Just as old cynics – step forward Ken Gambles and also M Salut – were wondering what sort of reception Vito Mannone got in the dressing-room when he took the hat round for refunds for the fans (£50,000, £60,000, £70,000 in all or am I way out?), safc.com put out a statement saying this grand gesture was on. Ken, though, disagrees completely with idea of fans demanding their money back after wretched performances and would doubtless go along with the idea floated here of allowing their refunds to go to the Grace House children’s charity. All you need do is miss the deadline of Nov 5 for claiming the money. But let Ken have his say on the principle anyway …
Despite Vito Mannone’s generous gesture, calling on (and now getting – Ed) the players to reimburse the fans, I firmly believe it’s quite the wrong course of action.
In some 50 years of watching Sunderland home and away, I’ve witnessed some atrocious displays: 8-0 at West Ham, 7-1 at Everton (plus most other games at Goodison) 5-0 at Orient, the 19-point and 15-point seasons, two years of Lawrie McMenemy … the depressing list could just go on.
Yet never once have I thought of demanding, still less expected to get, my money back. Possibly in the pub afterwards someone might have made a flippant remark to that effect, but never has that serious suggestion been made by me or to me.
Whether it’s the younger generation and the modern credo of “someone must be to blame”, trolls etc I don’t know, but if a precedent is set it wont be too long before we’re into the world of Claims Direct and so on.
I can see the advert now: cue miserable-looking football fan with a silky voiceover: “Feel let down? Club got hammered again? Players useless? Well here at footyclaimsforyou.com you can get your money back plus your travel costs, just call blah blak blah’.”
There will no doubt then be a spate of litiginous claims about whether a game was bad enough for you to receive a payout and then people banging on about it on Twitter and Facebook.
Sport is sport and in all sports, keen supporter or not, there are good days and bad days or in Sunderland’s case appalling days. To expect one’s money back seems ridiculous to me … your club is your club, you have a moan, grit your teeth and get on with it. As for the players not trying, well that’s always been a matter of opinion, but anyone who has played any sport knows that there are some days you are trying, yet constantly execute things poorly, make bad decisions and have no luck whatsoever.
From the outside it might look like you are not trying but in all honesty you are doing your best which unfortunately on that day is awful.
If the players want to assuage their guilt then a £1,000 donation per head to the Sunderland Foundation should do the trick, as would three points against Arsenal, but refunds? No.
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