Contact: Jules Hypolite and Tony Martini
Jules Hypolite and Tony Martini answered questions together. The branch is also composed of two other members: Hugo Minassian and Steven Boloko.
Q: What inspired you to support Sunderland?
A: When Sunderland was in Premier League, some games were broadcast on french television. It was from there that our enthusiasm for the club began. After this we started to follow every match and we were interested in the news of the club, the players. When the games were in the Stadium of Light, we felt the incredible atmosphere which was confirmed when we attended a game last year (vs Norwich, in Championship).
Q: Have you watched Sunderland ‘til I die on Netflix and what did you think of it?
A: Of course ! This is a good question because we have a story to tell about it. When we went to Sunderland in April last year, we were filmed during our tour of the stadium. We were able to meet a member of the production team, who explained that a series on the club was in filming. When we saw that it was a Netflix series, we were excited! Obviously we are not in one of the episodes but we were in a hurry to watch them. We really appreciate this series which sums up perfectly the situation of the team during that difficult period. The episodes are very well filmed and our point of view on some members of the series has changed. We look forward to seeing the season 2 !
Q: What time are the Sunderland matches on in France and do you watch them with any other supporters?
A: As there is only one hour of jet lag, we can see Sunderland's matches in the afternoon as in England. The only difference can be in the programming of the games: for example Sunderland played sometimes at 12 o'clock (local time), which is relatively early for us in France. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to watch the games with other supporters. It’s pretty hard to know with how many people we could watch it.
Q: What was the first Sunderland match you ever watched? Can you remember the score?
A: It’s difficult to remember the first game of Sunderland on TV, we were quite young ! Our first memories go back to the 2010’s when Canal + broadcasted the derbys against Newcastle and games versus huge teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, etc... However, we obviously remember the first match we saw inside the Stadium of Light which was against Norwich (1-1). Honeyman scores and McGeady missed his penalty.
Q: How long have you been supporting Sunderland for?
A: We have been officially supporting the club since 2015, although we have seen many of Sunderland's games before. The 2015/2016 season was a completely crazy exercise, as there was a change of coaches and Sam Allardyce saved the team in a miraculous way. It was a rescue in the way of “Sunderland” if we can say that!
Q: Roughly, how many Sunderland fans are there in France now that you know of?
A: Honestly, it is very difficult to put a number on that. However, what is certain is that we felt an attention in France when the club was relegated in Championship and after in League One. Moreover, when the series went out on Netflix, the interest for Sunderland grow and we received a lot of messages about the series or from football’s fans who started following the team. We are hopeful a comeback in Championship (and maybe Premier League) which will increase the popularity of the club in France and for sure will create new fans !
Q: What are your plans for the France branch?
A: Obviously, we still want to develop our Twitter account, making it more professional. We hope to attract more Sunderland fans in France and why not organize events to see the games.
Recently, we created the @SAFCFrance instagram account. Our main goal on it is to offer a different way to share the news of the club (stories, posts…). We hope, that the success will be the same as Twitter.