Dear Roker Report,
Whilst I have sympathy with your readers about the foul and abusive language that is heard at the SoL, I would point out that it’s not only there that the problem lies.
Sadly, a lot of this behaviour is influenced, but not solely, by people taking on board excessive alcohol and sometimes, drugs. Frustrations can also lead to such behaviour.
I have been fortunate to be able to work as a steward at many football (and other sports), matches, including at my beloved SoL, over the last 10 years, throughout this country. The problem has always been there and will continue to be so because little is done to curb it.
In my capacity as a steward I have approached males and females at all of the venues to try to get them to desist with such language only to be rebuffed with similar phrases that has caused me to speak to them in the first place. Added to that the fans around them have called me a ‘jobsworth’ (every stewards most hated phrase) for trying to get the perpetrators to stop.
Many of my colleagues are highly intelligent, sometimes, professional people. I have worked alongside trainee and experienced doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc, none of whom can be described as a ‘jobsworth’ but have a common purpose for being there. That is to try to help to keep the spectators safe and for them to enjoy the match. Obviously, we can’t gauge the mood until it gets underway but it’s something we try to do throughout the game to obviate any potential issues.
I would add that the stewards are not only there to be the ‘swear police’ but in this day and age it’s a big problem. Usually the threat of ejection from the ground helps to get the message across. That in turn can lead to more abuse, including physical violence, though.
In essence the game and the clubs need to take a stand on the unsociable problems and take effective action to solve them. Until then misbehaviour such as swearing will never be eradicated.
Ed’s Note [Chris]: I’ve been watching Sunderland from the terraces and seats for over 30 years which is a lot less than others and a certain genre of language has always been heard in that time. I take my 10-year-old son to the games with the understanding he’ll probably learn a new vocabulary to take back to his mates in the days after.
I don’t think any of that will ever change, but there has seemed to have been a shift with the way people act in crowds since the pandemic. England’s European Championship final was a perfect example. Not sure what it is but there is a feeling that the line people in general wouldn’t cross a number of years ago appears to be blurring.
Dear Roker Report,
When my season ticket auto renewed I received an email saying digital tickets would be sent out by email in July. I haven’t received mine yet. Do you know if any digital tickets have been sent out yet?
It’s getting close to the opening fixture as only a few weeks to wait, looking forward to it. Last thing I need though is worrying if ticket while arrive or not and the ensuing scramble if it doesn’t. I don’t mind going digital but at least you would think the club would keep you to date or put a statement out with an actual release date rather than being in limbo!
Ed’s Note [Chris]: It appears that you are not the only to have not received anything at this point. At the time of writing the tickets for the Mallorca game are yet to be placed on sale as well and we’re just over a couple of weeks out. The next couple of weeks could be fun and games on the ticketing front if they don’t make progress on all of this soon.
Dear Roker Report,
I’ve written several times before, sometimes to raise a point, sometimes to get something off my chest.
But I think also, it’s in the hope that you have some ‘contact‘ with someone at the club, or in the knowledge that people at the club follow fan’s letters on various fan zones. Is this the case? Or are we really just venting with each other when we write to you?
Do fanzines have any ‘influence’ at all at the club? As this off field criticism doesn’t seem to be improving at all, and I for one, am expecting CHAOS at the Ipswich game.
Ed’s Note [Chris]: As a fanzine we exist as a platform for fans to express their feelings about the team on the pitch as well as any successes or failures off it and we would hope that continuing our coverage via letters such as this one or articles on the topic, it will continue to highlight the issues.
Everything we have published on the topic will hopefully be utilised when groups such as the RAWA meet with the club and discuss recent events - as they have recently stated they will on social media.
As is so often the case with these things, keeping the issue front and centre is more likely to facilitate discussion with a view to change things.