Sunderland fan looks to raise support for women’s team
Written by Ben Boyd on 8th November 2023
A Sunderland fan has discussed the idea of setting up cost-effective coaches for away fans, too travel together to watch the Lasses on the road in December in the Women’s League Cup.
Sunderland Women are currently top of the Barclay’s Women’s Championship having just beat local rivals Durham City 1-0 away from home.
The Black Cats’ next away trip is to the Valley to face third-placed Charlton Athletic, which would be more than a 10 hour round-trip if supporters travelled by car.
Charlotte Patterson, a Sunderland fan from Durham and a contributor to Roker Report, posted a poll on X (formerly Twitter) asking her followers and the wider Sunderland fanbase on whether they would be interested in a coach service to take away fans to Blackburn.
Any Sunderland Women’s fans interested in attending our away conti cup game to Blackburn on 13th December? I’m looking at coach hire, but want to see if interest is there
— Charlotte Patterson (@kirbyhazard) November 7, 2023
“I have always wanted to follow Sunderland women away but I’ve usually had something crop up which meant I couldn’t, other than Durham of course.
“Blackburn is our next closest away game and given the form the lasses find themselves in at the moment and the feel-good factor, I’m hoping to head to the game myself.
“I was planning on driving down with a few fans, but it got me thinking about whether others would be more likely to attend an away game if arranged transport was sorted.”
For a Sunderland fan, there are and have been a lot of long away days. Charlton, Watford, Lewes, Southampton and Crystal Palace to name a few.
Charlotte says that the stress of driving long distances, especially by herself, the financial impact of driving that far and the difficulty of getting to certain places has long been a sticking point.
“If we could get some fan coaches up and running which take some of those stresses away and allow fans to travel with other fans, hopefully making it a cheaper and easier alternative.”
It is hoped that the idea will bring more fans together, generating even more interest and adding to the already strong feel-good atmosphere around the club by supporting the Lasses away from home.
Sunderland’s attendances last season were sometimes comparably smaller than their local rivals Durham and Newcastle, says Charlotte.
“The style of football we’re playing at the moment and our unbeaten run is giving confidence and pride to many fans, even those who don’t follow the lasses.
“Hopefully we can do enough to get them to come along and try a game out.”
Though she has suggested Sunderland’s off-the-pitch work could be improved, it is not something that is an exclusively Sunderland ‘problem’.
Referencing Mary Earps and Nike, the England kit manufacturer initially refused to sell the England goalkeeper kits before the decision was u-turned and the kit sold out within hours.
However, Sunderland do not currently sell shirts with their women’s team on the back, something Charlotte says she would love to be able to buy.
“It does not even have to be shirts, but could be printed photographs of players, scarves, hats, pens, key rings, or printed programmes.
“But, it is important to acknowledge the progress that is being made,’’ Charlotte stresses.
“It is something where small steps have to be taken and that’s a good thing. We don’t want to rush into things and commercialise everything like how modern football is these days.
“That is why I love and find women’s football so endearing.
“It is down to earth, you can chat to the players, get to know them and their families and the whole vibe is that of a close knit community.”
Sunderland Women are in action twice this week at Eppleton Colliery, tickets are £5 and can be purchased by clicking this link.