clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Refund Won't Make Up For South Coast Humiliation

New, comments

In football, you have take the good with the bad. Sunderland fans deserve praise for their support on Saturday, but not a refund.

Paul Thomas

Two thousand, five hundred and forty nine supporters made the 11 hour round trip to Southampton and were treated to a footballing masterclass from the team in red and white stripes, eight goals, and one of the most spectacular goals a Sunderland player has ever scored. Yet that isn't enough for some supporters who are now demanding a refund for being treated to such a display.

Okay, so perhaps, just perhaps, that opening paragraph doesn't quite tell the full story of the events that unfolded on Saturday. Sunderland were freakishly abject, their defence wide open, their midfield outplayed, and in the second half they collapsed quicker than a Jozy Altidore standing on a balance beam.

It's this set of circumstances that has led goalkeeper Vito Mannone, who himself spent the Southampton game having endless Vietnam-style flashbacks to that goal he conceded at The Etihad last season, to come and say he will speak to the players about giving the excellent Sunderland support some kind of refund.

However, is it the case that the supporters that attended that day should get a refund? They were superb from start to finish despite the scoreline but, let's face it, when a Sunderland fan buys a ticket to see their team play, they do so with the full knowledge that this sort of thing can happen. This is a team that have made a habit of crumbling in hilarious circumstance; their penchant for self-destruction unmatched by any team in the country. This is a club that, in it's recent history, has scored three own goals in one game, that had two players sent off in the space of a few minutes at Hull last season, and whose longest serving player is Lee Cattermole, an excellent player who's been let down by a history of rashness.

Refunding supporters for an inept performance sets a dangerous precedent. How bad does a performance have to be before we can demand our money back? Can we ask for it everytime the team put in a performance that's especially bad? Christ, the club would be bankrupt after a couple of seasons.

What about retrospective refunds? Do fans who turned up for the 7-1 at Everton get one, or those that travelled to St James' Park for the 5-1 humiliation? I personally would like a refund for every game Jon Stead and Andy Gray played up front together.

Some would argue, with some justification, that this wasn't just a bad performance. The supporters will accept a poor display as long as the team don't give up, which this lot clearly did after Liam Bridcutt breakdanced the ball into his own net for the fourth goal. However giving the fans their money back doesn't make up for that. It doesn't even begin to make up for it. It hardly takes away the humiliation that supporters felt as Southampton eighth goal went in. A refund is a reactionary demand made by some fans who just need to accept that these things happen sometimes and move on. As a football supporter, you simply have to take the good with the bad.

The way to make up to fans for the horrendous display at St Mary's is for the players and Gus Poyet to learn from their mistakes and go out next week and give Arsenal a good game, rather than putting their hands in their back pockets. They need to go on a good run, and end the season in a decent position; one that will have the supporters looking forward to a promising future. If they do that, then we'll forget about the embarrassment of the 8-0 defeat, and we can look back and laugh at it, like we can Michael Proctor scoring those two own goals, or how we laugh everytime we're reminded of Gareth Hall.

Our fans deserve all the praise and good will  in the world for the way they supported that team on Saturday, but I'm afraid they don't deserve a refund.