'Was it a warning sign?' - 'Bruised' Sunderland fans bemoan transport woes for first game of the season

Fed-up football fans have spoken of their struggles to try to get to the first game of the season.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th August 2019, 3:59 pm
SAFC supporters photographed during the 1-1 draw against OUFC, 03-08-19. Picture by FRANK REID
SAFC supporters photographed during the 1-1 draw against OUFC, 03-08-19. Picture by FRANK REID

Some supporters headed for Sunderland's home game against Oxford United at the Stadium of Light on Saturday only to have their travel plans hit by train problems.

James Earl, of Leeds, who describes himself as a "well-bruised Sunderland AFC season ticket holder", said: "Is the first York to Sunderland train of the new football season being cancelled a warning sign?"

Lewis Dimmock tweeted: "Nice one Grand central train line cancelling the 8:06 to Sunderland because of a shortage of drivers leaving loads of us lads fans and oxford fans scrapping about trying to make the kick off."

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It came after Grand Central Rail said the 8.06am train from London King's Cross to Sunderland had been cancelled due to a shortage of train crew.

Stephen Gofton tweeted: "Loads of Sunderland fans, a smattering of pools fans and just noticed some of Sutton team staff looking perplexed.. useless GC" while Lesley Mfon added that it was "not good on 1st day of football season".

A Grand Central rail spokesman said: "Due to operational issues on today's services, Grand Central has made alternative arrangements for customers travelling to the Sunderland/Oxford match, with Grand Central tickets accepted on Virgin, TransPennine and Cross Country services. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused."

Black Cats fans had been hoping to see the game kickstart their promotion hopes after back-to-back relegations were followed by a thwarted campaign last season to see the club begin its climb back to the Premiership.

Train delays also forced Sutton United to reassure its fans that the team were on their way to the match against Hartlepool United FC.

Sutton United tweeted they were about "half an hour behind schedule due to late running of the service into London" before they arrived at Hartlepool's home ground in time for the kick-off.