Sunderland on Saturday


If you like ever decreasing circles and feeling exasperated, have a go at trying to understand what the ticketing arrangements are for home fans on Saturday.

The only rule is that you can only look online.

If somebody navigates this maze it might be useful for others to know:-

  • is it all ticket?
  • is this category a or b game thus determining the price of the tickets?
  • can you buy tickets on the day of the game or, up to what point can you buy tickets?

Good luck!


My exact thoughts. From reading online I think they’ve been allocated (and sold) 3,600, which I think would mean they’ve been allocated the entire family stand aswell as behind the goal.

It’s interesting, if this is correct, how the club are willing to inconvenience season ticket holders for some extra ££. However, if the issue of unreserved seating/restructuring of the seating arrangements to improve the atmosphere is brought up, then the club will all too quickly knock it back with some vague reasoning around policing/security.

As usual, the principles of our Board go out the window when the pound signs start flashing…


Think I’ve worked it out.

It looks like it is a category A game which means it costs more.

It also looks like it is all ticket but only for people who have a booking history. If you don’t, I don’t think you’re allowed in.

Now, I get what Tom above is saying but I don’t think we have given them the whole of the family stand which from my point of view is a shame. I would have given them all of that plus the block and a half of the main stand. So a total allocation of about 5,400.

The extra 1,800 tickets could have got close to satisfying Sunderland demand which in turn would have made us less paranoid about some of them getting in with us and made it easier for Walsall fans to get tickets. I’ve already seen Walsall fans saying they can’t be arsed.

Instead we will have over 3,000 empty seats. Which is absolutely bonkers.


All for giving them as many tickets as they can sell . Improves the atmosphere and match day experience and extra revenue that we need with our stay away fans


I used to laugh at Bury and the blatant disregard for their own fans as they were outnumbered at home regularly and would give large away followings behind each goal - usually a place for the core vocal home support.

But now we find ourselves in a similar ridiculous position. We had never been outnumbered at home in all my years and now it is going to happen twice in 4 weeks - how have we got here?

I just can’t get wound up anymore, I just feel sorry for our poor players. The fact that this is Category A game just shows what a complete nonsense these categories are.

Rip this system up and start again - but it’s not gonna happen.


Absolutely agree in principle with giving teams that require it the extra allocation. It just makes the club’s well trodden excuses for not trying different initiatives to improve the atmosphere obsolete.

Really looking forward to Saturday, reminds me a bit of that Boxing Day fixture against Sheffield Wednesday in 11/12…


I agree Tom. They definitely play fast and loose with “police advice”.


Me to think we perform better with the underdog tag really looking forward to saturdays game as long as the boys put in a performance and give 100% against let’s be honest a team that have much bigger expectations than ourselves and are expected to win . Love upsetting the apple cart UTS


The Admission price section says five Cat A games this season, Sloppies, Coventry, Sunderland, Bristol Rovers (wondered why but big away following and Boxing day game) and Pompey.


And already two of these ‘Category A’ games; Coventry & Shrewsbury, have attracted two of the lowest turnouts in the home areas.

If their approach is to put a system in place so that when you are anticipating a big crowd you put off most of the home support and all floating fans then to be fair, they are smashing it! It just shows what a ridiculous nonsense this category thing is. Outdated, no longer fit for purpose - just like the board.


I don’t agree with the category A B matches strategy. Even if I did it would only make sense if we were regularly attracting near capacity crowds. These are just the sort of games that might attract a few lapsed fans or neutrals to turn up. Why then create a disincentive of higher prices? Mad.
It’s just a way of fleecing an expected big away following who will have spent a lot already getting down to Walsall and I don’t agree with that either,


With regards to Category A & B games I tried a bit of google work to try and understand it all and came across this article from the Guardian (admittedly dated 2011).

To quote:-
“Every match requires a safety certificate which has to be agreed by the local Safety Advisory Group, and then is signed off by its chairman. The SAG is made up of members from the respective football club, the local police, fire brigade, ambulance service and council.”
“We grade all football matches on a basis of categories. Some fixtures are police free and we don’t need to attend or have any involvement with them – such as the lower league clubs where only hundreds or maybe thousands are attending. Those are categorised as stewards only and are known as “police-free, club‑stewarding”.”

So it would be interesting to know how much involvement the club actually have in determining grades for key matches.
I’m all for beating the club with a large stick when necessary and certainly agree that we don’t make it easy for people to buy tickets, but it’s plausible that it’s the police who are the driving force in this rather than Walsall FC. This seems to also be backed up by this from Leics police:-


The following week the same fixture takes place, only in the FA Cup. Again Sunderland have been given the full side as well as behind the goal, and will presumably fill both so I would imagine the policing requirements will be identical. The tickets costs £15 and £5 for all areas of the ground!


Does it? By giving them the whole ground? Not sure I agree.


I agree about the categories but factually we haven’t played Coventry at home yet!!


For information most policed games at Walsall are classed as Cat A or A light.
Generally if away fans are only in away stand it maybe an A light, if they go around corner past the 1st couple of blocks it will be a Cat A then a Cat B when they go past half way line, but all this depends on the behaviour of fans and any intelligence.
Cost wise I believe a Cat A a few years ago was about £4/5k & a Cat B double that. Other costs would be additional stewards being required. The Coventry game was a Cat A but additional police arrived as they equalised which may cost the club more.


Obviously Sunderland fans are less troublesome when in FA Cup mode. They regress into chaps wearing flat caps, shirt and ties with the odd lad sporting a replica FA Cup made from tin foil. Mackem rattles, woodbines and an assurance that “wor boys are reet up for the cup ye kna.”

So more tickets at cheaper prices isn’t a problem.

When they are in league mode. Different story. All the category C’s making it a category A.

And that’s why it is called the Football Intelligence Unit. They’re across all the nuances.


Ok, but my point was that two fairly identical fixtures in terms of potential away following (even the same opposition in this case) would presumably require the same crowd control costs. Yet in this instance the admission prices are significantly different for home fans.

As for the logic of increasing ticket prices to cover extra policing and stewarding, well I’m sorry but there isn’t actually any logic to it. The only reason we need extra police and stewards is because the opposition are bringing significantly more fans than for a category B game, so we already have the costs covered by the money they are spending!! Its ludicrous to charge the home fans more. If a police bill goes from £5k to £10k as you suggest, then the extra say…1000 away fans brings in 20k+ of extra revenue, and in some cases we are allowing an extra 2-3000 extra away fans in over the usual 500 we might get. We’ve already made a huge profit off the away ticket sales even taking off the extra policing costs, so why fleece the few home fans we have, and put off potential casual attendees?


Will you stop talking sense Geordie?

It will be like a foreign language to those at the club.


I agree completely with all on this thread, but I don’t think we’ll be outnumbered on the day as there should be 4,000 or so of us, even with the over-the-top ticketing restrictions in place. However, this seems to represent a new low in making it as difficult as possible for our fans to attend a home match and is going to be repeated over the next few home games, which is ridiculous because if handled correctly we could have had 6,000 home fans there tomorrow.

In fact, given they’ve only allocated Coventry 2,100 tickets so far, expect ticketing restrictions for that game to be even more paranoid (can’t wait).

It’s almost as if they’ve written off additional home support to cash in on a big away following.