'People will have lost their voices by half-time': SAFC fans thrilled to return to Stadium of Light
Excitement is mounting among Sunderland supporters at the prospect of watching their side at the Stadium of Light for the first time since March 7 last year.
Their team takes on Lincoln City in the League One play-off semi-final second leg on Saturday, May 22 with 10,000 spectators allowed in the ground.
An online sale has begun with 2020/21 season ticket holders at the front of the queue. Any left will be sold to 2021/22 season ticket holders from Friday morning, should any remain.
There will be a range of Covid-19 measures in place including compulsory masks wearing, physical contact must be avoided and food and drink kiosks will be closed.
But, fans are buzzing with anticipation – even those who are not guaranteed a ticket.
Jim Gilling, chair of the SAFC Branch Liaison Council, said: “We’re all looking forward to getting back. We hope we can give the players a lift that will help them get to Wembley.
“But I’m pleased I gave somebody else the job of getting my ticket!”
Dave Rose, vice-chair of supporters’ group the Red And White Army, said: “We’re all excited we can take this first step to get the fans back into the Stadium of Light.
“Obviously it still won’t be what we’re used to. But even just 10,000 fans will give the place a massive lift, because we all know how vocal Sunderland supporters are. Now let’s just hope for the right result.”
Paul Dobson editor of fanzine A Love Supreme, said: “I didn’t get a season ticket because of the Covid situation, but I’ve got one for next year. I’ll try to get a Lincoln ticket on Friday morning. I might be lucky.
“People will have lost their voices by half-time. They won’t be used to shouting!”
Michael Ganley, founder of the Fans Museum Sunderland, said: “It will be mega-exciting to see the lads on the pitch. It’s great we can go back and shout them on. If I don’t get in, I don’t get in. It’ll just make me more excited for next season.
“The people in there will shout their lungs out and you’ll hear it all round Sunderland. I want to be there because it’s history.”