‘Every single day there seems to be something wrong’ – how Sunderland’s off-field struggles are affecting supporters

If you've managed to get the new kit from the club shop, you're one of the lucky ones. Well, Matt Keeling's had enough of it

I’ve been wondering whether to bother saying anything about the current off-field fiasco at Sunderland AFC – to be brutally honest, my digital season ticket process seems to be going swimmingly. Alright it went to my junk folder, and I haven’t tested it for a match yet, but at least I’ve got what appears to be the correct ticket.

I think though, every single day there seems to be something else either wrong or just, well, a bit shit. The delaying of the club shop opening was something that in isolation probably doesn’t matter too much, but when you add all of the small annoyances together, annoyances which show no sign of stopping, it starts to grate on you quite a lot.

I have no problem with the digital season card. I think it’s the best way to do things nowadays, and it’s the same process you use for a flight, a train, a gig – pretty much anything. Other things though, are just not good enough.

The online store is a shambles. It’s a mess. It isn’t functional and it just is not fit for purpose. You’ve items on there which look like they’re listed on Depop – crumpled up and folded, with an image taken on a Motorola Razr. The bizarre listings, such as the foam fingers, which are very sensibly limited to a maximum of five per customer, just make the whole thing look like a jumble sale. It’s all just pretty half arsed.

And then, Preston tickets. Many with the required points to purchase tickets today were helpfully greeted with a message telling them they don’t have the right privileges on their account to make a purchase. It’s getting quite funny at this point – never has there been a business that seems to not want their customers to spend money with them. This is what will happen, people will just give up.

We’re finally not shambolic on the pitch, there is demand again for replica kits, particularly junior ones. When you can only buy the strip from the club shop, no other outlets, and there are stock issues or the kit looks like something fake off a market stall, there are understandably going to be problems.

“Sorry son, I can’t get you that Sunderland Shirt, they simply have none for sale.”

“Ah that’s okay, I’ll have a Man City one with Grealish on the back instead.”

Other clubs are more accessible than ever, there is more exposure to football than ever before. When I was a kid, you’d have midnight kit launches, my dad would take me to get it. It was class, I loved it, and it’s something I am even more grateful for now, as you realise how much these things actually cost.

Never ever were there stock issues.

If people in the city want to buy a shirt, they should be able to buy one. Because if they can’t, there are plenty of others they can buy – and those clubs win things.

It’s just poor. There’s lots to be excited about at the club, but the basics are getting worse. Things often aren’t straightforward in football, there are of course mitigating factors in things.

Making it actually a complex process to support the football club though, that takes some doing.