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Fan Letters: “Ticketing and retail is a disaster!”

Once again it is the club’s performance off the pitch that is dominating the RR mailbag and we just hope that at some point the message gets through. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Richard Sellers - PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Firstly, I would like to put to bed the Ross Stewart scenario - he won’t be offered a better contract until the club is certain that he is going to make a full recovery and the player himself is sure.

These injuries have been two serious career threatening blows to his living. Regarding the infrastructure behind the scenes, the club was stripped to a bare minimum during the MB regime and then further damaged by SD reign.

Ticketmaster were contracted to take over from the redundant ticket office staff and they caused all sorts of problems which are slowly being corrected. Of course this is just my humble opinion but the damage done to our club will take quite a while to put right and it’s not going to happen overnight!

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Chris]: The Ross Stewart situation is a tough one. He is about to turn 27 and if he signs a 3 or 4 year contract this could potentially be the last big contract of his career. Combine this with the fact that he wouldn’t have earned huge money in Scotland before his move to Sunderland in 2021, he will be rightly so, making sure he squeezes everything he can out of this deal.

The club will take into account his fitness last season but also the fact his absence highlighted his importance to the side. Bottom line is that we’d all love him to sign on long-term.

Regarding the Ticketmaster process, I can see why the club made that move and I haven’t any specific issue, but, the club took the move as a trigger to essentially remove all customer service. This has been a disaster. People need lines of communication to request simple information from the club and it is non-existent. The club simply has to improve off the pitch because it’s an utter shambles at the moment.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Ross Stewart
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

With Sunderland starting to get things right on the pitch it’s about time they started putting it right off the pitch.

Steve Davison has been responsible for most things off the pitch and has showed for a number of years he gets things wrong the majority of the time, and in any work place it’s just not good enough.

After an extensive review into what to do about away fans, he quickly waved away the idea of a safety net in front of away fans, saying this wouldn’t prevent smaller objects been thrown. He came up with the bright idea of extensive searches of away fans - obviously oblivious of the fact you can shove almost anything in your underpants, hence the continued troubles of objects been thrown.

On top of this, the off field ticketing and retail is a disaster. Constant problems with passwords and email addresses on accounts, problems every time there is a cup-tie, retail goods never been in stock, ticket office and shop opening hours down to bare minimum and sold out signs going up at 45,000 and 46,000 last season despite ground holding over 49,000.

There’s odd tickets all over ground what never come up for sale but no one ever sits in them. Someone needs to sit down and sort it out and realise this chap has been in charge of most off field operations and it’s time for him to go.

David Wilkinson

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I already started on this topic in my previous reply to Malcolm’s letter above and I appreciate the opportunity to continue on the subject in this reply David...

I finished off above stating that the club is currently a mess off the pitch and I can’t understand how anyone at the club can think otherwise and not do something about it. Imagine being the person to sit down with Steve Davison to review his performance over the last two years since his appointment - then imagine how that could end up in a positive appraisal. I just don’t get it.

Time after time there are just broken promises and missed opportunities. It just seems a no-brainer to be prepared to take advantage of things like Father’s Day and summer holidays, but I’m sure there will be data to dispute that somewhere to prove to themselves they shouldn’t bother.

My son’s birthday is during the summer and for the second season in a row there is literally nothing I can buy online (being an exile this is often the only route for long periods). Last year it was because there was nothing in stock and this year it’s because there is no route for which to buy items.

The scary thought would have been if we had actually been promoted to the Premier League because I genuinely think the step up in demand for tickets and merchandise would have broken the people who work at the club as well as the patience of too many fans.

Quite often we receive replies to this sort of criticism with comments that say the commercial side of the club isn’t important and that’s fine, but from the experiences we have as fans personally and the messages we receive listing issues tells us that it is important.

Customer service and catering for fans is a form of communication that conveys how much the club gives a sh*t about providing services that fans are willing to part well-earnt cash for - and for me the message is loud and clear.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Second Round - Sunderland v MK Dons - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers - PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I read Colin’s letter with interest as my experience is very similar.

The difference is that I visited the ticket office in March and paid for my granddaughter’s and mine season tickets, and my car park. I have since visited the ticket office again to be given the same answer as Colin. Also, like Colin, I do not know if I am going to retain my seats which I have paid for.

I had to visit the ticket office in the first place as the ticketing system wouldn’t let me renew both tickets, only one of them.

So this is what progress looks like?! Keep up the pressure on them lads!

Stuart Anderson

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It’s the same old story Stuart, and this is now the third letter out of three we’ve received in the last couple of days to outline this sort of issue.

I just don’t get it. For any service the club sell to fans, such as car parking, there should be an automatic process where you receive all the information you should ever need to utilise the service you have paid for, which is supported by easy avenues to request further info if required.

It’s basic stuff at the end of the day, nobody is asking for the world with these things. We’ve had far too many messages saying that fans are looking for refunds or simply not renewing season tickets because they can’t get answers from the club. Again, I’m not sure how any at the club could argue that this is good enough.


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