Richard Mennear's tour diary: How Sunderland fans are showing the German supporters how it is done

David Moyes meets Sunderland fans
David Moyes meets Sunderland fans
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Evian-les-Bains is like a home away from home for the Sunderland squad.

Supporters have headed over here in their hundreds, with around 500 or so at the first game against FC Stade Nyonnais.

A nice place to visit but impressive numbers nonetheless.

The chap on the front desk of our hotel told me that when the German national team stayed and trained here there was nowhere near the same amount of fans.

As you'd expect for a pre-season friendly the atmosphere has been relaxed, with the players and new manager David Moyes happily stopping to chat, take selfies and sign autographs for fans.

Moyes looks instantly at home, the majority of fans wanted him to replace Sam Allardyce and the reception he has received since being confirmed will have touched him, no doubt.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva


Sunderland have a busy schedule this week with three games inside the space of seven days as the countdown to the new season continues.

The players have been put through their paces in the heat of south-eastern France and us journos have been tested too.

The Stade Camille-Fournier, home for the first two friendly games, is lacking a press box - no real problem - but also power points. Potentially a major problem.

Striking sculpture in Evian-les-Bains

Striking sculpture in Evian-les-Bains

The juice in the work laptop just about managed to survive the 90 minutes, thankfully there was no extra-time or penalties to be played otherwise I'd have been writing my match report on a postcard and posting it to Echo Towers.

The best news, though, is that we managed to find a free cable-car to take us up to Stade Camille-Fournier for the games and training.

After a sweltering hike up the hill for the first game in the blazing sunshine you cannot imagine the sheer joy of this discovery.


Now, I know what you're all thinking.

An all-expenses paid trip to Lake Geneva for six nights sounds like a pretty jammy week of 'work'.

And you're not wrong. This place is stunning. If you ever get the chance to come to Evian-les-Bains, our base for the week, then do so.

Some of you will no doubt be picturing a scene of me in my hotel bedroom chained to my laptop filing away into the early hours of the morning.

But I always find it is vitally important to embrace the local culture on these pre-season trips abroad...

Also, you can never have too many screen breaks, especially when Lake Geneva is just a stone's throw away.

We have enjoyed a pleasant stroll along the front, taking in the sights, sounds and sculptures that Evian has to offer. There is money here. Lots of money.

And armed police too, with France on a heightened state of alert after the recent spate of terror attacks it is no surprise to see visible security on the streets.

I've only seen a handful but enough to know we live in troubled times.

On a brighter note, there is an actual Evian tap here where people can fill up their water bottles for free. It is literally tap water.

Refreshing though after an evening spent enjoying the picturesque *surroundings.