The History of the Branch Liaison Council
In the early 1970’s and fixtures at Roker Park, supporter branches and fellow like-minded supporters would meet prior to and after fixtures. These meetings sometimes would involve meeting with visiting supporters and arranging social event including football quiz, darts, domino and pool competitions. This was the beginning of what is now the SAFC Branch Liaison Council (BLC).
Sir Bob Murray as chair of SAFC wanted to forge a closer relationship with supporters, whilst giving a platform to raise supporter concerns. Sir Bob Murray instigated regular meetings between BLC representatives and SAFC, that continue to the current day.
The Present The Branch Liaison Council
In addition to meeting with fellow branch members and SAFC, the Branch Liaison Council is pro-active in raising funds for charities. The Branch Liaison Council and individual branches hold events throughout each season to raise funds that are shared between two charities, one charity being The Foundation of Light, the second being a charity nominated by and voted on by Branch Liaison Council members at the Branch Liaison Council AGM. The Branch Liaison Council has supported the Foundation of Light from Sir Bob Murray’s vision by donating more than £30,000. We are proud to support the Foundation and hope to keep the relationship going for many years to come.
The The Branch Liaison Council currently has 37 branches in the UK and overseas and reaches more than 660,000 supporters worldwide via social media.
As well as having a platform to meetings with the club, the The Branch Liaison Council run transport to both home and away fixtures. During 2018-19 season the The Branch Liaison Council transported more than 18,000 supporters to away fixtures (this includes Wembley figures). Every The Branch Liaison Council branch polices their own coach with only 1 incident involving a branch member on 1 coach in the last three-year period. We work very closely with Northumbria Police, advising them of coaches travelling, any pre-planned stops, this helps to build and maintain an excellent working relationship and ensure every away excursion runs smoothly and in the best interests of our members.
The The Branch Liaison Council are members of the Sunderland Supporters Collective and together with other Supporters groups meet with the club owners and senior management at least twice a year.