Sunderland are hoping to smash the average League One attendance record this season - with director Charlie Methven issuing a rallying call to the club’s fans.
The record for a season in the third tier is held by Manchester City, who averaged 28,261 when they were in the division 20 years ago.
Methven has challenged the Black Cats to beat that this season, with 26,000 tickets have already been sold for the Charlton game - including a fantastic 21,950 season cards, a League One record.
Methven said: “Saturday not only heralds the start of a new season, but also a new dawn at Sunderland.
“We have set a target to beat Man City’s record and become the best supported third-tier side in modern football history. Doing so will send out a clear message that we are Sunderland, we are proud of who we are and that despite the challenges of recent seasons, the club has its chest out again.
“My message to fans is that whether you’re a season card holder or can only attend a handful of games, you have an important part to play in shaping the future of your football club. Having everyone on the same page – fans, players, staff – will make us a tough proposition to beat this year and beyond.”
The Black Cats take on the Addicks in a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday. Tickets are still available for the game, starting from £20 for adults and just £7.50 for under 16s.
Fans will see a number of other changes with the much-heralded first tranche of new seats, the FanZone opening once again and changes to the pre-match music schedule.