Sunderland AFC supporters have made history today, by surpassing the League One attendance record for the club’s Boxing Day game against Bradford City.
The previous record of 38,256 was set by Leeds United in 2008 – but Sunderland supporters have already beaten that figure, with a week of sales still to come.
The record-breaking 38,257th ticket was purchased from the Stadium of Light ticket office on Wednesday afternoon, by Andrew Lee, who will be welcomed onto the pitch at half-time on Boxing Day and join the directors in Quinn’s Bar after the game.
Speaking after buying two tickets for the game, Andrew said: “When Sunderland are playing you want to be there, that’s what being a supporter is all about. I can’t wait for the game.”
Speaking about the record-breaking attendance, Sunderland AFC executive director Charlie Methven said: “What a phenomenal achievement by our supporters and what a statement to the football world that Sunderland is on its way back.
“From the moment Stewart Donald and I came to the north east back in May, our mission was to repair the club’s fractured relationship with its supporters. They are integral to everything we do and to any success we hope to achieve, so to see them returning in such huge numbers is both humbling and heart-warming.
“Boxing Day is going to be a very special day for all of us at the club. After years of hurt, Sunderland fans deserve to see their legendarily loyal and passionate support rewarded with a day to remember. We will also be re-christening the home end as ‘The Roker End’ just before the match starts, which feels really appropriate given the decibel level of the Roker Roar that should greet the players when they come out of the tunnel.”
The 2018-19 season has seen the Stadium of Light record unprecedented attendance numbers for the third-tier of English football, with crowds averaging over 30,000 per game. Manchester City holds the third tier record for the highest average League One attendance, with a figure of 28,261 from their 1998-99 promotion season. City’s highest league gate in that season was 32,040.