Sunderland director has this message for fans after club smashes 40,000 Boxing Day target

Charlie Methven has hailed the Sunderland support after the club smashed its target of selling over 40,000 tickets for the Boxing Day clash with Bradford City.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:13 pm
Sunderland supporters.

Methven, the club’s executive director, set supporters an ambitious target of snapping up over 40,000 tickets for the festive fixture as he looked to break the modern-day attendance record the third tier.

That record - held by Leeds United for their clash against Gillingham in 2008 - was broken on Wednesday and Methven’s target has now been smashed.

The 40,000 mark was passed on Thursday.

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Methven said: “To get 40,000 for a third division game is nearly unprecedented – it hasn’t happened for 39 years, and that was the Sheffield derby in 1979.

“When I set the target five weeks ago, I received quite a few messages asking why on earth I was setting targets that we might miss.

“My response was that part of the Board and Jack Ross’ ethos for SAFC is to set stretching targets and then give everything to hit them, without being fearful about falling short.

“So, this is just another stepping stone to re-building the self-belief of this great club that all is possible if we have the right plans and give it our best.

“The phrase ‘second-to-none’ is much over-used, but who can doubt that it applies to Sunderland fans? The number of English clubs who could confidently say that they would attract over 40,000 to a League One game could be counted on one hand.

“Stewart and I are just very proud to be custodians of such a great institution. We will never take for granted the support that Sunderland fans give their club.”

Managing director Tony Davison added: “To have an attendance in excess of 40,000, with six days to go is phenomenal and testament to what can be achieved when everyone is pulling together.

“It absolutely embodies our ‘one club, your club’ ethos and I can’t thank the supporters enough for such an amazing demonstration of loyalty and passion.

“A word also for the Bradford fans – they’ve already sold over 2,000 tickets and may well end up bringing more, which is an excellent effort and will contribute to what will be an amazing atmosphere on the day.”

Such has been the demand for tickets that the club have re-opened the Premier Concourse as a season-high crowd looks set to descend on the Stadium of Light.