As an aside from the usual chaos that currently stifles Sunderland, every now and again we get nice emails from nice (I’m assuming so anyway) people about nice things... and this was one of them.
Derek is founder of Sons of Liberty, formed in March 2019, a Sunderland supporters’ branch based all the way across the Atlantic in the U.S of A.
Sons of Liberty are made up of both long-suffering expats and US nationals. For the expats, their journey to supporting Sunderland is simple - born in or near Sunderland, these poor souls were subjected to, and then indoctrinated into, the Sunderland faithful before their various paths took them to the “land of the free”.
According to ‘Degsy’, a majority of Sons of Liberty is actually made up of US nationals. This means - bewilderingly - that these wonderful/insane (delete as appropriate) people took in all the Premier League coverage available in the USA, including just about every 3PM kick off, as well as the popular Championship matches of the day and said “no, give me some of that shite over there” while gleefully pointing towards Sunderland.
If this wasn’t punishment enough, these hardy souls now spend their weekends, waking at various hours to intensely source streams (or brave the club’s hit-and-miss SAFSee) to watch us play teams from places these lovely souls didn’t know existed a few months ago.
So why Sunderland? Well, thankfully for me, Degsy did the research so I didn’t have to. What he stumbled on though is uncanny. His fellow SOL members shared the same themes as those who are born and bred here - the passion of the fans, the history of the club and city entwined, the community the fans create. A credit then, must go to not only the fans far and wide, but also to the groups, branches and other associations who keep the spirit of Sunderland alive across the globe. We’re a bloody special bunch as it goes.
Sons of Liberty then isn’t just a little club where fans get together just to get out the house (much like us Roker Report lot and our alleged love of Warhammer), but is a fanbase in itself. The combination of expats, still living and breathing their home club from thousands of miles away entwines perfectly with the enthusiasm of the locals, allowing them to be part of what is a very special supporters group.
For those across the pond, suffering in silence and shame, Sons of Liberty operate from 14 different locations, so your suffering need not be alone no more.
Worried about authenticity? You need not worry, SoL are also recognised by both Sunderland AFC and Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association as an official supporters group.
And to make things all the more realistic, what can be more authentic than having a first Annual Independence Celebration in Fort Lauderdale, FL between March 13-15, 2020. In some now famous Sunderland words, “I think it’s time to get puh-isssed, kna what I mean?”
If you find yourself across the pond, reading this thinking “hey, that sounds like a bit of me?” then by all means feel free to contact and engage with Degsy and his wonderful band of supporters through the following means: