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Fan Letters: What do we think about needing vaccine passports to get into Sunderland games?

In today’s Fan Letters, RR reader Charlie has some strong views on requiring vaccine passports to attend games; Allen wonders if we can offload Grigg onto Wigan; and Stuart is sick of crap customer service at Sunderland’s ticket office. Email us with your views:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Roker Report is one of my most frequently visited websites.

Congratulations on such a good site.

While you never get political, there is something about to happen which affects every supporter who attends live games and I think it, therefore, needs to be raised - the government’s proposal to deny access to football grounds for everybody without a ‘vaccine passport’. I regard it as a totally unacceptable removal of basic rights. It is sinister in the extreme because they will not let people into a stadium with a negative test, only a vaccine passport.

I believe this is the beginning of far bigger removals of our freedoms. I have written to Steve Davison at SAFC about this. I have attached a copy of my letter. I am hoping all football clubs will refuse to do this to their supporters and I have asked him to ask all clubs to unite against this medical apartheid.

I am hoping you will post a copy of this letter on your site and ask your readers what they think and if those who agree with me will do something similar. I have no idea about your thoughts on this but if you agree with me, I am hoping you will suggest something similar at all the club fanzines you have contact with. This could be a real grass roots push back against this discriminatory authoritarianism.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images


Dear Mr Davison,

I write in response to the Government’s proposed decree on allowing only double-vaccinated people in to football stadiums. I am sure the extra work and cost this would involve for your organisation is something you could do without, but you may feel compelled to comply.

I am appalled that our Government would introduce such draconian medical apartheid. It is clearly driven by an ulterior motive. If it was about preventing the spread of viral infection, they would allow people to attend with a recent negative test. If you do not have the disease, you cannot spread it to anyone else. The Government do not allow that because they want everybody to have a ‘vaccine passport’, which will quickly develop into a full-blown digital identity. They have just announced a plan to do away with cash and replace it with a digital currency. I guarantee you that if the government get their way you will have no access to your money unless you comply with every diktat, and injection, they insist upon. This is a line in the sand for our basic human rights and those of our children.

I have been a Sunderland supporter for over 50 years and a season ticket holder for the last 20 years. I greatly missed not being able to watch last season’s games. I am looking forward to this season, but I will not be attending the Stadium of Light if you only allow access via the production of private and personal medical records.

What will you do about all your young supporters? These people do not need to be vaccinated because Covid19 poses no serious threat to their health. Will you force them to have an injection which does not finish it’s clinical trials until 2023?

Nightclub owners are in a similar position and have collectively agreed to sue the Government if this suggestion becomes law. I would like to suggest that all football league clubs join together and, as one, refuse to be part of this unnecessary, authoritarian discrimination. It is the thin end of an utterly dystopian wedge. Football clubs have the standing in the community and the media coverage to stand up against this injustice, while individuals have no hope of being heard. I am a retired health professional, a Pharmacist, and I ensure you the response to Covid19 does not make medical sense.

Please make the effort to get all Football League clubs to refuse to make their supporters ‘show your papers’ to watch a match. Millions of us are depending on you to preserve our basic freedoms.

Charlie Spedding

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Yet another of our players is wanted by Wigan, but I have a suggestion: why not do a BOGOFF deal with them? If they take Wright then Grigg has to go as part of the deal.

You buy one, you get one FREE.

Allen Roberts

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I like your thinking, but it’s not that easy! I think Grigg will get himself a new club, but it’ll probably not happen until the last day of the window.

I can see the last few days of August being hectic.

Right now, the transfer market is pretty slow.

Stoke City v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I read with interest comments on the importance of a fully functioning ticket office manned by human beings to who customers can talk to. Electronic ticketing systems may save money in the short term but in an industry that is dependent upon good communications with its customers, it can become counterproductive.

In my own case I paid for the renewal of my granddaughter’s season card by cheque, which the club cashed, but have had no acknowledgment that her ticket has been renewed. All attempts to get a response by telephone have failed, also emails have not been responded to. As a paying customer since 1970 is it too much to expect that I can speak to a human being?

Should any of your correspondents have knowledge of a telephone number which us long suffering supporters can use to speak to a real person, I’d be delighted to hear about it.

Keep up the good work.

Stuart Anderson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Clearly the ticket office and club shop are woefully understaffed, and the reasons for why they’ve leaned towards moving operations online isn’t really established. The problem I have with all of this is that it leaves behind a generation of people who may not be as technologically equipped as others - people who for their whole lives haven’t had to rely on a smartphone or PC when requiring customer service assistance.

It’s the same with the kiosks going cashless - it’s not really a massive inconvenience for me, but it will be for some, and that’s not great.

I’ve sent you an email with some contacts that may be able to help. Hope you get sorted.

Sunderland AFC Ladies v Chelsea Ladies FC : WSL 1 Photo by Lynne Cameron - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

We’ve gotta get out of this league - yes we have...

But, I like the wisdom and understanding of our 24-year-old owner, who keeps making appointments to the club. Most are none business-minded people, who know little about financing a football club.

So the pandemic has hit football clubs in both the Championship and League One hard.

It is already costing money, and money has not been coming back.

My season ticket cost me ten quid because I paid for last year’s.

So even this year with fans, not that much is coming in... Sunderland's greatest assets are the ground (thanks to Bob), the Academy grounds, and the huge support.

But the way the team beat Hearts and Harrogate... Is this the new Sunderland?

When Lee Johnson said after putting two midfielders in as full backs (okay against poorer opposition) he knew they could handle the ball well, and mentioned total football.

If we have footballers in every position and we have fitter faster young players who press and look for forward passes, and take people on with a bit of pace, it bodes well, but time will tell.

When we play Wigan we will then have an idea, because these players have had a good pre-season. It would be great to wallop them!

Norman Longstaff


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