Stewart Donald can’t wait for tonight’s match.
The Sunderland owner saying despite it being their first team against the Newcastle United Under 21s, he thinks it is a ‘fantastic draw’ for the Wearside club.
Talking to the official EFL site, Stewart Donald is looking forward to a ‘great night’ with Sunderland backed by at least 30,000 supporters.
However, the Sunderland boss is set to be disappointed.
The SAFC official website has today updated on the final ticket sales, with no matchday sales and no tickets allowed to be bought after 5pm on Monday.
They have revealed that less than half the number of Sunderland fans that Stewart Donald was expecting, have bothered to buy tickets.
Instead they will only have the backing of around 14,000 Sunderland fans.
Newcastle quickly sold out of their 2,800 tickets well before Christmas but were refused any more, despite the stadium being set to be two thirds empty tonight and the fact that tournament rules state that Newcastle United should have been allocated at least 4,900, 10% of the capacity.
Sunderland official site – Today (Tuesday 8 January 2019):
‘Taking on the Magpies at the Stadium of Light, kick-off 7:45pm, supporters are advised that tickets for the cup tie are now OFF sale and there will be no cash turnstiles.
More than 16,000 tickets have been sold for tonight’s meeting, with Newcastle set to be backed by 2,800 fans for the trip through to Wearside.’
Stewart Donald talking to official EFL site:
“Well in some ways it’s a bit of a no win game.
“As a lot of Newcastle United fans will see it as we are playing their reserve team.
“U21 team or not it is a fantastic draw for us, in a busy schedule, and I bet the manager is pulling his hair out a bit.
“It captures the imagination and I think it will help with the profile of the tournament as I think it will be the tie of the round – and we’ll get 30,000 people and it will be a great night.
“The fans have been unbelievable, especially with what they have been through over the past few years.
“You could quite easily forgive them for being sceptical, they’ve heard it all before, but from the moment I wandered in they have given me a chance.
“They have got behind their club, got behind their team and with a slight change of culture, we have given them a team that are playing their hearts out.”