Stewart Donald defends Sunderland's Checkatrade derby ticket prices and reveals Newcastle away allocation

Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has defended the club's decision to raise ticket prices for the upcoming Checkatrade game with Newcastle United U23s
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has defended the club's decision to raise ticket prices for the upcoming Checkatrade game with Newcastle United U23s
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Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has defended the club's decision to raise ticket prices for the Checkatrade Trophy derby with Newcastle United U21s.

The Wear-Tyne rivals will meet at the Stadium of Light in early January as Sunderland host the Magpies' young guns in the third round.

The Black Cats confirmed the game would take place on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 with a 7:45pm kick-off and Donald revealed Newcastle could bring as many 5,000 fans.

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Tickets prices for the fixture had shocked sections of the Sunderland support after the club announced it would be £15 for adults and £5 for u16s and over 65s.

Paying adults will have to pay an extra £12 compared to the £3 paid for the 2-0 win over Notts County in the previous round.

Answering fans' queries via his Twitter account, the Cats owner justified the prices - insisting it won't "be a payday" for the club because of increased policing and stewarding costs.

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He tweeted: "I appreciate it has gone up but Newcastle have asked for a lot of tickets and the police bill, stewarding and general cost of the game etc is so much more due to that than the other games.

"We have tried to keep it sensible & we're certainly not likely to make much money based on costs. Just simply the cost of the fixture.

"Unlike all the other games with the volume of Newcastle fans expected to travel according to them then we have to police, steward and staff accordingly. That is I'm afraid, a completely different cost to opening one stand.

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"We have tried to price sensibly. Opening one stand for a low risk game has a completely different cost base to a game against our biggest rivals who want their full allocation regardless of who is in their team.

"I have never been to a Newcastle v Sunderland game but judging by the security planning I can see why it is so expensive to stage & you can not unfortunately cover that at £3 a ticket no matter how much we would like to."

Under Checkatrade rules, Donald revealed Newcastle requested a full allocation for the highly-anticipated encounter - 10% of the Stadium of Light's capacity - which ultimately affected the club's decision-making ahead of the fixture in the new year.

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"As soon as Newcastle requested their full allocation the costs for Police, stewards, etc etc went boom understandably. It won't be a payday with our costs," he added.

"Although it is their youth team as you say, as soon as they requested their full allocation the costs involved in staging the game have become huge. We cant cover that at £3 no matter how much we would like to. Opening 1 stand just isn't the same cost base

"Under competition rules they are entitled 10 percent of our capacity so just short of 5000 tickets potentially."