Last season we got 2,282, though Sunderland City Council would have given us 1,700 had United not offered to put in place a raft of safety measures.
The main one was to ensure that only loyalty pot members were given tickets in the bottom half of the away end.
The inspiration for this came from a similar method used by Newcastle for their match at Sunderland:
Newcastle only sold tickets to their most frequent travelling fans, who Sunderland felt would stick to the ground regulations out of fear of Newcastle stopping them travelling.
At first glance, it seems whether that system worked or not is almost irrelevant because Sunderland has quite literally moved the goalpost for this season.
The away end has moved from the South Stand to the highest tier of the North Stand, presented a completely different set of challenges.
With it being higher up and steeper, we assumed Sunderland would try to further reduce the allocations of fans of clubs who they reduced last season.
But that doesn’t seem to have happened.
Here is a list of all the clubs who’ve had their allocations cut by Sunderland City Council this season:
|Club||2011/12 allocation||2012/13 allocation|
|West Ham United||2,800|
Not only have they not further reduced allocations, they have, in one case, increased it.
And which club has benefited from this rise? Newcastle.
We’re not sure, but it’s extremely likely that Sunderland were happy that Newcastle at least attempted to cooperate with them and so rewarded them for it with extra tickets.
The only other club to cooperate with Sunderland in this way is United….so that’s at least reason for optimism.
There is still a lot of time to go before the game and MUST and Reds Away have already offered to help Sunderland AFC in publicising any safety information it wants to put across to fans.
United will probably offer help again and, fans’ group representatives will have the opportunity to talk about the issue at a public meeting, probably taking place in Sunderland, probably on February 25 in Sunderland.