'Your fans’ behaviour proved this legend of great supporters of Sunderland is no myth' - Charlton fan praises SAFC fans
Sunderland fans have won praise for the way they reacted to the club's League One play-off final defeat to Charlton Athletic.
Charlton supporter Peter J Bills, of London, emailed the Sunderland Echo to praise the 'outstanding sportsmanship' of Black Cats' supporters.
Sunderland's promotion hopes were dashed just six seconds from full-time with Lee Bowyer's Charlton winning promotion to the Championship.
Here is the letter in full:
"Hi, I wanted to write to you following events at Wembley.
"I have been a sportswriter for 50 years and many times, years ago, reported on Sunderland when they came to London.
"I’ve also been a closet Charlton fan all my life and went to Wembley yesterday to see the play off final.
"Of course, I and members of my family were delighted when Charlton scrambled home that late winner, although I empathised deeply with Sunderland’s players and supporters.
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"My reason for writing concerns your supporters. I thought they showed real class after this game. They must have been gutted. Yet, putting that aside, several of them came up to us afterwards offering congratulations.
"They were friendly and up for a chat and wished Charlton well. It was an outstanding example of true sportsmanship and needs repeating to a wider audience.
"I just hope that Charlton’s fans show similar class if and when the tables are turned at a future event and they need to put on a brave face and show their class by congratulating the opposition. Incidentally, I was glad some of Charlton’s players went over to the stricken Sunderland players after the final whistle and helped them to their feet and commiserated.
"Your fans’ behaviour proved to me that this legend of great supporters of Sunderland is no myth. And it was beautiful to see it in action, right there in front of us.
"It’s my hope that Sunderland dominate League One next season and come up. From Charlton’s perspective, I hope I was wrong in what I said to one of your fans after the game.....................’Don’t be too upset. Next season you’ll probably be coming up and we’ll be going down.'
"Thanks guys for your outstanding sportsmanship and go well next season.
"Peter J Bills, London."