The club is aware that a number of fans had difficulties getting into the ground on Saturday, with the regrettable consequence that some fans who travelled a long way to attend the game at Sunderland missed a substantial proportion of the first half of the match.
In common with a number of our fans, we wrote to Sunderland for an explanation as to why this happened. A response was received from the Sunderland’s safety officer, giving an apology and outlining the reasons for the problems on the day.
Sunderland have offered a heartfelt apology to all the fans that experienced long delays getting into the ground on Saturday.
They went on to give some context for the problems that were encountered.
In essence, Sunderland felt that due to potential weather issues and the low number of sales from the additional tickets we requested on top of the first batch of 500, they did not expect to see a big walk up of visiting fans
What happened on the day was that they had a cash turnstile walk up of 299, which is the second largest they’d seen all season (their average walk up is 100). They therefore only opened one cash turnstile based on this.
This was further compounded by the pricing which had an adult ticket at £18, meaning that the vast majority paid with a £20 note, leading to them running out of change due to the size of the walk up.
They did authorise the opening of a second cash turnstile, but this took time to get in place and so had limited impact.
As a result of the problems our fans faced, Sunderland have this week reviewed their processes for opening additional turnstiles quicker and ensuring they have more change available for similarly priced matches.
For the sake of clarity, both we and usually the police will give the home club an indication of our expected away support, in addition to the final pre sales numbers. As a rule of thumb, we typically advise the host club to expect double the number of pre sold tickets, and that is what we advised Sunderland on this occasion. However, it is up to home clubs to make their own decision on final numbers based on their own analysis and in these circumstances, it is possible that miscalculations may be made.
For this reason we urge fans as much as possible to try and buy away tickets during the pre sales period and not on the day, as this is the only way to avoid potential away turnstile issues or even disappointment.