21-22 Fixtures Released

The fixtures for the new season have now been released and can be viewed in full at : https://www.safc.com/news/team-news/2021/june/202122-schedule-released

The season opens with a home fixture against Wigan (which will see a quick return to the Stadium of Light for Max Power) on Saturday 7th August and concludes on Saturday 30th April away at Morecambe.

The Boxing Day game is away at Doncaster Rovers whilst we are at home on New Year’s Day to Fleetwood Town.

Of particular interest to London Branch members will be the away games at Milton Keynes Dons (14th August), Portsmouth (2nd October), Gillingham (16th October), Cambridge United (27th November), Ipswich Town (18th December), Wycombe Wanderers (8th January), a first ever visit to Cheltenham Town (on Tuesday 8th February), to AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium (12th February), Charlton Athletic (5th March) and Oxford United (9th April). As ever of course these dates may be “adjusted” to suit Sky Sports live game coverage.

Sunderland Ladies Promoted

Whilst the season ended disappointingly for the Senior and Under-23 men’s teams there has been good news for Sunderland Ladies whose application for promotion to the FA Women’s Championship has been accepted by the Football Association. The new club ownership had already committed to support the Ladies team as part of an integrated playing structure and the news of success has been heartily welcomed by Head Coach, Melanie Reay, her support team and the players who have suffered heartbreak over the last two foreshortened and abandoned seasons.

Club Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman said: “We are delighted to have been awarded FA Women’s Championship status and we thank the FA panel for approving our application. This success is a testament to Leann Cowperthwaite, who project managed the submission, and to the collaboration between our football and business operations, who produced a detailed proposal despite facing a quick turnaround. It also represents a tangible reward for Mel and the team for their stellar record over the past 24 months and we now look forward to delivering on our plan and building our infrastructure to support the players and staff during the upcoming campaign.”

We look forward to being able to support the Lasses at their five away games in the South East nest season.

New Ownership

On 18th February 2021, the English Football League announced it had approved a transfer of overall control of Sunderland AFC to Kyril Louis-Dreyfus. The appropriate changes have been registered with Companies House.

A club statement confirmed :

Louis-Dreyfus becomes the club’s new Chairman with immediate effect, with Stewart Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven each retaining a minority shareholding.

Stewart Donald said: “I am delighted to welcome Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to the club as our new chairman and controlling shareholder. Kyril’s commitment, acumen and integrity convinced us to accept his proposal. His vision and desire to bring success back to Sunderland was obvious from the outset and his bid is the one that we feel gives the club the best chance of long-term success and sustainability.

“When we entered into negotiations with Ellis Short three years ago, Sunderland was nearly £200 million in debt, was losing £35 million per annum, and had all but been relegated to League One. Our plan was to work hard to turn around the finances of the club, put it on a stable footing and to get promoted back into the Championship. I am proud to say that we have achieved what we set out to in terms of SAFC’s finances – the club is debt-free, was breaking even prior to the pandemic and has retained its Category One Academy status. However, it is no secret that – despite spending the highest transfer fees and playing wages in League One history – progress on the pitch has not followed suit. That has been a bitter disappointment for us as owners, and we can only apologise for falling short in this regard.

“Whilst we certainly made mistakes, everything was done with the best of intentions with the view to deliver this aim, but we just fell short and in football, unfortunately, a miss is as good as a mile. However, with the club just having booked its third Wembley final in three seasons and still being in the hunt for promotion, the foundations are set for better times.  We hope and believe that the new management team, with Kyril at its head, can finally complete the turnaround and get the club climbing the divisions once again.”

Louis-Dreyfus commented: “I would like to thank Stewart, the Board of Directors and the EFL for their diligence and support throughout the recent process. I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it. Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Sunderland AFC’s history and although the current landscape facing football dictates that there are challenges to overcome, I am confident that together we can weather the present storm and put solid foundations in place to bring sustainable and long-term success to the club.”

New Season

The EFL has now announced the fixtures for the 2020/21 Season and Sunderland’s can be seen in full at :

https://www.safc.com/news/team-news/2020/august/2020-21-league-one-fixtures

The first three fixtures will be behind closed doors but there is potentially a bonus for London Branch members in the away game against Charlton on Saturday 3rd October.

If the Government allow stadia to open to reduced capacities in October then this could be the first game when fans are able to watch the team live. This will of course depend on the arrangements Charlton are able to agree with their local Licensing Committee and indeed whether, for safety and travel reasons, a proportion of away fans are included in their Covid-safe arrangements.

SAFC have had discussions with supporter representatives about opening up the Stadium of Light and further details on this, potentially for the home game on 10th October, will be announced when available.

Ticket Refunds

Sunderland AFC would like to thank supporters for their continued patience and advise them of the following details relating to the 2019-20 refund process.

As previously announced, all season card holders are entitled to a pro-rata refund for the club’s cancelled home fixtures against Shrewsbury Town, Accrington Stanley and Peterborough United. 

And supporters that purchased single match tickets for the club’s remaining games – home and away – are entitled to a full refund. 

The refund process will take place via the following phases: 

PHASE ONE: Home match tickets – 6 July ‘til 17 July
PHASE TWO: 
Away match tickets – 27 July ‘til 7 August
PHASE THREE: 
Season cards – 17 August ‘til 28 August

If a supporter is eligible for a refund, a credit balance will be applied to the ‘Account Cashback’ section within their online ticketing account in line with the dates above. 

This process applies to all ticket purchases, including those made in person, by cash payment and via Direct Debit. 

After logging in, supporters must enter the bank details they wish to use for the refund transaction before the expiry of each phase, after which point all cashback refunds will be processed. 

Meanwhile, our commercial team are currently in the process of contacting our commercial clients in order to talk through the options available to them. 

The Stadium of Light Box Office remains closed to the public and further information regarding its re-opening will be announced in due course.

We would like to once again thank supporters for their continued patience and understanding throughout what remains an incredibly challenging time for us all.