Charlie Methven reveals Premier Concourse will reopen as Sunderland push for record attendance

Sunderland will reopen the Premier Concourse for the visit of Bradford City on Boxing Day.

Sunday, 16th December 2018, 10:35 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 4:58 am
Sunderland will open the top tier of the Stadium of Light for the first time this season
Sunderland will open the top tier of the Stadium of Light for the first time this season

Executive Director Charlie Methven told supporters on Sunday night that with ticket sales already passing the 36,000 mark, seats in the Stadium of Light's top tier will be on sale from Monday morning onwards.

He told A Love Supreme fanzine: "As of Sunday there are only around 1,500 tickets available for the Bradford game in the main bowl of the Stadium of Light.

"The plan has always been that once the number of seats available drops below 1,500 tickets for the Premier Concourse would go on sale, so tomorrow [Monday] morning we will go ahead and do that.”

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The Black Cats chose to close the concourse ahead of the current campaign as wretched performances on the pitch took their inevitable toll on attendances.

A club statement in March said: "The decision has now been taken to close the Premier Concourse at the end of this season to both season card holders and match sales, unless demand dictates that additional capacity is required.

"We believe that closing the Premier Concourse will help us to improve match atmosphere, whilst also reducing the costs associated with safety stewards and kiosk staff in the area."

Impressive performances under the charge of Jack Ross, as well as a major push to encourage supporters to return for the Boxing Day game, have seen a significant demand for tickets.

Methven wants Sunderland to beat the League One attendance record, set by Leeds United in 2008 when 38,256 watched the club seal promotion against Gillingham.

"As a marketing and sales team, we set ourselves some demanding targets last summer," he told ALS.

"We wanted to beat Man City’s all-time record average attendance in the third tier, which we are well on track for.

"We wanted to sell more than 23,000 season tickets, and we now have 23,300 season card holders. We wanted to sell out premium hospitality for one match, and that has been achieved for Boxing Day.

"And we wanted to generate at least one crowd of 40,000 plus, which is now within reach.

“It is a great tribute to Sunderland fans, the performance levels of the players and the hard work of club staff that we are on track to meet all our challenges, but we do need one big last push to ensure that we nail that 40,000 attendance.

"To that end, I do implore all SAFC fans to do what they can to encourage friends and relatives to come along for what is going to be a great, and hopefully memorable, day out.”

The Boxing Day game will also see the official renaming ceremony for the South Stand take place before kick off.

Over 13,000 supporters voted in a poll, emphatically choosing 'The Roker End' as the new name.

The ceremony will also see a special 'Captain's Mural' unveiled on the concourse of the Roker End, paying tribute to five of the club's most historic and revered leaders.