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Fan Letters: “The service I received was nothing short of disgusting” - more ticket office fume!

“There was no understanding whatsoever that this issue is not my fault and I was ushered out of the ticket office like a second class citizen” — RR reader Ryan shares a story of his recent visit to Sunderland’s ticket office. Got something to say? Email us:

Sunderland AFC

Dear Roker Report,

It seems that there’s some doom and gloom around the club at the moment. I don’t hear many good words said about our new Head Coach but his track record in coaching (as opposed to his track record in management) seems to be pretty good. I’ve heard loads of moans and groans about the ticket allocation for the match against the barcodes, but this seems a fair allocation - especially when they could have pushed for 15%. And I’m not sure what else the club could have done in order to sell thousands of tickets safely to opposition fans than move some of our supporters. We get a sell-out gate, an amazing atmosphere and to show the world what a well-run club looks like. It’s our time to shine. And to shine a light on the murderous regime that is using our rivals as their sportswashing tool.

From Steve in Washington

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I have absolutely nothing to base this opinion on but I think the club have chosen profit over their own fans on this occasion, which is why it doesn’t sit right. They’ve seen an opportunity to make a lot of money at a time where it will boost the coffers for January I’d imagine, and they’ve taken it. It seems Newcastle have stumped up for the policing bill and it wouldn’t shock me if the club have gotten a kick back for facilitating it all - even if it’s been done for the financial good of the club, it stinks a bit because it’s been done to the detriment of our own fanbase. People have had to give up their seats that they’ve held for years, and no fan group was involved in the consultation process, so naturally people are going to be pissed. Obviously I hope the day goes without any huge incidents and that we get the win, but it has the potential to go spectacularly bad.

Regarding Beale - I’m not overly enthused by the appointment but I’m not sure any of the coaches available to us would have got me excited either, and I was at the point where I thought Mowbray had come to an end so didn’t disagree with the sacking. We had to appoint someone and I’m not convinced there would have been a universally agreed upon choice, so it is what it is. Beale comes highly rated as a coach but we can’t ignore the fact he ultimately failed at Rangers, because it’s still so raw as he only left a few months back.

Dear Roker Report,

On paper, the next four matches look like a gentle enough introduction for a new Head Coach, but the form stats tell a different story. Our next four games are against sides likely to cause us problems if they set out to frustrate us.

Coventry matched us for possession and points earlier in the season, but will be tempted to sit back more at the SOL. Hull will probably be more adventurous on their own turf, but our away form is so awful that points will be tricky from that one too. Rotherham are probably our best chance for maximum points, but yet again, we’re away from home.

I’d like to think we can get revenge on Preston for the mugging at Deepdale, but they will almost certainly camp out in their own half up here.

Considering our form against sides associated with similar stats I think 6 points from 12 would be a realistic tally to aim for. Anything more would of course be great, but it’s previous encounters such as these that have consistently halted our progress so far this season. Ipswich 0 points, Preston 0 points, Cardiff 0 points, Stoke 0 points, Swansea 1 point, Plymouth 0 points, Huddersfield 0 points, Millwall 1 point, Bristol City 0 points.

Of the similar sides we have managed to beat, Rotherham, Sheff Wed & QPR are the current bottom 3, & Birmingham are 17th.

We have to be realistic in our expectations and give Beale some breathing room to work out the best way of overcoming this obstacle.

Maybe a 3-4-3 with overlapping wingbacks for width, and the striker wouldn’t be so isolated in a 3, or even with 2 up front in a 3-5-2? I don’t know the answer... but if Mowbray couldn’t crack it, and neither could Dodds against Bristol, perhaps we shouldn’t be too demanding of instant results from a guy who’s been here five minutes either?

Phil Clayton

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I don’t think you’ll see any major changes from Beale until Christmas is out of the way and he actually has time to put his own spin on things. The games are coming thick and fast and I just don’t think it’s possible to make major changes to style of play when most of the days between games are spent travelling, resting and recovering.

Good points though!

Rangers v Livingston - Viaplay Cup Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I just wanted to share my experience at the ticket office this morning (Wed 20th Dec). I am a season ticket holder along with my son and have been for a number of years.

Due to the Ticketmaster fiasco where I couldn’t get access to buy my son’s ticket for the Newcastle game I attempted, along with countless others with the same issue no doubt, to email and call the club ticket office to resolve the problem. Knowing from past experience it was probably a waste of time as for years now the club have been utterly useless at looking after the supporters, but thought I’d try anyway.

After recieving no email reply and not getting to speak to anyone my only option was to go to the ticket office today on my first day off work this week. I live in Stockton so it’s not like I can just pop in either!

After checking the opening hours online the official club website says 10am-5pm.

I arrived at approx. 9.30 to around 10 people in the queue. Knowing what the queues have been like over the last couple of days I took this as a result. I waited patiently for 10am to arrive, and at around 10.20 with the ticket office still not opening their doors, someone mentioned the note on the door stating opening time of 11am.

I waited another hour in the cold and when the doors finally opened at 11.10 the hugely unhelpful security guard was only letting in one person at a time. I also noticed through the window only two people were serving (the same amount of security guards they had holding the doors closed) with around six tills left unoccupied.

When it was my turn I approached the lady behind the counter and explained the situation and wanted to buy my and my son’s tickets. What I heard next has infuriated me beyond belief. I was told that the phase 1 window was now closed and there was nothing she could do! I explained I couldn’t get my tickets during the window due to the aforementioned online issue. I was again told there was nothing she could do and I would have to wait until Friday when the remaining tickets go on general sale. So now I cannot get my seats as the poor people in the North stand who have been shifted from seats they have sat in for years to accommodate them lot from up the road can now purchase my seats as they have gone unclaimed.

I now have to take my chances with the no doubt thousands of other people attempting to snatch the last remaining tickets on Friday morning.

There was no understanding whatsoever that this issue is not my fault and I was ushered out of the ticket office like a second class citizen. There were countless other people in the queue with exactly the same problem and no doubt will have been met with the same answer I got.

The service I received this morning was nothing short of disgusting.

My love for SAFC is unconditional and always will be but the hierarchy once again have no interest in looking after the lifeblood of this club, the supporters. The treatment of the thousands of loyal fans time and time again is unacceptable and I for one cannot wait for this trust fund millionaire to move on and take all of his hangers on with him.

Ryan Richardson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: The customer service from the ticket office has been shite for years and it’s annoying to hear it’s not getting any better. People have completely lost faith in their ability to get in touch with... well, anyone, as you well know. I’d suggest in future you go direct to Chris Waters as Chris is nothing but helpful with such issues.

I’m so sorry you had such a naff experience - sadly, we hear stories just like yours all the time.

Dear Roker Report,

A lot of people have expressed opinions about Mike Beale, some good some bad, but he should be given the next six games to prove himself.

Coventry City... 3pts for us, v Hull City... a score draw, v Rotherham... 3 pts for us, Stoke City... 3 pts for us, v Boro... a score draw, v Plymouth... 3pts for us - that's 14pts out of 18.

If he doesn’t meet that target, well I’m sorry to say that he should be “on his bike”, All the above teams are beatable. This should prove what he is capable of. Time will tell.

I bet Alex Neil wished that he had stayed with Sunderland.

Bill Calvert

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It’s really not that simple though is it? Just saying those numbers out loud means nothing - recently we’ve lost to some absolute shite in this league but then afterwards we’ve beaten Leeds and West Brom. There are no easy games in this league and we just have to take it one game at a time without looking too far ahead!

Sunderland Unveil New Head Coach Michael Beale Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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