DANISH AND IRISH SUNDERLAND SUPPORTERS BRANCH
Northern Ireland Contact
Contact: James Rafferty
Find out more about James below.
What inspired you to support Sunderland?
Basically when I was about 8 or so all my friends in school all supported the usual teams United etc, and I hated this. So then Niall Quinn my favourite Irish player at that time signed for Sunderland and my best friend also Newcastle, so I decided Sunderland were my team and it very quickly changed from a hobbie to religion.
Have you watched Sunderland ‘til I die on Netflix and what did you think of it?
Yeah about 3 times over now lol!! What I liked about it was the fact it showed the nitty gritty and not the all glossy Man City version. It was obviously a negative period in our clubs history but it really show cased the passion of the fans in Sunderland and how the club is more than just football to them. Gauging by the outside reaction a lot of people seem to having taken on Sunderland as their team to support or even a second team to follow. Which is excellent for the club on a global scale.
Where are you currently based?
I live in Ireland, in a small village called Clonoe on South West Corner of lough Neagh. We have other members based in Ireland and then rest are based in Denmark.
What time are the Sunderland matches on where you live and do you watch them with any other supporters?
Living where I am all kick off times are the same so its easy from that perspective, but my partner Sarah and daughter Ceallagh are also Sunderland mad so we all watch the games together each week. The guys in Denmark are watching the 3pm kickoffs at 4pm as they are an hour ahead. If all goes to plan and the branch continues to grow we will organise few meetups per season in both countries so fans can get together.
What was the first Sunderland match you ever watched? Can you remember the score?
Growing up I didnt have Sky TV so it was difficult but the first game I really can remember live is the play off final v Charlton and I dont think we should dwell on the score lol. But I know with Danish guys when they were younger they would have to wait on Mondays paper for results or phone a sports results hotline and wait for it to reach the English 2nd division...how times have changed.
How long have you been supporting Sunderland for?
Big Quinny signed in 1996 so around 22/23 years. The Danish guys have been supporting them 36 years now... and it all started for them with randomly opening a sticker book at Sunderland!!
Roughly, how many Sunderland fans are there in Denmark and Ireland that you know of?
In Ireland we have quite a big following I would say its easily in the hundreds, Denmark we are not so sure but there are at least 20 that we know off and more and more are follwing us online all the time.
What are your plans for the Danish Irish branch?
The plan is to spread the word on social media and continue to grow the branch in both countries and meet more Sunderland mad people like ourselves. Other than the plan will be to arrange match trips and meet ups to watch games together and talk all things SAFC.