Sunderland A.F.C. supporters are the followers of Sunderland A.F.C. an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Sunderland A.F.C. were formed in 1879 and joined The Football League for the 1890–91 season.They experienced an immediate period of success with five league titles in a decade between 1892 and 1902, and added subsequent titles in 1913 and 1936. Supporters of the club, and people from Sunderland in general, are traditionally called Mackem's, but during their near century long tenure at Roker Park they were also referred to as Rokerites and Rokermen.
The club has had a historically large and passionate following, with the club seeing attendance figures larger than other more fashionable clubs. For instance a 2019 by the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) showed that over the prior 5 seasons (2013 to 2018) Sunderland recorded the 38th highest average attendance in world football with an average of 39,249 fans at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland's average attendance were higher over that period than perennial title challengers such as Juventus F.C. in Italy and FC Porto in Portugal.Despite relegation from the Premier League in 2017 the club has continued to post large annual average attendance figures, recording over 30,000 for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, enough for 16th in the country. Following relegation from the The Championship at the end of the 2018 season, Sunderland broke the League One division attendance record on 26 December 2018 in a match against Bradford City with a total of 46,039 fans.
According to the club there are over 70 branches of official Supporters' Clubs in England and around the world, including North Korea.The Official clubs are represented collectively by a Branch Liaison Council that was formed in the 1970's. In addition the club has had a SAFC Liaison Group (SLG) since 1994 that works with fans on club issues and an independent supporters group, the Red & White Army (RAWA).
The fans most enduring fanzines is A Love Supreme . The fanzine was first published in 1989 and has won several awards for best Fanzine.Since 2010 the online fanzine Roker Report has operated on the SB Nation blogging network.
Supporters of A.F.C. Sunderland have historically been named Mackems as are the populace of the city. However, during their near 100-year history at Roker Park both the fans and the club were also known as Rokerites while club and players were sometimes known as Rokermen, Roker Men or derivatives of.The old nicknames became obsolete after the club left Roker Park for the Stadium of Light in 1997 but have stayed in use.
In 2000 a public vote was held for supporters to choose the first ever official nickname for the club from five options picked by the club. The overwhelming number of respondents supported the nickname of 'The Black Cats'.The origin of the nickname has been speculated on and various stories may be apocryphal, but the imagery of a black cat has long been associated with the club both on the crest and memorabilia, and was used throughout the clubs history on club merchandise and supporters clubs prior to becoming official.
Sunderland held the seventh highest average home attendance out of the 20 clubs in the Premier League at the end of the 2013–14 season with an average of 41,089,and held the sixth highest average attendance in the 2014–15 season with an average of over 43,000.
During the 2018-19 season, Sunderland broke the League One division attendance record on 26 December 2018 in a match against Bradford City with a total of 46,039 fans.
According to a YouGov poll in 2014, supporters of Sunderland showed a tendency towards left politics.
In 2013 the club appointed Paolo Di Canio as manager. Di Canio was long associated with Italian Fascism having spoke generously of Benito Mussolini in his 2001 autobiography.During the 2010 season he was pictured giving the Roman salute salute while playing for S.S. Lazio against clubs considered to have left leaning politics.
In response to his appointment club vice-chairman David Miliband resigned.The appointment also met with opposition from the Durham Miners' Association which threatened to remove one of its mining banners from Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
A song heard in every match is one to the chorus of "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley, with "Sunderland" being sang repeatedly after "but I can't help falling in love with you."
During Gus Poyet's tenure, Sunderland fans started singing "Things Can Only Get Better" by D:Ream.Supporters of Sunderland launched a campaign to get the song back into the chart, to coincide with their team's Capital One Cup Final on 2 March 2014 at Wembley Stadium. On 3 March 2014, the song re entered in the UK Dance Chart at No. 19.
Two of the most famous chants by Sunderland supporters are "I'm Sunderland till I die..." and "We're by far the greatest team, the World has ever seen" – with the former being chosen as the title of the Netflix show Sunderland 'Til I Die.One of the oldest Sunderland chants is "Ha'way the lads..." which was sang at Sunderland games as far back as the 1960s.
Sunderland fans can be seen in of one of the earliest football paintings in the world – possibly the earliest – when in 1895 the artist Thomas M. M. Hemy painted a picture of a game between Sunderland and Aston Villa at Sunderland's then ground Newcastle Road.
