Sunderland AFC’s first-team players have followed in the footsteps of fans and staff by donating tickets as part of the ever-growing Gift of Football initiative.
An incredible effort on all fronts has seen over 1,000 tickets purchased and generously donated back to the Foundation of Light, who have already started spreading the festive cheer throughout the local community.
On Wednesday afternoon, Luke O’Nien teamed up with executive director Charlie Methven, visiting Hendon’s Hudson Road Primary School to hand out the first batch of tickets.
And after making a donation of their own on Thursday, the Lads are planning further surprise visits in the build-up to their Boxing Day clash with Bradford City to ensure nobody misses out this Christmas.
Club captain, George Honeyman, said: “Win, lose or draw, our support has been outstanding this season and as players no single gesture could ever do it justice.
“But while thousands turn up each and every week and enjoy football at the Stadium of Light, we appreciate that many of our supporters are unable to attend games regularly, if at all, so the festive period is the perfect time for us to give something back.
“All of the players have seen the idea growing on social media and it’s been the talk of the dressing room, so we are delighted to be involved and we will be surprising fans throughout the next couple of weeks.”
O’Nien, who took part in the first visit, added: “It was a special experience to visit the school and not only meet the kids, but also their families.“They were so surprised when we handed out the tickets and it was an incredibly heart-warming thing to do, but the fans deserve all the credit because they came up with the idea and it was easy for us as players to get involved.
“You don’t see this kind of gesture very often and once again shows why playing for this football club, and it’s fans, is a privilege.
“Boxing Day is going to be a great occasion for the club, and I’m sure we will deliver on the pitch and ensure it’s a day to remember in more ways than one.”
Supporters wishing to take part in the initiative can purchase special donation tickets via the online box office.
Follow the link below and choose the ‘FoL Donation’ option. You will then be prompted to enter the number of tickets you wish to buy and the price (chose donation 1 for £22 tickets and donation 2 for £25 tickets)
Once you have completed the transaction your donated tickets will be given directly to Foundation of Light.