Sunderland AFC fans take up Stewart Donald's season card challenge
Sunderland fans have risen to new chairman Stewart Donald's challenge.
Donald, who formally took over the club at the beginning of the week, laid down a challenge to fans to beat last season's total of 20,000 season cards sold and extended the deadline to purchase reduced cards until 5pm on Friday, June 22.
"The reception I’ve received from the Sunderland fans has been absolutely incredible and we want to give something back to them in recognition of this, so we’re extending the early purchase price period for a couple of weeks," he said.
"We are excited by the challenge of turning this football club around. We know we can’t do it on our own, but as one we can become unstoppable and take Sunderland back where to where it should be."
The Stadium of Light ticket office has been open this morning for fans eager to take advantage of the offer.
Husband and wife Richard and Amanda Bailey had travelled through from Stanley in County Durham to bag a pair of season cards.
"We had tickets a few years ago but we've been a bit underwhelmed at the way the club has been run recently," said Richard, 42.
"We did not think the players were performing. They were being paid all that money and they weren't delivering."
The couple are impressed with what they have seen of Stewart Donald so far: "It seems like he is a man who understands football," said Richard.
Amanda, 38, wants to see the new boss deliver on his vision: "He has put the challenge out there and we have taken it up," she said.
"I just hope he does what he says."
Gillian Mooney had also bought two season cards - one for herself and one for her 79-year-old mother.
"We actually did have season tickets and gave them up but since the takeover and the new team coming in, they have talked us into it," said Gillian, 52.
"It just feels as if it's going to be a turning point this year."
Under eights can get a free season card when bought with an under-22, adult or over 65 season card in the Stadium of Light's Family Zone. Other prices have been reduced by up to 40% for the limited period. The special prices are also guaranteed for three seasons for any supporter who buys before the deadline. After June 22, prices are set to rise.