands and London games, going with my dad. I was at Wembley for Swindon, Man City, Portsmouth and most recently Charlton. I was also at Old Trafford when Cantona scored that chip, and was at all three of the home games for the 6 in a row wins over the mags.
I’ve seen us win 7-0 v Oxford, 6-0 v Millwall at Roker and lose 7-2 to Chelsea - so have done just about everything on the spectrum of highs and lows that come with following this club.
Away from Sunderland I’m a big boxing fan, and do the occasional charity bike ride. I’m married to Sam and have two daughters - Millie (6) and Chloe (4).
Meet... Gary Winter!
I’ve been a Sunderland fan for over 20 years and have my father to thank for putting me on this rollercoaster of emotion.
However, I have found the multiple Wembley heartaches, promotion triumphs, miraculous Premier League survivals and relegation despair character-building to say the least.
I grew up with the standard ignorant football torment one might expect supporting Sunderland at school in the south, enduring sarcastic jibes of “glory hunter”, “plastic mackem”, etc. And despite celebrating two consecutive top 7 Premier League finishes (above Spurs), I was still genuinely asked what league we were in.
One of my favourite moments was therefore being at the SoL on the first day of the 2007/08 season when we beat spurs 1-0 in the last minute to go top of the Premier League, but the worst feeling I’ve had was watching two heartbreaking Wembley play-off finals against Charlton 21 years apart with my dad.
I’m feeling privileged to be a apart of Roker Report, and I’m very much looking forward to travelling up for the Pompey game in a few weeks!
Meet... Luke Davies!
I’m Luke, 34 year old from Gloucester with no family history of Sunderland fans or and no background in the North-East!
“So why the hell are you a lads fan?!”, I hear you cry.
Well... during the 97/98 season where, despite not really having a team, I loved the rise of Super Kev who became my favourite player. Then the deal was sealed while following the drama and heartbreak of the 98 playoff final - and the rest is history!
I work in HR/Recruitment, have a little daughter and try and get to a couple of home games and the more local away games. I travelled to Wembley twice last season on my lonesome and completed the nine hour round trip on Good Friday to watch us destroy Donny.
Meet... John Stacey!
Hi - I’m John, a 33-year old Lads fan from Lincoln. I’m actually from Wallsend (cue memes and abuse) but don’t hate me for that. We’ve always been Lads fans and me and my brother certainly have paid our dues by being kicked around park after park in red and white tops!
I’m a former season ticket holder at Roker Park and SOL but travel and real life catches up, so now I get to anywhere between 5-10 home and away matches a season - I watch the rest by paying large sums of money for the terrible online coverage that’s available.
My best moment as a fan so far has to be the entire season we stormed the championship after losing the playoff final to Charlton. What a year that was!
My worst moment was definitely that penno shootout at Wembley as a young lad and seeing such an epic game and extra time then Mickey being one of my favourite players at the time missing. As a young lad that was emotional, but made this last season’s two Wembley losses slightly easier to take.
My favourite player of all time is an odd one - I have a range of players who are up there but I absolutely loved Darius Kubicki, mainly because we used to stand in the main stand underneath the exec boxes and he used to be so close that I used to wince as he crunched tackles in! Top lad - loved Bally’s stories about him on the pod recently!
Meet... James Barron!
I’m James. Although born in the Midlands, my dad was born in Durham to a long line of Sunderland fans and insisted I join them. My first season ticket was Mick Buxton’s last, in which I travelled by myself on the Stoke supporters branch.
I gave up my season ticket the year we came seventh the second time due to family moving to the south coast. My supporting is now limited to watching every game via stream, browsing forums and getting along to the very occasional game - though I consider myself very fortunate to have seen the majority of SuperKev’s games for us live.
Meet... Paul Hunter!
Im Paul, 34 from Sunderland but been exiled in the big smoke for 8 years now. Previously worked for the Foundation of Light on their coaching programmes and spent a good stint coaching in the US prior to that!
Being an exile means can only get to a handful of home games but on the plus side makes it easier to get to away games down south.
I had a season ticket during the Quinn/Phillips era which has to go down as the highlight, what we’d give to have those days back! Lowest moment has to be Charlton ‘98 although that arguably became a blessing in disguise. Hopefully this year is the same!