SPSFA Sportman’s Dinner: Behind the scenes insight from key Sunderland figures over the years

The SPSFA Sportman’s Dinner will be held on Friday, 14 April at the Roker Hotel. The likes of Jill Scott will attend.

SPSFA Sportman’s Dinner organiser, Chris Lindstedt, has told SportsByte about the exclusive insight key Sunderland figures have provided at previous fundraising events.

The likes of Sir Bob Murray, Niall Quinn and Mick McCarthy have fronted the events over the years, while Jill Scott and former Sunderland manager, Ricky Sbragia, will form part of this year’s line-up.

Lindstedt said: “The dinners with Sir Bob, Niall Quinn and Mick McCarthy were unbelievably brilliant nights. The night with Ellis Short was tense as we’d just been relegated from the Premier League but to be fair to Ellis, he was great and fronted up to all questions asked.”

Unfortunately the dinner events haven’t always gone to plan, such as in 2018 after Sunderland’s second-relegation which condemned the Black Cats to League One. Martin Bain was supposed to appear alongside manager Chris Coleman, but the latter has been sacked days before the dinner so the event didn’t go ahead as planned.

“Again to be fair to Martin,” Lindstedt continued, “He fronted up and answered questions but the majority of the audience wanted to tear him from limb to limb so he did one slot and left.

“The night was rescued by Bally (Kevin Ball, honorary president of the SPSFA), Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore who did the second slot on the night.”

Recent events, including one with incumbent director of football, Kristjaan Speakman, have gone much more smoothly.

“The evening with Kristjaan Speakman was different in that we got answers about questions behind the scenes at the club, and the club’s current model of working from a current senior official at the club.”

Around 40 tickets are available for the event on Friday, 14 April. Contact Chris Lindstedt on Facebook for more details.