In which we praise the efforts of Sunderland AFC, through its official website, edited by Stu Vose, to engage with fans in a non-official way …
It is a sad fact of life that professional football clubs treat fans, or rather those fans with little platforms (eg, in Sunderland’s case, from ALS to Salut! Sunderland) with a mixture of suspicion and disdain.
SAFC are no worse than the rest, perhaps in some ways better.
In our own experience, Celtic (and Martin O’Neill, then manager) simply didn’t have the courtesy to reply to written requests for a quick interview for 5573 (now Wear Down South), the magazine of the London and SE branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association. When SuperKev was at Birmingham City, the club pompously made it clear that under no circumstances would players be permitted to speak to a jumped-up fanzine, even to the extent of answering a short list of questions.
Provided I do not compare my dealings with those I had recently with the French Ligue 1 side Nice, who made it instantly possible for me to speak to Eric Roy, our ex-midfielder and their current manager, Sunderland are OK. Well, courteous. It’s always No, but the No comes dressed in a cloak of what Eric would call politesse.
But it is good to see that internally at least, people are being allowed to seem as if part of the real world.
I enjoyed the press officer Louise Wanless’s blogs from South Africa, and told her so even in an e-mail asking for some minor favour I knew she’d refuse.
And Stu Vose is doing an admirable job as editor of the official site, notably today as transfer fever mounts.
His chronology of the day’s comings and goings has been exemplary, presenting him as one who is as frustrated as anyone by the lack of official word from the only club that truly matters to us.
1343: DONE DEAL Ooh, a deal’s gone through. Leeds’ Lubo Michalik to Carlisle on loan. Wish there was something more to report!
And little earlier:
1334: A number of deals seem to be close around the country but nothing yet. Also, no news SAFC-wise. Sorry!
And a few minutes before that:
1321: Only six deals confirmed around the country so far. Could we be set for a busy afternoon? Here’s hoping.
It’s small beer. But it shows a desire on the club’s part to engage with the fans, albeit on their own narrow terms.
Stu is even allowed to join in the fun of speculation, as these earlier updates show:
1116: Rumours suggesting former Sunderland striker Anthony Stokes is heading to Celtic to link up with Daryl Murphy.
1114: We’re just getting team news in for the reserves. More on safc.com as soon as we can. Meanwhile Gyan and N’Zogbia look like fans’ favourites to arrive today. But will anyone leave? We’ll have to wait and see.
And it was refreshing to see one item actually designated a “Sunderland Rumour”:
0939: SUNDERLAND RUMOUR: Rumours on the BBC suggesting Martyn Waghorn could be on the verge of a £2m move to Leicester City. SV
But best of all was this, hot on the heels of further whispers about N’Zogbia;
1003: Genius tweet just in from officialAHBell. He says: “just walked past the club shop at the SoL. They were taking delivery of a truckload of iron-on apostrophes.”
Great stuff, Stu (and Kate Smith). But what’s really happening? We bet you know!