In 2018 television producers and Sunderland fans Ben Turner, Gabe Turner and Leo Pearlman co-produced the Netflix documentary series Sunderland 'Til I Die with their production company Fulwell 73.The "Fulwell End" was the name of a stand at Roker Park and "73" is a reference to the 1973 FA Cup Final, the last time the club won a major trophy. The production company had been linked with a takeover of the club in 2017 but had pulled out prior to the start of filming.
The show ran for two seasons and was a behind the scenes fly on the wall documentary following the trials and tribulations of the club following their relegation from the Premier League, often featuring the perspective of fans of the club.
Traditionally, Sunderland's main rivals are Newcastle United, with whom they contest the Tyne–Wear derby. Sunderland also shares a rivalry with Middlesbrough, commonly known as the Tees–Wear derby. The club shared a rivalry with the now defunct Sunderland Albion in the 1880s and 1890s, a breakaway club formed by Sunderland's founder James Allan.In recent seasons the club has also developed a minor rivalry with Portsmouth, mainly stemming from the clubs meeting each other 5 times in the 18/19 season. Conversely, sections of fans share a mutual friendship with Dutch club Feyenoord; this was developed after Wearside shipbuilders found jobs in Rotterdam during the 1970s and 80s.
The club also has good relations with Norwich City, matches between the two clubs being known as the Friendship Trophy, following good rapport in the 1985 Milk Cup final.
The most famous hooligan firm is the Seaburn Casuals, named after the Seaburn area near Roker Park stadium, even though early hooligan firms of Sunderland fans appeared as far back as the 1970s and the 1980s, like the Vauxies (named after the Vaux Breweries), who were active in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
At the end of the 1999–2000 and the 2002–03 seasons, Sunderland topped the hooliganism table in the Premier League with 223 and 154 fan arrests, respectively.According to official data released by the Football Banning Order Authority, Sunderland's fanbase was named third most dangerous in English football in 2013–14, and in particular, a group called The Sunderland Youth Firm was noted in the context of its clashes with West Ham United fans.
Before the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 26 Seaburn Casuals hooligans were arrested in a police raid after a military-issue smoke bomb was let out at a local pub after a fight with bouncers. By the end of the operation, over 60 were facing charges. Some of the Seaburn Casuals hooligans picked up in the raid were also involved with neo-Nazi groups like Combat 18. The operation failed when judge ruled CCTV footage from the pub inadmissible.
In March 2002, the Seaburn Casuals fought with hooligans from the Newcastle Gremlins in a pre-arranged clash near the North Shields Ferry terminal, in what was described as "some of the worst football related fighting ever witnessed in the United Kingdom".The leaders of the Gremlins and Casuals were both jailed for four years for conspiracy, with 28 others jailed for various terms, based on evidence gained after police examined the messages sent by mobile phone between the gang members on the day.
Notable supporters with verifiable citations confirming their support or allegiance for Sunderland are listed.
Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Sunderland plays in League One, the third tier of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight titles, a total only bettered by five other clubs, and has finished runners-up five times. The club has also won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Charity Shield in 1936 and being finalists the following year. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014.
The Stadium of Light is an all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England and the eighth and current home to Sunderland A.F.C. With space for 49,000 spectators, the Stadium of Light is the ninth largest stadium in England. The stadium primarily hosts Sunderland A.F.C. home matches. The stadium was named by chairman Bob Murray to reflect the coal mining heritage of the North East and the former Monkwearmouth Colliery site on which it stands. A Davy lamp monument stands at the entrance to reflect the coal mining industry that brought prosperity to the town.
Paolo Di Canio is an Italian former professional footballer and manager. During his playing career he made over 500 league appearances and scored over one hundred goals as a forward. He primarily played as a deep-lying forward, but he could also play as an attacking midfielder, or as a winger. A talented yet controversial player, Di Canio was known for his technical skills as well as his temperamental character.
Seaburn is a seaside resort and northeastern suburb of Sunderland, North East England. Seaburn lies within historic County Durham. The village of Whitburn borders the area to the north. To the west and south-west is Fulwell and to the south the coastal resort of Roker.
Roker is a tourist resort and affluent area of Sunderland, North East England, bounded on the south by the River Wear and Monkwearmouth, on the east by the North Sea, to the west by Fulwell and on the north by Seaburn. It is administered as part of the City of Sunderland and lies within historic County Durham.
Phillip Anthony Bardsley is a professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Burnley and he has represented the Scotland national team.
