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Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light

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Fan Letters: Some Sunderland fans can’t to get into the ground due to ticketing issues!

Another set of pretty alarming emails relating to ticketing and season cards, with praise for those members of staff who really do care. Email us:

Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I know you’re printing many stories about the customer service issue. Please, please print this.

Myself and my now 14 year old son have had a season ticket in the east stand and a car parking bay and have done so for a number of years. Through thick and thin?

1st game of the season comes and our season cards wouldn’t allow us to enter the ground, kindly a steward said this has been happening all day and allowed us in. She told us to contact the ticket office during the following week.

I live a 50 odd round mile trip away so many phone calls to the ticket office and emails to the club that went unanswered later brought us to the QPR game.

We arrived early hoping our cards would work. They didn’t.

Upon speaking to a steward she told us to go to gate 9/10 and they’d sort us out.

Off we trotted to the other side the stadium to be given 2 options. None acceptable in my book

1- go to the ticket office

2- give them my season cards and they will give me a ticket for this game in the concourse and over the next couple of weeks someone will call me and sort my season card out!

Option 2 might sound okay, but we both didn’t want to sit in the concourse - we wanted the seats we’ve sat in for years amongst our peers but more importantly, I had no confidence in handing over my card for Sunderland to sort out.

What happens if I don’t get a phone call from them? How do I contact them when you can’t get through on the phone or no response by email?

I took the 1st option after much debate with stewards and their supervisors (I did point out to them I appreciated it wasn’t their fault but the clubs even though the veins in my head were popping out at this point with anger).

I went and stood in the ticket office queue. After 15 minutes of no movement, we both decided it was probably better we drive home.

We missed the match.

We couldn’t even get it on the radio on the way home as the mags were on Radio Newcastle.

To top it off, it was my birthday as well!

Thanks, Sunderland, for spoiling it!

You’ve spoilt many weekends for me over the 36 years I’ve supported you and now you spoilt my birthday.

My current thoughts are I don’t want to go again, I feel like burning my cards, they not worth the chew!

I’d love to know who actually is in charge of running the show behind the scenes because clearly they are beyond their depth.

I’d love a chat with the owner on how to improve from a supporter's view.

We seem to be getting it right on the pitch, but so wrong off it.

Matthew Welsh

Dear Roker Report,

I purchased tickets for the Stoke game on the 1st of August - I got confirmation that I will be sent tickets via mail. They took money out of my bank account on the 2nd of August but I still have not received my tickets.

I went over to the ticket office on the 12th of August where I had a wait of 1 and a half hour just to told they were in the process of being sent out. I have ordered tickets before online and had no problem with tickets arriving a day after ordering them, so I am really worried about not receiving these tickets before the Stoke game.

I have tried to email club before but without success, so think would be wasting my time doing so.

Jean Simmons

Dear Roker Report,

So I purchased mine and my dad’s season tickets straight after the Wembley win.

I received mine 2 weeks before Coventry game. Dad’s did not arrive - bearing in mind I ordered them and paid for them at the same time. On my credit card. Week before I tried to contact the club. Phone lines have been turned off. Please don't get me started on that. That’s what I was told when I did eventually speak to someone. When they rang me for away payment.

They assured me we would receive it. 2 days before the Coventry game. No season card. So yet again I emailed the ticket office as its the only way of getting hold of someone. They said they would send me an e-ticket for my dad.

Luckily I’m clued up on this. My dad is 71, doesn’t own a computer device, have an email address or have a phone that can access such things. Again don’t get me started on the blatant discrimination of a generation.

We went to the game.

Monday before the QPR game I emailed the ticket office and copied Chris Waters in explaining we had still not received it. We got it 2 days later.

Great I thought. At last.

So yesterday's game. Dad tries getting into the ground. Season card wouldn’t work. I tried mine I got in. Dad tried his again. Nope. Well, you can only imagine my frustration at this point and my dad’s who suffers with high blood pressure. He was informed to go to turnstile 9/10. Which he did. Kick off came. No dad. So I set off looking for him.

Spoke to a really lovely steward called Louisa. We were told he would have been given a ticket for the Premier concourse and his season card would have been taken off him. So she took me through main reception and up in the lift to the Premier concourse. Searched for dad. No dad. At this point, I’m starting to panic as he needs to be sat with me. I was told to go back to my seat as he may be there. Nope. I rang my mum who was in Seaburn and asked if she had heard from dad. Nope. He doesn’t have his phone as he is with me. I started to get really concerned. It was 3.30pm at this time. 3.40pm. I get a phone call from mum. Dad is with her.

He informed me that the stewards at turnstile 9/10 wouldn’t let him in. He was told to go to the ticket office which he did along with 250 other fans who was been treated the same. Dad says there was 1 person in the ticket office and the queue was ridiculous. He gave it up as a bad job and left.

