Andrew Smithson says...
My message to the Lads is simple: do exactly what you have been doing for the last few weeks!
Our application has been spot on recently, and now is not the time for uncontrolled emotion. Instead, we need to maintain our composure on the pitch, and stick to the plan, no matter how tough the game is.
Wycombe Wanderers have already started acting up, and the media will be trying to turn the story and drive the narrative, so everybody connected with Sunderland- players, coaches and fans alike- would do well to stay focused and back each other.
This season, we have averaged home crowds of 30,000, and have sold out away ends up and down the country. If the players don’t understand how important promotion is to the club and its fans by now, they never will, but they can rest assured that the supporters will bring the noise and passion, as long as they bring the effort.
Get the job done and they will be remembered here for years to come.
I think we will finally do it this time. Ha’way the Lads!
Kelvin Beattie says...
Alex Neil is doing a fine job of motivating this team, so my message is to all the fans going to Wembley.
Think William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King.
My fellow supporters, I stand before you, a humbled Sunderland fan and veteran (in many people’s eyes) of many campaigns since 1966.
Whether you have been supporting the club for fifty eight years, or fifty eight months, I care not. I salute you as my brothers and sisters, united in the often-forlorn cause that is supporting Sunderland.
On the 21st of May, we are tasked with a privilege and a unique honour. We are to descend on the national stadium and support the Lads in the League One playoff final.
It is a heavy burden that we carry, and nobody could say that maintaining our belief, hope and support for Sunderland AFC over the past five years has been easy.
I salute each and every one of you for making it this far.
This is not going to be a chance to feel a sense of entitlement, or to carry grievances for opportunities lost during recent seasons. It is also not an event during which we will sit on our hands and keep our voices quiet until we are somehow rewarded for simply being there.
Together, we can ensure that the story will be one of humour and goodwill, of dancing and singing, tomfoolery and good-natured carry on.
In 1985, Sunderland fans flocked to Wembley in their red and white masses. On that day, they not only rocked the stadium and everyone inside it with their cacophony, but the surrounding neighbourhoods, too.
Hopefully, the memories of the 21st of May will be of the wall of noise we made in support of our team, as we match and surpass our efforts of 1985.
Those of us fortunate enough to be at this game undoubtedly carry the torch - not on our mobile phones, but in our hearts and souls for the many that have gone before us.
With that in mind, let’s raise the roof with the ‘Roker Roar’ and tap into the spirit of 1937 and 1973. Let us recall the noise that scared Blanchflower and the first double-winning Spurs team. Let us capture the spirit of Buchan and Gurney, of Carter and Shack, of Hurley and Monty, and so many other great names from our club’s past.
Many years from now, when asked about this day, I will say, ‘Yes I was there, I was part of the Roker Roar and part of something really special. I was proud to stand alongside my fellow fans and lose my voice as we stood firmly behind our team, our boys, our lads’.
Travel well, everyone. Enjoy the occasion, go to Wembley, and do your job.
‘Til the end.
Phil West says…
My message to the players would be phrased thus: finish the job, do yourselves proud, and give absolutely everything you have in order to succeed where those who preceded you failed. You are one game away from ending a four-year exile from the second tier. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.
Every one of those fans who will roar you on today would swap places with you in a heartbeat. You are living the dreams of Sunderland supporters young and old, and that is something that you should never, ever take for granted.
That badge on your chest is not merely a club crest: it represents so much more. Heritage, tradition, and the legacy of the great players who’ve worn it with distinction over the years. If you can do the job and achieve promotion, you will be remembered as the Sunderland team that finally lifted this club back into the second tier of English football.
Winning today gives you a chance to play football at a higher level, to visit great stadiums, to test yourself against teams of a higher calibre, and to play in front of packed crowds every week.
It has been a challenging season for us all, but to get to this final, you have stood strong, have faced the challenges of our opponents, and passed all of them. This is another one, but you are capable of rising to the task and showing Wycombe, and the wider footballing community, what representing this club is all about.
As you walk down that tunnel and onto the pitch, savour every moment, because you never know if this chance will come your way again. When you walk off at the end of the game, do so with no regrets, having emptied the tank, and in the knowledge that you gave every ounce of energy for the cause.
One more game. One more hurdle to overcome. It’s time to deliver.