The players of Sunderland Football Club, a club in the English Premier League, EPL, have agreed to compensate their fans who watched in disbelieve as Southampton beat their team 8 – 0 on Saturday, October 18, 2014.
The fans, numbering about 2,500, who endured a 660-mile round trip to Southampton in order to cheer their team, would now reclaim their £24 ticket price.
It was Vito Mannone, Sunderland’s goalkeeper, who suggested that the fans should be reimbursed after his team’s horrific display on Saturday. The idea was later given a consideration in the interests of the devastated fans.
“It is a low point for everyone. I will personally talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay for our fans’ tickets and their trip. It is difficult for us but it is difficult for them as well. They are special fans – we are really lucky to be at this club and, if it was me, I would probably not have reacted in the same way as them. I really mean that we should pay for their tickets and travel; I will do everything possible to organize it. We should do it because we didn’t put our foot in, we didn’t work hard. We threw in the towel, and I include myself. Each one of us in the team should do our best to make them feel proud of this club and not have to go through 8-0 defeats,” said Mannone.
John O’Shea, the team’s captain and former Manchester United midfielder, said the gesture is a way of acknowledging the supporters who travelled such a long distance.
“We win and lose as a team, players, staff and fans. However we wanted to acknowledge and thank the supporters who travelled such a long way to give us their backing and despite everything, stayed with us until the final whistle,” O’Shea said.
The 8-0 defeat, which included two own goals, was the worst defeat in the club’s history and one of the heaviest in Premier League history. Fans have until 5pm on Wednesday, November 5 to submit a claim by returning their match ticket either in person at the club’s ticket office or by post. Any funds which are not claimed by the deadline will go to Grace House, a hospice for local children.
Gus Poyet, the team’s coach, described the result as the most embarrassing moment of his life.
“It is the most embarrassing time I’ve had in football. I cannot watch it again, but I learned a lot about the players. Some of them gave up, and I know who they are for the future,” said Poyet.
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