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Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “Seeing local lads playing with pride and passion is amazing!”

A rallying cry after our first league defeat, concerns about the lack of beverage discounts, and a query about flaws within the season ticket renewal system are in the RR mailbox today. Got something to say? RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

So, midweek brought our first league defeat since stepping back up to the Championship, and there are already some dissenting voices on Twitter.

People need to realise that we are going to lose games at this level, and we all need to get behind the team this season.

It’s amazing to see so many local lads playing with pride and giving 100%, and it really takes me back to years gone by at Roker Park, where 100% effort was a given, even if the skills on display didn’t quite match that.

I’m predicting that we will stay up this season.

However, it will most likely be a lower half finish if we don’t strengthen the squad, but I plan on enjoying it all anyway, and getting to the game every week again is brilliant.

Haway the lads!

Ken Tuck.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of our game against Sheffield United. It was a proper Championship encounter, and although we fell short in the end, we competed well for the majority of the match, and that is encouraging.

After four years in League One, it is a relief to see good quality football being played once again, and to be looking forward to games instead of feeling a lack of excitement in the build-up to games.

As you rightly say, the fact that we have plenty of local lads in the team is a huge positive as well.

Long may it continue.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

An ongoing problem we have is that fact that season card holders were promised a discount on beverages purchased on the concourse, but this is still not available.

I know it’s trivial compared to the ongoing ticket situation, but every little bit helps families on lower incomes.

George Barker.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: I do agree that the discount on drinks that is included with the season card is a nice bonus, and hopefully it will be sorted sooner rather than later.

This week, it has been obvious that the club has finally listened to the fans on issues such as ticketing, and the next step is for them to take action to rectify all of the issues that people have been facing.

Sunderland v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

We have had the same three seats since the stadium opened, and originally, there was my father, my son and myself.

As you are aware, in those days you were sent renewal packs when the time came, and there was never a problem.

My father passed away in 2004, and my daughter, who was ten years old at the time, took over the seat. At some point, I set up our accounts on the SAFC system, but she did not have an email account and it would not let me register her with my email address, as it said it was already registered in my name.

Eventually, I set up my daughter’s account using my wife’s email address. This was never an issue as any emails I received a copy of anyway, and I set all three to ‘automatic renew’.

This was never a problem until now.

During the pandemic, my son and I watched the streaming of the games through our season tickets. We could have done it cheaper on a match-by-match basis, but blind loyalty and support of the club in difficult times prevailed, whereas my daughter didn’t due to the fact that she was looking after my three-year-old grandson.

Last season, all three tickets were renewed, and my daughter’s with the rebate from season 2020/21. This season, only the seats belonging to myself and my son have renewed automatically and hers was not, a fact I wasn’t aware of until it was too late and her seat was sold. This was due to the aforementioned rebate arrangement and the club saying that they had cancelled the direct debit setup.

My wife retired during Covid, and she only accesses her email account when she is expecting something. This meant that any emails were missed, and as I was under the impression that the seats were being automatically renewed, I was not expecting any. You could say this was a bit naive in hindsight, but I feel that these were exceptional times and putting notices on websites or in emails can easily be missed.

I have since spoken with an awful lot of fellow supporters who have had the same experience.

The latest group previously had six seats in the South Stand. Two of them renewed automatically, and four didn’t, so they had to relocate to the North Stand. I know this is the digital age, but unfortunately there is no guarantee or way of knowing that an email has been received or seen.

I say again these have been exceptional times, and as a result I would think we would have at least been deserving of a further grace period after the deadline was missed with a letter. This would ensure contact was made, and would provide an explanation that the seat would be sold if not secured during this extension.

Surely someone has the gumption to realise that when so many long-standing seats are not being renewed, there is a problem or misunderstanding.

P.S: The direct debit arrangement has not been cancelled with the bank.

Regards,

Tom Wade.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: It is clear that the ticketing system itself is flawed, and that longstanding supporters are being left in the dark as to what the exact status of their seat is.

With any luck, the club’s acknowledgement that standards have not been met will be the start of a renewed effort to provide a better level of customer service. Every fan deserves clarity on such issues, and the club must work hard to ensure that is the case.

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