Roker Park was an English football stadium situated in Roker, Sunderland. The stadium was the seventh home of the English football club Sunderland A.F.C. from 1898 to 1997 before the club moved to the Stadium of Light. Near the end of the stadium's history, its capacity was around 22,500 with only a small part of the stadium being seated. The stadium's capacity had been higher in previous years, attracting a record crowd of 75,118.
Fulwell is an affluent area and former civil parish in the City of Sunderland. The parish was abolished in 1928 as a result of the Sunderland Corporation Act 1927, and the area incorporated into the former County Borough of Sunderland. It borders Seaburn, Southwick, Monkwearmouth, and Roker, and the district border between Sunderland and South Tyneside. Fulwell ward, including South Bents and Seaburn, is the least socially deprived of the city's 25 wards.
Sunderland Association Football Club are an English association football club based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. They were formed in 1879, and played several years in the FA Cup and local cup competitions before joining the Football League in the 1890–91 season in place of Stoke. They played in the top league in England until the 1957–58, season when they were relegated into the Second Division. Sunderland are England's sixth most successful club of all time, having won the English League championship six times: in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and, most recently, in 1936. They have also been runners-up on a further five occasions: in 1894, 1898, 1901, 1923 and 1935.
Philip John Parkinson is an English professional football manager and former player who played as a midfielder. He was most recently manager of League One club Sunderland.
The Tyne–Wear derby, also known as the North East derby, is a local derby between the association football clubs Sunderland and Newcastle United. The derby is an inter-city rivalry in North East England with the two cities of Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne just 12 miles (19 km) apart. Sunderland play their home matches at the Stadium of Light whilst Newcastle play their home matches at St. James' Park. The first meeting of the two sides took place in 1883, with the first competitive fixture being an FA Cup tie in 1888 which Sunderland won 2–0 over Newcastle East End.
Newcastle Gremlins are a football hooligan firm associated with the English football club, Newcastle United F.C.
The County Road Cutters are a hooligan firm associated with Premier League football club Everton F.C.
Beginning in at least the 1960s, the United Kingdom gained a reputation worldwide for football hooliganism; the phenomenon was often dubbed the British or English Disease. However, since the 1980s and well into the 1990s the UK government has led a widescale crackdown on football related violence. While football hooliganism has been a growing concern in some continental European countries in recent years, British football fans now tend to have a better reputation abroad. Although reports of British football hooliganism still surface, the instances now tend to occur at pre-arranged locations rather than at the matches themselves.
Fulwell 73 is a British television, film and music production company based in London. It was founded in 2005 by brothers Gabe and Ben Turner, Leo Pearlman, and Ben Winston. James Corden became the fifth full time partner in 2017. Fulwell 73 operates across a wide range of genres and across all media platforms; theatrical, broadcast and digital.
Gabe Turner is a British director and executive producer, known for directing documentary feature films In The Hands of The Gods, The Class of '92, and I Am Bolt. In 2014, he wrote and directed his first scripted feature film The Guvnors. He has also made music videos for One Direction, Demi Lovato, Harry Styles, and Olly Murs. He is a partner at TV and Film production company Fulwell 73.
The 2018–19 season was Sunderland's 140th season in existence, and their first season in the third tier of English football since 1987, after relegation from the Championship the previous season. Along with competing in League One, the club also participated in the FA Cup and EFL Cup as well as the EFL Trophy. The season covered the period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
Sunderland 'Til I Die is a sports documentary series. Produced by Fulwell 73, the series documents the events around English football club Sunderland A.F.C..
Charles Harry Finlayson Methven is a public relations consultant, journalist and publisher, who has also been a football club executive, most recently at Sunderland AFC, where he is a part-owner.
Seaburn Casuals are a football hooligan firm associated with the English football club, Sunderland A.F.C. The group's activity was prominent in the 90s and the early 00s, with the club being involved in some of the most violent incidents in British hooligan history, in what was described as "some of the worst football related fighting ever witnessed in the United Kingdom," and sometimes topping the football arrests table.
I needed to do something creative which had an end result. If you have writer's block, obsessing about it is the worst thing you can do and I knew that whatever else happened I had to get on with things. My partner John is a massive Sunderland fan; I went with him to a game and, that was it, I was hooked. Turning to football didn't cure the writer's block, but it helped. In the end there was no Eureka moment, it just gradually lifted. Suddenly I was able to finish all those half-written songs.