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Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy

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Fan Letters: Steve Davison – Why have you let our club become a complete shambles off the field?

The number of emails we’re getting about the horrendous service the club is offering off the field at present is really, really concerning. Something needs to be done – and quickly. Email us:

Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have bought 2x2 tickets for the upcoming Sheffield United and Stoke City away games - I have the rows and seat numbers confirmed. The tickets have still not arrived, bought 10 days and 6 days ago. (Other friends have received their tickets!)

All tickets have gone through on my bank account.

I have written an email with no response. I have phoned the ticket office, but no one is ever there.

How can I possibly travel to these away games without tickets? Time is running out.

Can someone please explain why this has happened as I live in Blackpool and cannot just pop into the Ticket Office.

From a very worried season ticket holder (at present)

David Barnes

Dear Roker Report,

We continue to hear stories of bad customer service in the ticket office and the club shop and I echo these concerns from experience.

If the club cannot afford or cannot recruit staff to man the fort, why don’t they ask for volunteers? I am sure some “retired” fans would respond to any request for unpaid help as they did when the seats needed replacing.

John W

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I like many other Sunderland supporters need to have a moan. We have now four generations who have supported the club through thick and thin. Two seasons ago I reported that one of the hand driers in the ladies' loo was not working. It is still not working, and the loos are a disgrace. Many of them don’t flush properly I travel to some away games and find their ladies' loos in a much better condition than ours.

Please Sunderland, consider and LISTEN to the people who keep the club going, who pay hard-earned money season in and season out!

Moan over, sorry had to get this off my chest.

Sue Melia

Dear Roker Report,

Like the posts I’ve just read, I have emailed the club on several occasions to inform them that due to a glitch in paying for my audio pass last year I ended up paying twice.

I wasn’t worried about a refund just to extend the pass to this season, only to have had no answer at all.

Now I won't be renewing my pass again, so I hope the extra 45 quid last year went to a good cause.


Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg
KLD has a massive problem on his hands here
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have to totally agree with the number of complaints about the SAFC customer support from SOL.

I have also tried to contact via telephone and email communications only to be left frustrated at the lack of contact or communications.

The definition of communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

Unfortunately, the sales team seem to be lacking this concept.

Please correct.

William ( season tickets holder)

Dear Roker Report,

My first trip to Roker Park was in 1950 with my father and grandfather, few fans owned cars and even then the walk of just under two miles was filled with terror and excitement at the sheer number of Ffans walking to the ground. The noise was incredible but the warmth and comradeship was wonderful. Even then I was an exile living with my parents in Norwich. There never seemed to be too much the club could do for the fans and the club was the beating heart of the Town. Grandad made furniture for the captain's cabins and like many men caring for families in the North East he worked all hours God sent and handed over his money to Nan, who managed to feed her family and pay the mortgage - and Grandad worked all hours God and the Yards would give him. What did he get for those years of service? His fags, one pint of beer a week and apart from a loving home, the ticket for the match to watch his beloved team.

Now I say this because looking from afar fundamentally little has changed from the fans point of view in terms of loyalty but with the efflux of time, a multiplicity of owners and managers, the obscene salaries footballers are paid and few deserve, almost every club in Britain has forgotten that a club is only as strong as its support.

We the spending public in Sunderland have remained loyal beyond logic and minimal thanks from the club. Yes, we get an occasional condescending pat on the head but when we need something all too often there is no service or little from the club and its formerly welcoming staff.

Now I am disabled and have to drive about four and a half hours each way, and my carer has to pay to stay with me to help me to watch a game that is of little interest to her. Yes I can pay extra for both of us to go to Black Cats bar, and the club sometimes helps with disabled parking, but if the weather is bad and I have to use a hotel it costs me about £500 to watch a game.

You lose that sense of love and respect from your supporters at your peril. We need to be made to feel welcome by everyone working at the club. We expect to have a service with a smile, or a CHEERY VOICE ON THE PHONE WHEN WE TRY TO BUY A TICKET - or even a parking space.

We exiles spend hours on the internet TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE CLUB.

Sadly the FA gives nothing to supporters - clubs are spending like water on largely useless players and we decided to spend a fortune paying off queues of useless managers... in fact that was why we could not afford decent players.

Forget the fans at our club’s peril because we have one of the most loyal groups of supporters in the game. There is much we could do at little loss to players' incomes that could help give those who paid for this game, but it needs an open mind and gratitude for loyalty.

At the very least we deserve that.

A T Hedley

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your emails, everyone. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents, and it’s now getting to the point that we have to really shout from the rooftops about this as it’s an absolute disgrace. Our inbox is full of people who are experiencing exactly the same scenarios, and responsibility lies with KLD and more directly Steve Davison. It’s clear Davison’s not doing his job as all of this stuff is very, very easily fixed. It’s downright incompetent, and if he can’t rectify it quickly he surely needs replaced by someone who can.

We’ll be publishing more on this over the coming days as it’s reached tipping point now. These aren’t isolated incidents – the off-the-field side of the club is an absolute shambles.

It’s a real shame with things going well on the field that we’re having to be critical - we’d much rather be positive all the time – but when stuff like this is going on it cannot be ignored. It’s amateur, it’s pathetic, and it’s going to turn people away.

Dear Roker Report,

I would like to highlight the lack of policing and lighting, behind the Beacon of Light where the away supporters coaches are parked.

We walk this way to and from every home game, the lack of policing is very worrying, for example after the Coventry game, there were 3 police officers spaced about 100 yards apart, the potential for trouble between rival supporters is huge.

The lighting is not a problem at the moment, but once the summer is over and the dark nights are here, when walking down this route people are resorting to using their phones to light the way as it's pitch dark.

My friend has taken up the issue with RAWA but gets nothing but negativity in reply. I fear that it will take a serious incident with people getting hurt before anything is done, it seems to fit in with the general feeling of a lack of care when it comes to looking after the supporters.

Shaun Roberts

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for getting in touch Shaun, and yep, it’s another problem to add to the long, long list. The most disappointing aspect of your email is the negativity received from RAWA. I don’t understand why this would be the case. They are supposed to be the voice of the fans, and have direct contact and dialogue with the club, but as you can see from the minutes they produce after every meeting they rarely challenge the club or hold them to account. We need better.

Dear Roker Report,

I write having just heard that the QPR game will be unavailable on SAFsee tomorrow for international subscribers, due to its having been stolen for ‘international’ viewers. This has made me very angry, and raises the following points:

• I am an international viewer, so why can’t I watch the game, having paid my subscription?

• How many more games are going to be stolen? This is the second consecutive home game.

• What criteria are used in deciding which games to steal? If it is because we are doing well, why are we being penalised for the success of the team?

• Are we going to be refunded for these stolen games?

Very disappointed.

Jonathan Cresswell

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks Jonathan – however I think this is one the club can’t be held accountable for. When the passes went on sale it clearly stated that games that were chosen for broadcast internationally wouldn’t be available on SAFSEE – they’re not allowed to. This has always been the case. We’ll have more games broadcast live this season – that’s why the international pass was a decent amount cheaper this time round than it was last. Sunderland don’t have a say in which games get chosen, that’s the international broadcasters’ call, but if a game is being broadcast live a club can’t stream it, under the broadcasting agreement. It’s frustrating, yes, but it will be on a sports channel wherever you live.

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