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Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “Now I believe SAFC has lost my grandson” says a despairing Sunderland fan!

More customer service woes from loyal Sunderland supporters, and it’s no laughing matter. Will the club do anything to sort out these issues?

It’s not funny, Juan.
| Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am really hoping you print this as I am certain I am not alone with these thoughts and frustrations regarding SAFC.

I have supported this club for just over 50 years, and I have been a season ticket holder for the majority of those years (money permitting at times). I currently have a seat in the West Stand and my 8 year old Grandson wanted to sit by me against Coventry.

However, try as I might, I could not get through on the phone. I e-mailed four times with not one reply and I went up to the Ticket Office on two separate occasions only to find it closed. In the end I had to give up the ghost. I tried again for the little guy on Thursday gone and we went up to get him a ticket just after 10am. The queue was simply horrendous.

By 11am in soaring heat I had taken enough. The queue had genuinely hardly moved. Enough was enough.

Now I believe SAFC has lost my Grandson as his Dad supports those up the road and he is persuading the bairn to go to a game with him. Well done SAFC.

Does anyone up there actually care about these things? Someone somewhere is responsible for this farce and they should be immediately sacked. No iffs and buts, it is atrocious customer care.

In fact, I am so furious I am not going back again this season. I cannot stand the thought of my Grandson up the road wearing black and white when he should have been with us. I imaging the club are losing loads of ticket revenue through their incompetence.

They will say they cannot get staff but if they lifted the hourly rate an extra £1-£2, then they would get the staff and they would easily cover their wages with the extra money from tickets as fans then get through the queues.

Please put this online as I need them to know just what is happening out there. It is just not good enough and it needs putting right now. Until it is sorted, I will not set foot near the club again, and I bet I am not alone.

Thank you.


Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for your letter, Pip. It’s so sad to hear that a young fan may be lost to the club because they seemingly cannot get the behind-the-scenes stuff right. It’s almost like they don’t want to take our money at the minute. We all see that the labour market pressures across the economy are unprecedented right now, but we also see little or no public effort to address the customer service situation at the club beyond a reliance on the ever-helpful Chris Waters to try to plug the gaps in the rest of the operation.

Communication is poor or non-existent, and it’s simply not good enough. One wonders what Steve Davison, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Juan Sartori are doing day-to-day to improve the experience of supporters.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship
It’s getting beyond a joke, Kyril
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have been trying to contact Sunderland since before the season started. I have sent emails to every department I could. I want to pay for my husband to park in the stadium car park as he had recently had a heart attack and finds the walk from parking hard. He is happy to pay £10 per match as a season ticket holder but can’t get a response as to how to do this.

It is shameful that they do not respond to emails as they will not answer any phones and tell you the best way to contact them is email.

I am at a loss as to who can help.

Julie Winn

Ed’s Note [Rich]: I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s illness and it’s simply not good enough that someone with health needs is unable to access the Stadium car parking. We’re at a bit of a loss as to what do to, too, Julie.

Chris Waters, the Supporter Liaison Officer, is always very helpful, but he’s just one man trying to solve the various issues being experienced by a large number of fans right now.

The Supporters Collective groups - the Red & White Army, BLC, Senior Supporters Association, etc, keep asking the same questions in meetings with the club and little to nothing ever changes.

Whilst the footballing side of the club appears in fantastic shape, the commercial operation and communication is clearly an absolute shambles. It’s time that KLD got a proper grip on the situation and that the people responsible for running the business side of the club were held properly accountable for these failings.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Play Off - Final - Wembley Stadium
Our fans deserve better.
Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Totally agree with you on the crass BBC decision to drop the Sports Report reading of the football results.

I know I am getting on but I can’t be the only fan in the country who remembers dashing from a game to get back to the car/coach to catch these to check on rivals and others.

The offered reason is that they can’t cope with the results and then a 5.30pm game.

Is it not behind the brains in charge of the Beeb to have the results, followed by a 20-minute or so review of the day’s sport? They could then follow the commentary game with a review of the day's sports, footie included. Personally, I would gladly see the back of the Robbie Savage’s footie whinge to make room.

Perhaps we can harness customer power? If fanzines can get together and organise a Radio 5 switch-off (possibly straight after the last results) we can persuade the BBC to change their minds!

Perhaps RR can use their contacts to start a campaign?

Andrew Bailey

Ed’s Note [Gav]: To be fair this has received a fair bit of negative press coverage since it was announced, and at least with the BBC there’s a way to lodge your complaints properly - which you can do here.


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