Sunderland at Wembley: City leaders and business chiefs praise Black Cats
Business and civic leaders across Sunderland have welcomed the boost Sunderland’s trip to Wembley will give the city.
Jack Ross’ side beat semi-final opponents Bristol Rovers 2-0 on Tuesday night to set up a Checkatrade Final clash with Portsmouth on March 31.
Pompey set the pace in the early stages of the League One promotion race, and though the south coast side have fallen back in recent weeks, Sunderland City Council leader Coun Graeme Miller is predicting a hard-fought match.
“Sunderland football club appearing at Wembley for another cup final in any competition, is always fantastic for everybody in our city,” he said.
“It will be a marvellous occasion for the players, manager and owners of the team and, of course, the fans, whose loyalty and support following their team home and away is what makes our club so special.
“Supporters not just from Sunderland but from across the world will all be looking forward to the Checkatrade cup final against one of our biggest rivals this season, and I’m sure many are already making their travel plans for the big day.
“I can’t wait – Ha’way the Lads.”
MP Julie Elliott, whose Sunderland Central constituency covers the Stadium of Light, said: “Congratulations to Sunderland getting to the Checkatrade trophy final, it is wonderful news.
“This is Sunderland getting back to where we belong, playing in big games with the chance of winning trophies.
“It is no small part a result of the incredible support that the fans have given the team this season.
“I hope the many thousands of supporters who will travel down to watch the game at Wembley a safe journey, and I really hope they bring the trophy back to Sunderland with them.”
Her Washington and Sunderland West colleague Sharon Hodgson added: “It’s great to hear that one of the region’s biggest teams is heading to Wembley for the final of the EFL Trophy.
“Football means so much to the North East, and especially for Tyne and Wear, so to see any local club doing well is good news for us all.
“We all know how the last few seasons have gone for Sunderland, so hopefully this will set the lads back on the path to success.
“I look forward to seeing a trophy being raised in red on Mother’s Day.”
Natasha McDonough chairs the North East of England Chamber of Commerce’s Sunderland committee. She said the prospect of a Wembley final was sparking excitement.
“It is a huge deal for the city,” she said.
“It is about getting a new generation of supporters reinvesting in the club, and a day out to Wembley is going to be great for kids and adults alike.
“The business community is buzzing. Everybody is talking about how to get hold of tickets.”