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South Shields v Sunderland Pre-Season Friendly

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Fan Letters: “Bring back the stiffs!”

Under 21 football is under scrutiny – as is some fans’ behaviour and the service supporters are receiving from the club. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was wanting to bring up a point regarding U21 squads, SAFC in particular, as well as generally.

In the wake of the England triumph, it was interesting to learn that quite a number of the players have moved on from their ‘parent’ clubs, soon to be joined by Trafford, the hero goalie. The clubs that have allowed these transfers have filled the squads in general with foreign players. We also learned that the last Final squad contained 7 players who at some point played for us!!

My issue is, what is the point of U21 football? If you are anywhere near good enough at 20/21 you are in the first team (Owen, Rooney & Bellingham didn’t play many U21 games). Also, what about the 22-24 year olds who would have played in reserve games – we have a goalie (Alex Bass) who has played two competitive games in a year!

Bring back the stiffs!!!

John Collings

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Couldn’t agree more, John. I’ll never understand why it changed from under 18s, reserves and first team – to my mind, at 18 you should be playing ‘proper’ football somewhere. All this system does is encourage and enable bigger clubs to stockpile youngsters, who at some point turn around and are 24 and have barely played – Nathan Broadhead was a prime example of that – and make the jump to the first team even greater.

Arsenal Reserves v Sunderland Reserves - Barclays Premier Reserve League
Bring back the ressies!
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve just been reading some of the letters regarding speaking to someone at the Stadium. For weeks I have sent emails reporting foul language where we sit in the Stadium, it’s just one person but it’s really disgusting. I did manage to get a reply from the support team but was told if I’d like to change my seat just get in touch with the ticket office. Unbelievable attitude to our problem.

George Brown

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email George – in some respects, the club are in between a rock and a hard place with word-of-mouth allegations – probably better talking to a steward during the game. However, they should have observed what was happening the next game. The lack of strong response is just another example of a club that’s being poorly run off the field.

Dear Roker Report,

In response to your tweet regarding the abusive chanting at the Gateshead ‘friendly’. Firstly, my grandson and I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion on the pitch he even got to meet Joe Anderson before the game.

That out of the way, the behaviour of a very few so-called Sunderland fans was disgraceful.

These were kids of around 15/16 years of age and I thought all they achieved was to bring shame on the club.

Some were even hell-bent on causing trouble walking after 2 or 3 lads who had nufc shirts on under jackets, obviously intending to reveal the shirt once inside the stadium.

The chanting was generally aimed at you know who (Al) it was offensive and very abusive and not the kind of singing one would like to hear, especially with women and children waiting for the team bus so they could meet the players.

At one point, some put offensive stickers on the wall and doors near the entrance and a young girl on security had to try and remove them. I was embarrassed by the behaviour of these idiots. Do they not realise they are actually representing the team and should behave appropriately, at one point, a male security guard told them if they didn’t kerb their behaviour, they wouldn’t be allowed inside.

In end, can I just say that I know swearing seems to be a part of everyday life now, but this went too far.


An embarrassed season ticket holder.

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email, and glad you and your grandson enjoyed the game. The behaviour of a small group of ‘supporters’ was seemingly pathetic on Saturday, and we’ve seen an increase in it over the past year or two. It’ll either take a group of the older lads to pull them up and give them a blast to stop it, or the club finding out who they are and successfully banning them. If not it’ll keep happening.

Gateshead v Sunderland Pre-Season Friendly
A good day out, spoiled by a few
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have just read a letter from Andy Paz and wanted to get in touch. I sent an email to Chris Waters on 13th June requesting help with seat choice, he was on holiday so I received an automated reply (I still have) stating what he does not do and he had no intention of replying to any email he received, as he was just going delete without reading.

I waited two weeks just in case I got a reply but no, nothing came. I then emailed the customer services and within an hour I had a reply asking for my telephone number, alas no phone call or any other contact that was over two weeks ago. I have all the emails and replies.

What I can't understand is...does the club not want disabled supporters? Or is it just a case of their customer service is an absolute shambles. It really doesn’t look good and especially if rival fans or groups got a hold of these stories!

I’m not expecting anything from you as I realise you are a social media group with no responsibility for ticket sales (or lack of) I really only wanted to back the gentleman up and get it off my chest.

Kind regards

Susan Collins

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Susan, and sorry to hear of your difficulties. I feel sorry for Chris Waters – he’s a good man and he’ll be inundated with requests as he seems to be the only person at the club capable of sorting anything like this out. The reality is the customer service at the club is an absolute shambles. We’ve got emails and emails sharing stories not too dissimilar to your own, and it’s an embarrassment. Steve Davison is the man responsible for this side of things, and you have to say from a supporters’ perspective dealing with the club has got worse and worse during his tenure. KLD’s reign so far has been tremendously positive on the football side of things, however off the field we’re so amateur it’s embarrassing.


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