International Branch: South Africa

South African Sunderland Supporters
Contact: Ian Dury (ID) and Steven McGlynn (SM)

Q: What inspired you to support Sunderland?

ID: My dad, although I wouldn't say inspired. More like told. I think it's like that with most Sunderland supporters. As with most people, you come across fans of the top 4  ( or is it 5 now ) all the time. I always get asked why did I choose Sunderland - "Don't you like winning?". My answer is always the same. I didn't choose. It's a birth right.

SM: I was born there in 74 and we moved to South Africa when I was a kid. Most of my family still in Sunderland. Can't give a reason why I support them still, it's more of a calling. Difficult to explain but true fans will understand.

Q: Have you watched Sunderland ‘til I die on Netflix and what did you think of it?  

ID: I have. I felt conflicted, I was proud to see my team shown on the world stage but sad cause I ultimately knew what lay at the end.

SM: I am waiting for it to come out on DVD but still unsure if I will watch it, it will be like reliving a nightmare.

Q: What was the first Sunderland match you ever watched? Can you remember the score?

ID: On the TV, '92 FA Cup final, yes I do but don't want to talk about it. Live was Dickie Ords testimonial against Steaua Bucharest at Roker Park in 1996. Lost 1-0. Great start.

SM: The first match that springs to mind was the Milk Cup final in 85, I was absolutely inconsolable. I mean to lose a final to an own goal. How cruel is that.

Q: How long have you been supporting Sunderland for?

ID: Officially, since 1983 when I was born. Unofficially probably 92. My first recollection of Sunderland as an actual team was the '92 FA Cup final. When we finally got relegated after all the attempts at it, I got asked who am I going to support now in the Premiership. I said it doesn't work like that. It's a life commitment. Plus my Sunderland tattoo pretty much means I have to.

SM: Well I am 45 now and I cannot recall when I have never been a fan. Whenever family came to visit they would bring SAFC strips and memorabilia.

Q: Roughly, how many Sunderland fans are there in South Africa now that you know of?

ID: Excluding family, 3. I have spotted the odd striped shirt around Johannesburg. Including family, 6. I am hoping to meet many more through here. Funny thing is, the people who know I support Sunderland start to check the Sunderland score as well. I'd like to think that the passion is contagious and they know a proper club when they see one. I'm biased but also, not wrong. 

SM: I have come across more than you would think over the years. The ones I have met are fiercely loyal to the club.

Q: What are your plans for the  South Africa branch?  

ID: I am hoping through the power of social media we can start get all of us on a platform to plan more events together and share in the journey of getting us back up the Premiership. Depending when you reads this and how we doing substitute"Premiership" for "Champions League". On a more real, life social aspect, hopefully put together a HQ where we can meet up and swap stories, beers and victories. The more of any of those the better.

SM: When we get back to the Premiership and our games are on TV we can get planned get together. Right now just to spread the word that we are here.

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