The Story of Wear Down South
The lure of the nation’s capital has always guaranteed a sizeable group of exiled Sunderland followers (and their properly ‘educated’ children!) and after the formation of the SAFC Supporters’ Association in 1965, it was natural that the first Associate Branch outside of the North-East would be the London Branch.
The branch was founded by Ian Todd after he contacted all of the SAFCSA’s members based in London and the Home Counties during the summer of 1966 (no data protection laws back then!). The London Branch was then inaugurated in a church hall before the game at West Ham in February 1967, with a meeting of about 50 potential members, a Club director and the Supporters’ Association Chairman. A volunteer Steering Committee was formed soon after, and two weeks later the Branch ran its first coach trip to The Hawthorns.
Suffering only occasional dips linked to the fortunes of the team, the Branch grew steadily over the years. Today we have around 500 members and we’re proud to be not only the largest SAFCSA branch but also one of the largest supporter groups in the capital supporting a team from outside of London. In 1974, we updated the branch name to the ‘London and Southern England Branch’ to better represent our members beyond the M25. Since then, former Branch members have been involved in setting up the Peterborough, North Herts and Sussex & Surrey supporter groups, with close friendships and working relationships maintained with them to this day.
For a number of years, the Branch was honoured to have Hertfordshire resident Charlie Hurley as its President. Today we are delighted to have the support of Steve Cram CBE in that role, and we are grateful to him for his attendance at several Branch functions over the years.
The branch also produces its much-loved newsletter, which ensures that all members are kept up to date with the latest news events and opinions. In the early days this was a single stencil duplicated sheet, and it is now a 40-page professionally printed magazine.
Naturally we often make arrangements to travel and/or meet together before and after games and also have a number of sports teams, which take part in both friendly and competitive games against other supporters’ clubs in the London area. You can find out more on the Sports and Socials page and can join the branch here.