Charlie Methven's message for Sunderland supporters with near 40,000 attendance expected for Portsmouth clash

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Charlie Methven says he hopes Sunderland's crunch clash with Portsmouth will be a 'celebration' of two sides who have 're-found themselves in adversity'.

The game comes as Methven and Chairman Stewart Donald mark a year since agreeing to buy the club from Ellis Short.

A bumper crowd is expected for Sunderland's crunch clash with Portsmouth

A bumper crowd is expected for Sunderland's crunch clash with Portsmouth

A draw with Peterborough United on Monday means that Sunderland's automatic promotion hopes are out of their own hands.

A win against Kenny Jackett's side would apply significant pressure on Barnsley ahead of the final week of the campaign.

After a remarkable Wembley final between the two just under a month ago, the Black Cats Executive Director says the two sides are proof that it isn't only about results on the pitch.

Writing in his pre-match programme notes ahead of the game, Methven said: "It is truly a privilege to be a part of it [the occasion]. I hope that you feel that way too, and feel that matches at the SoL are again starting to feel like real sporting occasions and a great day out.

"For the home game against Doncaster on Good Friday, we had the Beacon of Light and the Fanzone operating at full blast before the game. Hours of activities for children and adults, and both were packed out.

"Inside the stadium, the continuing programme of improvements to the Roker End are starting to bear fruit, which is a real credit to the volunteer fans and the club staff who have made that happen. I thought that the atmosphere was the best we have seen all season – it’s a world away from what I saw when I came to the last home game of last season against Wolves.

"The truth is that the success of a football club is not just about results on the pitch. It is about spirit, togetherness, fun and a sense of direction. Anybody who doesn’t believe me only has to look at today’s opponents.

"Just ten years ago, Pompey were FA Cup holders. But it was false success, built on sand. As a result, the club crashed soon after and descended the divisions with unseemly haste. If you believe in the premise that the only thing that matters is league status and wins on the pitch then what happened next must seem bizarre.

"The fans bought the club out of administration, turned it back into a proper club, re-found their mojo and started attending in even bigger numbers than they had in the Premier League. I went to Fratton several times in that period and whilst the team was, let’s be kind, a League Two work in progress, the atmosphere was unbelievable. The fans had their club back.

"That is the same goal that we have been trying to achieve this season at Sunderland: to restore a sense of shared ownership; unity; joyfulness; a lack of cynicism. And so it follows that I hope that today will be seen as a celebration of two clubs who have re-found themselves in adversity and who now have a better sense of who they are than in the days when they were rich men’s playthings.

"That said, I passionately hope that we will turn our opponents over today. So Ha’Way The Lads, for what I hope will be the last home programme notes this season."

Methven also said that the attendance should be around the 40,000 mark.

Pompey have sold out their allocation with over 3,000 fans making the journey north.