Dear Roker Report,
I emailed the club on the 27th March, having just paid for my season ticket and explaining that I don’t have a smartphone.
I received a very terse and badly written reply, saying that my current situation couldn’t allow me to access the ground.
I’m seventy eight years old. I’ve been a season ticket holder for twenty six years, and I travel up from Yorkshire with a friend who travels up from Burton. Together we have a round trip of five hundred miles for a home game, and he’s in the same situation as me.
My family have followed the club for over one hundred years and my father and grandfather were both in the record Roker Park crowd against Derby County in the 1930’s.
I’m told that training sessions are being set up in Sunderland to help supporters, but do they not appreciate that many of us live hundreds of miles away from the city?
In addition, I eventually paid £210 for my parking spot, but the young lady I eventually spoke to didn’t know how this is to be accessed, and if the club doesn’t help me transition, I will sadly have seen my last home game in the playoffs against Luton Town.
I must thank the old club for some memorable moments, having attended the 1973 FA Cup final and all the Wembley finals since then.
I’ve got plenty of tearful memories of Hurley, Clough, Shackleton, Watson, Todd, Quinn and Luke O’Nien that’ll remain with me until my dying day. I’ll now be supporting from afar, and all because some people at the club don’t appreciate or understand supporter needs.
I’m also surprised that supporter-based based organisations such as Roker Report don’t seem to have the leverage to influence the club, which now should be termed the ‘Uncaring Club’.
They can now keep my £500 as my contribution to buying a decent striker.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Colin. Thanks for getting in touch and explaining the problems you’re currently having with your season card renewal.
First and foremost, we’ll certainly keep banging the drum at Roker Report when it comes to supporters’ needs being met, whether that’s on ticketing, customer service, or anything else.
That’s very important to us and it’s why we’ve tried to shout as loudly as possible about an issue that needs to be solved. Some people might see it as ‘moaning for the sake of it’, but when longtime fans such as yourself are seemingly on the verge of giving up because of shoddy customer service, that’s not something that can be ignored.
The fact is that the club have made a total mess of the transition to digital season cards.
A gradual switch to modern technology was the way to go, but they’ve pushed fans to go down the digital route and were seemingly making it harder and harder for supporters to get hold of a traditional plastic card.
That said, there’s been one positive development recently, as Chris Waters posted a message on social media (not promoted by the club, for some reason) which stated that any supporter who would like a plastic card for the coming season can get hold of one by visiting the ticket office from Wednesday 19th July onwards.
Hopefully this makes it a little easier for fans who don’t have smartphones to access games next season, assuming the plastic cards work at the new turnstiles that have been installed during the summer. Let’s hope it’s a step in the right direction.
Dear Roker Report,
I live in Dover and I come up for all home games with my season ticket, as all southern supporters have problems getting away tickets for matches.
I know I’m asking a lot from the great support we have, but is there any chance Sunderland can hide some tickets for us, please?
Ed’s Note [Phil] Hi, Paul. Thanks for your letter.
Given the current issues the club is having with ticketing, it seems unlikely that they'd put tickets aside for even the most loyal supporters, and if they did, it wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up being lost or misplaced, so poor is the standard of operation at the ticket office these days.
Dear Roker Report,
I still don’t understand why we aren't trying to bring Jordan Henderson back home!
He’d be a perfect fit for club captain and he would bring the experience that we lack, as well as being someone who could slow the game down and not allow us get bullied in midfield, which most teams did to us after the turn of the year.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Marc. Thanks for getting in touch.
Although I could see the value in Henderson returning to his roots and running out in the red and white stripes after twelve years at Liverpool, it seems unlikely to happen, even though he’d definitely bring the qualities that we lacked when Corry Evans was injured.
The pay issue would be one major sticking point, and with a rumoured move to Saudi Arabia in the pipeline for a frankly obscene weekly wage, there’s just no way we could compete with that.
Hopefully Henderson doesn’t take the Saudi money, but the thought of him dropping down into the Championship, like Aaron Ramsey has done at Cardiff, doesn’t seem realistic to me.