Charlie Methven on the record he's determined to break and why it could give Sunderland a January edge

Charlie Methven has set an ambitious target for Boxing Day
Charlie Methven has set an ambitious target for Boxing Day
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Charlie Methven has repeated his call for Sunderland to break the 40,000 barrier on Boxing Day, and says it could give the club a January boost.

As of last Friday, 27,500 Sunderland fans had snapped up tickets for the visit of Bradford City, with 2,500 away supporters expected.

Methven says the stiff target was part of ensuring the club showed 'sufficient determination to achieve new successes'.

If they manage it, he says they will smash a third division record that has stood for almost 40 years.

"I hope and believe that the Lads will make it a happy festive season on Wearside," he wrote in the Red & White programme.

"We - fans, directors and staff - also have our part to play, though.

"That is why I have set SAFC a target of becoming the first Third Division club in almost 40 years to notch a home attendance of 40,000, against Bradford City on Boxing Day.

"This is a very tough goal for us all to reach.

"The last third tier game to achieve it was the 1979 Sheffield derby at Hillsborough - if it were out our derby, we'd sell out easily too!

"So, in reality, 40,000 against BCFC would be the highest single 'normal' game attendance in 50 odd years at this level."

Methven says the extra revenue could also serve as a boost for the recruitment department.

Since the arrival of the new owners, the club have pursued an aggressive strategy to raise revenues in order to increase their playing budget.

Methven admitted in October that the as it stood, players would have to leave before Jack Ross recruits.

"Let's be brutally clear: professional sport is a highly competitive environment, where everyone is looking for an edge," Methven added.

"Other clubs charge more and have bigger business sponsorship - our edge, conversely, lies in weight of numbers.

"An extra 10,000 fans on Boxing Day lone equals an additions £250,000 or revenue.

"If we are then competing against a League One rival or a Championship side for a player's signature, in January or in June, that extra £250,000 gives us the edge to sign a player without breaking our budget.

"We may achieve our target. We may not.

"But by trying very, very hard to do so we will learn lessons, improve and have some fun."