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Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “Early leavers - why do they do it?”

Fans leaving early, throwing items on to the field of play from the stands and signing new strikers - all in the latest RR mailbag! Email us:

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

We wait all week for matchday, then when it comes some fans are happy to miss half of the game - whether it is arriving late, missing five minutes either side of half time, leaving early, or all three - why do they do it?

On Saturday, with us pushing for a winner, fans were leaving in their droves. The atmosphere drops in the five minutes before and after half time with thousands not in their seats. Is it really that hard to be in your seat for the teams coming out of the tunnel?

I appreciate people will have their reasons, an extra pint before kick off, public transport home, queues at the bar at half time etc. but the reality is the team is only getting our full support for part of the game.

Not sure what the answer is or if the club can do anything about it but if you’re going to the match to support the team then do exactly that. I don’t remember it being as bad as it is at the moment and it would be great to reverse the trend.

A confused fan (who is lucky enough to live within walking distance of the ground!).

Andrew Ferguson

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It’s a topic that has been infrequently raised since the stadium opened back in 1997 and I’m not sure what the answer is.

Can’t say I’ve ever left a game before the final whistle unless I’ve absolutely had to, but I wouldn’t knock anyone who does - I imagine everyone has their reasons and those people shouldn’t need to justify them.

It might be my rose-tinted glasses but I can’t ever remember this being an issue at Roker Park. Maybe it was and I didn’t notice. One obvious area that should be looked at is the transport links to get people home following the final whistle, maybe they’re at least part of the issue.

The other thing that could be looked at is providing facilities around the ground after the game so people can have a pint/hot drink/bite to eat while they wait for the traffic to clear. But considering the club struggle to open a club shop when people are wanting to spend money in it, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

But maybe those people who leave early would still have the same reasons. As you can see, I’m clutching at straws and don’t have any real answers.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light
On occasion there’s a very obvious reason for leaving the Stadium of Light early...
Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The club management is fully aware of the lack of striking power we possess within the squad. The availability of a good striker or two is the crux of the problem and getting them to sign to come to SAFC.

We had a number of targets lined up in January, however, the agent's demands for fees were unrealistic as were the expectations of some of the players who were lined up. Fans need to remember, the player's wages play a massive part in getting the prospective targets signed.

The money-bleeding days are long gone for this club and to compete to get back into to the Premier League will require astute planning, patience and faith that the owners and directors can deliver what the fans dream of.

My last rant is about idiotic fans who throw missiles onto the pitch, causing the FA to fine the club, wasting valuable money from our transfer funds.

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Money is absolutely part of it and so is the make-up of our squad. Looking back to January, Ross Stewart returned to action and anyone who was willing to sign do so with the understanding that they would likely play second fiddle, especially if we stuck with the system of deploying a lone striker.

Ellis Simms was regularly on the bench in the early part of the season and this fact will be in the minds of potential signings this coming summer.

Oh, and I couldn’t agree more on people throwing items onto the pitch - seems like effort to me.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images


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