Sunderland fans' frustration over hours spent trying to get Checkatrade Trophy final tickets
Frustrated Sunderland AFC season card holders who've have spent hours trying to get tickets for the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley say something needs to be done.
Jack Ross's side beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 in the semi-final stage of the tournament on Tuesday - taking a place in the final against Portsmouth on Sunday, March 31.
The club have been allocated a total of 38,979 for the clash.
Priority One tickets, which went on sale today, are available to SAFC season card holders but many dedicated fans are struggling to purchase tickets.
John McCabe, who went to his first game in 1960 ages five, says something needs to be done to reward the loyal fans who have stood by the club 'through the good times and the bad."
The retired engineer said: "It's utterly frustrating. I've been trying to buy tickets online since 8am this morning and I've been on the phone to them 100 times.
"Three times I've been put on holder and after 10/12 minutes they've just cut me off.
"It's been taken out of SAFC's hands but there needs to be a change.
"I think they're releasing tickets in blocks at a time and you should be able to pick your seats but you can't get on.
"There's got to be a better system to give true supporters the rewards they are entitled to."
John, 64, who is a South Tyneside Councillor for Hebburn South, says someone needs to take responsibility about what's happening.
And it's not just season card holders that are struggling with the new system to get tickets.
Some dedicated fans, who buy through a supporters groups, have found themselves unable to buy priority tickets they're entitled to.
Viv Alderman, who lives in St Albans, has been to seven away matches and on hospitality at the Stadium of Light since the season started.
But having always booked through the a supporters club, her membership number when registered to TicketMaster says she has no purchase history.
It means on the system she doesn't qualify to put in for the Priority Two tickets which are released on Tuesday.
"I registered for tickets and when I checked my purchase history it was blank but I couldn't work out why," said Viv, who has been supporting the club since 1973.
"This year I've been to seven away games and one Sunderland hospitality and an under 23 games in August.
"I texted the person who gets my tickets and he said it's on a different membership number.
"I am very upset that my loyal support is not logged into the Sunderland database.
"I'm actually going to the Wycombe match tomorrow and I live really close to Wembley so it's frustrating."
Viv, who attends the games with her husband John, has supported the club for 46 years and says she was hooked when she saw them win the FA Cup Final in 1973.
The outreach support worker has tried to contact Ticketmaster but has struggled to get in touch.
Queues formed outside Black Cat House yesterday as fans struggled to register.
PRIORITY TICKET SALE PERIODS
Tickets will be sold in three priority periods, with 2018-19 season card holders being the first priority.
Priority 1, Friday 08 March - Monday, March 11.Priority 1 is for 2018-19 SAFC season card holders (including 18, 12 and 8 game season card holders).
Season card holders in the Priority 1 category can purchase their ticket online from today at www.eticketing.co.uk/safc
Season card holders in the Priority 1 category can buy their ticket by telephone from today on 0844 453 9015.
There is a limit of one ticket per season card. All current season card holders are guaranteed a ticket, if they buy within this initial priority period of 08-11 March.
Priority 2, Tuesday, March 12.
Supporters who have a recent home league ticket purchase history with the club (this refers to the previous two seasons, from 2017-18 onwards).
Supporters with a purchase history from the 2016-17 season or beyond, who have also purchased a Walsall ticket. Please note, the Walsall ticket must be purchased by 10am on Monday 11 March in order to meet the criteria.
Priority 3, Wednesday, March 13.
Priority 3 is for any remaining supporters who have a recent league ticket purchase history with the club.
All supporters listed on the SAFC database can apply during this time, subject to availability.
Supporters in the Priority 3 category can buy their ticket online from 8am on Wednesday March 13 at www.eticketing.co.uk/safc.
Supporters in the Priority 3 category can buy their ticket by telephone from 9am on Wednesday 13 March, 0844 453 9015.
There is a limit of one ticket per customer number.