Hundreds of Sunderland fans are getting into the spirit of Christmas by buying tickets to the Black Cats’ Boxing Day game against Bradford City, and donating them back to the club.
The tickets will then be distributed by the club’s charity, the Foundation of Light, to people who might not have been able to go without the generosity of the supporters.
The idea is credited to Sunderland fan Simon Baty, who tweeted the club’s chairman Stewart Donald to ask if he could buy tickets for an adult and two children to the post-Christmas game via the foundation.
The idea soon gathered momentum, with Sunderland fan and Sky Sports Premier League presenter David Jones also backing the idea.
Donald then took to Twitter to get on board, saying: “This is absolutely the kind of club we want,” while supporter liaison officer Chris Waters, who is helping to coordinate the effort, confirmed he had received more than 300 emails on the subject.
“Our supporters are truly amazing,” said Donald. “The response has been fantastic and to see so many Sunderland supporters wanting to play their part in helping others is simply heart-warming.
“I hope that together we can help to make Christmas that little bit more special for as many families as possible.”
Meanwhile Phil King, Foundation of Light assistant commercial director, said: “We work with lots of families and individuals within our region from a range of backgrounds who are passionate Sunderland supporters but can’t always afford to attend matches.
“Thanks to the generosity of our fantastic fans this will be a great Christmas present for them to come and cheer on the lads, and hopefully help them secure another three points.”
To take part supporters are encouraged to email Chris Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact telephone number and the number of tickets they would like to purchase.