Roker Report: First of all – please tell us a bit about yourself...
Igor Ferreira: My name is Igor Ferreira, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte.
RR: How come Sunderland became your team, then?
Igor: I started to get involved with Sunderland around the 2011/12 season, when Sunderland was in the Premier League and access to the games was much easier, and as time went by I became enchanted by the red team from Wearside.
But the game where I actually became a fan of was in 2013, the Sunderland-Chelsea match in the League Cup in which the Black Cats won 2-1 with a goal by Ki Sung-Yeung in overtime.
RR: Brazil has such a rich history in the sport - the Brazilians play football with such love and passion, and that’s why the Brazilian brand of football has been so popular with football fans universally for so many years. Why do you think the Brazilian people have such a passion for the game? What does football mean to the people of your country?
Igor: Football means a lot to us, it’s even difficult to explain this feeling, but it’s something that comes from within, an extraordinary and inexplicable feeling that makes us have this fame.
RR: Sunderland, unfortunately, haven’t had too many Brazilians on our books - I can only really think of Emerson Thome, who was a fantastic player! [Ed: don’t forget Bica!] Why do you think we haven’t seen that many Brazilian players here at the club over the years?
Igor: I would say it’s something by chance, unfortunately Sunderland didn’t get many Brazilian players, but I think that’s changing, especially as Sunderland recently signed Frederik Alves who, despite being born in Denmark, has Brazilian origins thanks to his mother. I could not forget that he has already played in the youth categories of Coritiba FC, a Brazilian team.
RR: Which club in Brazil would you say is the most alike Sunderland?
Igor: Each club in Brazil has an aspect similar to Sunderland, great teams like Flamengo, Grêmio, Palmeiras, São Paulo among others. But what gets the greatest similarity is Cruzeiro EC, which is one of the biggest teams in Brazil. Cruzeiro, for you to have an idea, has already played the World Cup final with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but has been going through difficult times and ended up being demoted to the lower division.
RR: What is it that you love the most about Sunderland?
Igor: Without a doubt, what I love the most is the Stadium of Light, which since watching it on TV seems to me to be something sacred and phenomenal for the reason that fans are so excited to sing the anthems and jump around behind the goal. Another point that stands out to me is the statue of Bob Stokoe.
RR: What would it mean to you for you to be able to see a Sunderland game in person?
Igor: Visiting the Stadium of Light would mean a lot to me, even more for cheering for this team since I was 13 years old, it’s a child’s dream. Contemplating this stadium with the naked eye would be a very exciting day, meeting this incredible crowd would simply be the best day of my life.
RR: What’s it like supporting Sunderland from so far away?
Igor: Supporting Sunderland from afar is a bit distressing as I know I could be there and supporting them, but I’m sure that day will still come. Meanwhile I always try to send positive energy to the guys.
RR: Have you managed to convince any of your friends to become Sunderland supporters too? Are there many Sunderland supporters in Brazil that you know of?
Igor: After the series on Netflix I made my brother develop an affection for the club, and nowadays I say that I have a partner at home when there is Sunderland on the field, the club is passing from generation to generation. In Brazil, Sunderland has one of the biggest fans when it comes to clubs in England, especially after the series on Netflix, in which Brazilian fans identified themselves quite by the fact that they are passionate fans and who love the club intensely.
RR: What is your one wish for the football club?
Igor: My wish is that from now on with Louis-Dreyfus we have financial stability, and that we return to the elite of English football, not least because a team the size of Sunderland always deserves the best and can never be content with little.