65 years my dad has supported Sunderland football club. We live in Pontefract in West Yorkshire so a home game to us is a 100-mile journey there.

I run the West Yorkshire branch and I have to say the ticket office is now a standing joke. In fact the whole club is. We are a Championship side with conference facilities and infrastructure.

The BLC need to now get involved and Chris Waters now needs to start earning his wages.

I contacted Chris Waters during the game whom said dad should have been given a ticket to the Premier Concourse. He said he would speak to the ticket office and security manager on Monday. Too late mate. Nobody treats my 71 year old dad like this. I’ve made it clear I want a conversation with the chief executive or I’m going to the press and I will speak to the legal team where I work for advice.

The club is a joke, and they don’t deserve the loyal fan base.

Paula Smith

West Yorkshire branch

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have asked multiple times about stadium tours - my replies were “don’t worry they will be available when the new season kicks off.”

I have been checking every day and they still faded out on the website, so I have emailed again and got this response:

Hi Ben,

Stadium tours haven’t restarted yet. Info will be on the website when they resume.

Think it’s shocking - every other club is doing it.

The only thing my 7-year-old son has asked for is a stadium tour for his birthday in September. I will keep checking every day as I don’t want to let him down.

Kind regards

Ben Ridley

Dear Roker Report,

This is another one for Steve Davison to consider. I have been a season ticket holder since 1987 and have always paid for my season ticket in full through my business account until I retired last year, and therefore closed my business account and had to set up payment through my current account.

I contacted the club with my new account details and it was suggested by them that I take the direct debit option as the card renews automatically every year so they took my details and told me it was all set up.

However, after noticing they had not taken any payments I tried umpteen times to contact the club, when I finally got through by email I was informed that as I usually paid outright and hadn’t this year - my seat had gone and it would cost me £65 more to move to a new seat away from my friends.

The club did not reply to several emails so I gave up… fuming.

Jeff Rippon

Sunderland v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

About 15 years ago my uncle had been a season ticket holder since 1932. I asked if the club could do anything to mark the occasion and they refused.

I knew someone who worked for local radio and they got him a day with the team. And they call themselves the caring club.

Alan Goldman

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks to everyone who has written in to set out the multiple issues that they’re experiencing with the customer service and ticketing side of Sunderland AFC right now.

Outside of ensuring we have good players and coaches and great facilities and staff on the football side of the club, this should be the primary task of the whole of the club’s board and our owners and Chief Operating Officer.

Loyal supporters are literally unable to get into the Stadium of Light. That’s diabolical. These are our supporters, who’ve done their part of the bargain. Our fans are turning up in big numbers, they’re putting their money in. Even when times are tough, they’re doing their bit.

The fact that these problems are nothing new and that the club are basically silent on the matter beyond platitudes issued via the Supporters Collective is perhaps the most worrying aspect of it all.

KLD and Juan Sartori bring their families and their mates to the Lads games, but it must be that they are back off on their private jets to the south of France as soon as the final whistle blows because there seems to be absolutely no leadership whatsoever on these critical matters.

It really is time that our representative groups - RAWA and the BLC - got together and demanded immediate action on all of these matters, demand that supporters impacted by their mistakes are properly compensated, and refuse to be fobbed off with excuses, future promises or half measures.

It’s way, way beyond a joke.

Dear Roker Report,

After reading lots of justified criticism regarding customer service on here recently I just want to flag up a bit of positivity. We missed the first home game due to me catching Covid.

My eldest granddaughter buys a program for every home game from her usual seller, the guy who stands opposite the swimming pool cafe. We mentioned to him yesterday she’d missed out on the Coventry edition and he got on his phone and five minutes later one of his colleagues turned up with a copy.

Thanks very much to the pair of you. It made her day

B Welsh

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have read all of the complaints about issues with ticketing and can fully sympathise with this as I’ve struggled to get a response via email and the phone lines aren’t operational.

I do think the ticket office needs to be open outside of people's work hours as it’s difficult to get there with work commitments.

With all of that said I was able to get season cards sorted at the ticket office today and would say that the service received on the day was fantastic and I’m still buzzing for the rest of the season.

I went down half an hour before the ticket office opened today and the queues weren’t too bad at all and all got sorted quickly and efficiently.

Ha’way the lads

Ken Tuck

Ed’s Note: Thanks for your letters, B and Ken. It’s heartening to know that there are glimmers of light amongst the deluge of miserable emails we’ve been receiving recently.

Nobody doubts that those front-line staff in the ticket office and on matchdays do an amazing job. They’re very often supporters themselves and are the heart of what still makes this a community club.

The fact that programme sellers, stewards and ticket staff are probably amongst the lowest paid and hardest working of all of the employees of Sunderland AFC is also telling.

They understand what it is like to be a working person that follows our beloved club and go out of their way to help their comrades. I just wish the people on the board had that same drive to make supporters’ experiences better.


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