As soon as the tickets came online, I was there booking tickets for my wife, stepson, and my older brother. It was a nice surprise that next year's season ticket holders could also apply at Phase 1.
I haven’t had a season ticket since I moved to Worcestershire 20 years ago, but since retiring, I’ve been able to get to quite a few home matches recently, which meant purchasing two reasonably priced season tickets for next year was a no brainer.
My stepson has been coming with me, and I’m proud to say has caught the Sunderland bug, despite daily aggro from so-called Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd ‘fans’ at his school, who haven’t been to a game in their lives!
My brother drove to ours from Shrewsbury, and we drove down the M40 to Hillingdon Tube Station listening to the WMS SAFC music Spotify playlist. A 23 min journey to Wembley Park, and we could relax. The sea of red and white, the joy, the unusual hope we felt.
My stepson had already tasted enough downs in his short four-year Sunderland life to make me feel guilty for introducing him to this life path. The short trip to Cheltenham for us perhaps being the worst; losing to a poor team, no manager, no hope. And now this.
Tears of joy, a huge beam on his face that even his mam hadn’t seen before, embracing my eldest brother in disbelief. Together we’d seen every Wembley failure over the years. As you get older, you realise that it isn’t just about 22 players kicking a ball around.
It’s my childhood, The Paddock, The Fullwell, SOL, my teenage years, my student years, it starts to mould itself into who we actually are. It becomes who I am, or at least part of who I am. It’s my history.
Leaving Wembley in the sun, for once not having to listen to the other team’s joy from inside. Memories are made of this.
The big ship has been turned around, and we’re heading back on course. My last season ticket was in a season where the average attendance was 48,000 - bring it on!