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News: Sunderland Executive Director Charlie Methven clarifies “ill-chosen” parasites comment

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Charlie Methven has clarified what he meant when he referred to some Sunderland fans - particularly those that watch illegal streams of home games in pubs - as ‘parasites’, admitting he was wrong to do so.

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Charlie Methven was kind enough to join us on the Roker Rapport podcast earlier today, and during the chat he clarified his previous comments that appeared during an interview with BBC Radio Newcastle where he referred to fans who watched illegal streams in pubs as ‘parasites’.

Methven said that he overstepped the mark with that comment that that his vitriol was mainly aimed at local businesses who show those illegal streams:

It was the word wasn’t it, really? Which was ill-chosen and also misapplied.

My real vitriol is for the local businesses who take a hike off our back, that was what the ‘parasite’ comment was really meant to be about.

Going back, would I use that word again? No.

I think that’s justified criticism and it is absolutely right by the way that when we do get something that people do just say “that’s not right” and I thought the way in which Roker Report did it was very respectfully.

That was a two-footed challenge when what you need is a straightforward proper tackle.

Although he does believe that the atmosphere surrounding the club in recent years allowed problems like illegal streams to thrive:

Is it a big issue? No, not really. Does it cost the club a fortune? No.

Is it indicative of a general culture by which lots of people think that Sunderland is a bit of a joke, soft touch, free ride, doesn’t really matter, rich people own it, fuck it. Yeah, I think it is.

I think there are several things that have crept in because of the general atmosphere of disrespect between the club’s owners and administration and the club’s fans. There are a bunch of practices that have crept in which seem to have been deemed to be somewhat acceptable that I think most really great Sunderland fans - which is what most Sunderland fans are - know in their heart of hearts aren’t ideal.

He went on to point out that it is probably only ‘several hundred’ people who go to the pub to watch illegal streams and again emphasised the piss-taking culture that has surrounded the club:

It’s a much more cultural point, in terms that I don’t want anyone to take the piss out of this club because ultimately when they do, they take the piss out of the people who do go. Really, they are claiming to be Sunderland fans - when fan is short for fanatic - and I think if you are a Sunderland fanatic you would want to contribute to the club going forward.

Would I use the word parasite to describe to the people who do watch the streams in the pubs again? No.

That is just a snippet of what is an in-depth interview and you can listen to the podcast in full when it is released this afternoon on iTunes, Acast, Spotify, TuneIn or YouTube.