Malcolm Dawson writes…..no sooner had I finished my introduction to Pete Sixsmith’s marvellous soapbox (when is it ever anything less than marvellous?) than the following e-mail pinged its way into my inbox. Like most Sunderland fans I want to see 100% commitment from the team and like most Sunderland fans, no matter what the score, no matter how important the game I always try to get behind the players. Despite the fact we have been unable to claw our way out of the relegation zone, under Sam Allardyce these players have shown the never say die attitude we all respect. Sunderland fans, always immense away from home have this season, also been just as influential at the Stadium of Light. Big Sam and his current team have shown how much they appreciate this and for the first time in quite a few years there seems to be a strong bond developing between players and fans. This e-mail from Big Sam is much appreciated and can only strengthen that. Those of us who will be there on Wednesday can do our bit in the push for survival. Yesterday, even when we were behind, the crowd never lost the faith. It’s not like me to be optimistic but let’s hope the Everton game will be as big a celebration as the one against West Brom a couple of years back. Should it prove to be I for one can foresee a huge upturn in the club’s fortunes next season. Ha’way my bonny Lads!

A MESSAGE FROM SAM ALLARDYCE

Big Sam - fulsome in his praise of the fans

Big Sam – fulsome in his praise of the fans

Saturday’s win over Chelsea was a result which made us all – staff, players, fans – proud.

In that game we were backed by a sell-out crowd of over 47,000 – the biggest attendance in the country on the day. You played a key role in a fabulous result and deserve massive credit. The atmosphere was remarkable and a key factor for us, especially when tasked with recovering from 2-1 down.

The roar when Jermain Defoe scored the winner was something special – the sheer level of noise blew me away.

But throughout the game the fans were absolutely magnificent and made it tough for Chelsea.

To achieve a vital victory and move out of the relegation zone was a massive boost for us, but we remain focused ahead of the final week of the season. We have concentrated on keeping our destiny in our own hands; now we are heading into the last push and we know what we have to do.

Another sell-out crowd on Wednesday evening would be another big boost for the players in a key game with much at stake. We need to get the stadium rocking and, together, concentrate on one final push to achieve our ultimate goal.

derby day at the SOL, and it's the same price as the Bullens at Goodison

Let’s Rock!


Ahead of our final home game of the season, I want to say a big thank you to you, our fantastic supporters, for your magnificent backing this season. Home and away, you have stuck with us through thick and thin and it is truly appreciated by myself and the players.

We hope to see you on Wednesday and we will be doing everything possible to achieve the positive results we need over the final two games.

Thanks for your support,

Sam Allardyce

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Born in Hetton le Hole, deputy editor Malcolm Dawson's first game at Roker Park was the three all draw with Leicester City at the beginning of the 64-65 season. Having spent more than thirty years living in the East Midlands, he was Chairman and Information Officer of the Heart of England Branch of the Supporters' Association but has now returned to live in County Durham.

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