Sunderland will have fans at Town clash - but not in the stands
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Sunderland will welcome fans back to the Stadium of Light for the visit of Ipswich Town next week - but they won’t be in the stands.
The Blues travel north next Tuesday to face the Black Cats in the biggest game of the season so far for Paul Lambert’s men, a real litmus test of their promotion credentials against fellow League One big boys.
And, while the game will be behind closed doors because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some fans will be inside the stadium.
The club have announced plans to stream home and away games in the popular Quinn’s Sports Bar, with fans able to gain admission, an arrival drink and a one-course meal for a price of £20.
It’s something an increasing number of clubs, including Town’s rivals Norwich, are offering - although Covid rules mean that for home games no bar or suite which offers a view onto the pitch can be used.
Town themselves are considering offering streams at Portman Road in due course.
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Sunderland CEO Jim Rodwell has been outspoken about the need to get fans back to games.
“It’s soul destroying for those people who worked so hard to put us in the position to potentially bring fans back,” he told the #SAFCUnfiltered podcast.
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“We, as football, are convinced that we can safely have fans in the stadium.
“We had pilot events that went incredibly well, we were ready and able before the rug was pulled from underneath us. I think the hardest thing to accept about that was the lack of rationale.
“You see things that are going on, full theatres, and we’re just getting told for no real, apparent reason that we can’t have fans. That’s soul destroying.”