Dear Roker Report,
I don’t even know where to begin to try and describe my first Sunderland game. Sure it wasn’t at the stadium of light, sure it wasn’t with a sold out crowd, and sure it wasn’t against the best opponent. But, you can’t tell me it wasn’t an experience that I will hold onto forever.
Waking up early and doing a 7-and-a-half-hour drive I got to North Carolina just in time to drop off my bag, pull on my Gooch top, and get to Crosstown pub. I pulled up and saw nothing but red and white, more than I’ve ever seen in one place before (to be clear I’ve never been in person with another Sunderland fan so two would have been enough for me) heading straight to the bar all I could hear was that fantastic north east English accent that I only know from the podcasts to accompany me in the car.
I sat down and struck up some conversations and Sunderland fans could not be nicer and more welcoming to someone who only knows their beloved team from afar. The group was amazing and only ever wanted to hear how I became a fan of the team they grew up loving. Seeing the energy, passion, and excitement of the fans getting ready for a preseason match. I can only imagine what a regular season would be like.
Getting to the game, the excitement only grew as I was moments away from seeing the team I have spent so many hours watching on TV. Although it was hot that did not stop the fans in section 405 from carrying the sound for the entire game. Sitting next to some local North Carolina fans, I couldn’t help but overhear them commenting that the atmosphere for this game was 1000 times better than the Wrexham vs. Chelsea game that had played just the night before.
I could not be more proud of supporting a club that can make that kind of impact on people. Supporting a big six club is great, but supporting a club with heart can’t be beaten.
The game started quickly with an early goal and got the crowd into it early, followed by another quick goal which put the Black Cats in control from the beginning. Being in the second row allowed for a great experience of hearing the players talk to each other. Including Gooch constantly yelling “JEWI!”
The game and seeing the players was great. But what really made the experience amazing was the fans. The fans who traveled all over the states to see their team in pre-season, the fans who made it through multiple delayed flights, and fans who welcomed me in and did nothing but make me feel a part of the team and encourage me to come over for a game as soon as I can.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I’m absolutely buzzing for you Joe, and everyone else who got to see the team for the first time in the States. We see the numbers of listeners we have in the US and know how much love there is for Sunderland over there, so I can only imagine how brilliant yet surreal it probably was to see your heroes in the flesh.
Good for you, man.
Dear Roker Report,
All these people who are bashing Jordan Henderson for taking the Saudi money are absolutely full of it. There isn’t one of us who would turn down £700,000 a week (tax-free) no matter who the employer is.
I’m sick of hearing from self-righteous SJWs and ex-players condemning a man for wanting to secure his family’s future for generations to come.
Dear Roker Report,
Having about JH and going to Saudi for mega money. They are all hypocrites as they would change “jobs” if the wages were tripled or quadrupled. It’s a no-brainer.
Rob Yeates (Guernsey)
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I’m tired of hearing about Henderson now, but the Saudi stuff isn’t going away. They’re relentless, they won’t stop in their effort to do what they want to do. Signing players like Henderson helps to legitimise them in the eyes of the casual viewer, and it’s scary to think where football might be in five or ten years from now due to their influence.