Sunderland are one of the behemoths of League One, a club with a rich history of winning trophies and playing top-flight football.
They boast more fans than any of the other clubs in the division and should, by rights, not be plying their trade in the third tier. However, the recent crisis has presented them with a significant problem; more fans means more season tickets which, with current uncertainty, means more refunds.
Or not. The club have confirmed that at present, should supporters want a refund, it will not be an option. Most clubs will hope not to have to give refunds out in large numbers, relying instead on supporters benevolence in waiving their right to a refund, but most clubs will also offer it as a right. Sunderland are not and it is causing quite a stir.
Instead, if The Black Cat’s final three home games do go ahead behind closed doors season card holders will be given a streaming pass to watch the action at home. There would be no alternative for families with multiple season cards in one household though. The news has caused quite a stir in the football world. Again, most clubs expect to issue some refunds and will rely on spectator goodwill to minimise how much they have to return, but to outright deny the opportunity has got fans angry. Very angry.
Sunderland are not alone in their actions though; north-east rivals Newcastle have also not yet communicated anything to supporters about tickets they’ve paid for either. It’s led to an unusual situation whereby the bitter rivals seem to have fans agreeing on one thing; they’re being taken for mugs.
Response on social media has continued through the day and night, with a selection of the best to be found below.
North East football is on its arse!
— Ginger Pirlo (@TheGingerPirlo_) June 3, 2020
Owners of both our clubs are a disgrace
— wilf (@wilf_toon) June 3, 2020
Because they have no money to pay back the 500 fans that go ????
— Paul Proud (@plproud) June 3, 2020
It’s a contractual situation which has been frustrated for want of a better term. They cannot perform their part of the contract so, subject to any onerous provisos in their T&C’s you should receive a full refund!
— neilB (@neilTheMagpie) June 3, 2020
This is a disgrace.
— David Hayes (@DaveHayes89) June 3, 2020
They can’t they are broke, they will have a whip-round soon
— Nick899⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️ (@CNick89) June 3, 2020
Since when did mike Ashley own Sunderland
— gareth mason (@garethm14050404) June 3, 2020
Has Ashley bought Sunderland?
— Mike.?? A free UK. (@MicknDenise1978) June 3, 2020
The battle for worst owners in the north east intensifies @Ian_Seymour93
— Kris Johnson (@cheeks8699) June 3, 2020