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Uruguay v Ecuador - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

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Fans Around The World! An interview with Uruguayan Sunderland fan Alejandro

In a new series, we speak to Sunderland supporters from around the world who have little or no connection to the club or the area. Yes, they CHOSE to be Sunderland supporters! Meet 38-year-old Alejandro from Montevideo, Uruguay, whose love affair with SAFC was sparked when he jumped on board the Gus Bus.

Photo by Sandro Pereyra/LatinContent via Getty Images

RR: First of all – please tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name, how old are you, and where do you come from?

My name is Alejandro and I’m 38 years old. I am a father of two kids, and I live in Montevideo, Uruguay.


RR: Sunderland and Uruguay are at opposite ends of the earth - how did you become a fan of the club?

It all started with Gus Poyet coaching Sunderland. The Great Escape was a real miracle and I remember celebrating the goals versus West Bromwich in the office! Since then I started following the lads but with the purchase of the club by Stewart Donald it was like “fresh air” for all (silly of us!), and that 2018-2019 season I purchased the SAFSee Pass and watched all the games of the season. From that season on I always bought the annual pass and watched the game by streaming. Of course is not the same as being in the stadium, but for us who are so far away it’s really great to be able to stream a game even being in League One! I hope if next season we are in the Championship, the streaming pass would be available as it has been in League One!

FBL-ENG-PR-SUNDERLAND-WEST BROM
Borini’s goal sparked office celebrations for Alejandro
Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol,Ian MacNicol/AFP via Getty Images

RR: Uruguay is a country that lives and breathes football and has a rich history of producing talented players and teams. How important is football to the people?

Football is the main sport of our country and we used to say that every baby in our country is born with a ball under its arms. It is literally that way… We are three million people and it’s incredible with that amount of people how many is playing in a great level abroad.


RR: I was trying to think of Sunderland’s links with Uruguay - we’ve had Sebastian Coates and Gus Poyet, one of our current owners is a Uruguayan businessman and politician! But how aware are the people of Uruguay about Sunderland?

Not much really. As the club is in League One, there are no news about Sunderland in the national newspapers. The last ones to be published were about Sartori as owner and also the rumour about Sunderland wanting to buy a Uruguayan team.

The pre-candidate for the National Party of Uruguay, Juan...
Juan Sartori is a big name in Uruguay
Photo by Mauricio Zina/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

RR: There were rumours that Sunderland’s owner was looking at buying Uruguayan side Club Atlético River Plate, but those rumours have gone quiet... they do play in red and white, however! What did you think when you heard that rumour?

At the beginning I didn’t believe it too much. Our owner was Stewart Donald and we all are aware that he wouldn’t spend any cash in buying a club abroad when he was willing to sell SAFC since the beginning. When the rumours about KLD buying the club started, then it have a bit more sense to think in an international expansion of the group, but I don’t really think it would be in a short term.


RR: What do you love the most about following this club?

The passion. It’s incredible that a club so far away who I never saw playing in real life could awake so many sensations in me. I read and hear a lot from the media outlets and also watching content in YouTube for example, it really transmits the passion that the club means to its people. Sunderland is a massive club and the amount of supporters worldwide – it’s “increyable” as Gus Poyet would say.


RR: What would it mean to you for you to be able to see a Sunderland game in person?

I haven’t being in the SoL, but it will be a dream to be there. Being a father of two small kids and also married, you could imagine it’s not easy to leave for some weeks to see the lads playing in the North East! Haha! I hope in the future I could travel with my family or alone, and make it real!

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One
Alejandro’s looking forward to the day he can visit the SOL
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

RR: How difficult do you find it having to follow the team from so far away?

Not much really. With the streaming pass it’s very easy to watch the games and with Twitter nowadays you have online information of everything it’s happening related to SAFC!


RR: Have you managed to convince any of your friends to become Sunderland supporters too?

Not yet… I think that this it’s my personal sickness, and I love it!


RR: What is your one wish for the football club?

I really wish that the club return to the Premier League in order all of us who suffered these back to back relegations could enjoy and be proud to see the club in the elite of English football. More than anything I think in all those elderly who deserve to see his club being successful. I really hope KLD can give all of us something to cheer about. Ha’way the Lads!

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light
Can Kyril give us something to cheer about? We all hope so!
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
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