Sports fans refunded for soccer thrashing


Fans of the U.K. soccer club Sunderland who traveled to watch their side lose in an 8-0 drubbing last Saturday are set to be refunded the value of their match tickets.

The English Premier League club gave a woeful display at the hands of Southampton and very nearly managed to produce its worst league performance on record. Amid the shame and embarrassment for all the players and management, the club decided to reimburse its supporters.

"Sunderland's players have today offered to refund supporters the cost of their match tickets, as well as supporting a local charity," the club said in statement on Tuesday. Club captain and defender John O'Shea added that the team wanted to acknowledge and thank the supporters who traveled such a long way.

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Steve Bardens | Getty Images

"We win and lose as a team, players, staff and fans," he said in the statement.

Some 2,600 fans made the trip to the south coast of England, with the distance between the two clubs being one of the longest possible trips in the league during this current season. Match tickets came in at £24 ($38.7), meaning Sunderland will be parting with a total of £60,000.

Fans will however not receive their travel costs back. The trip to Southampton is over 300 miles long and takes around six hours from Sunderland by car. Train tickets between the two cities can cost around £150 if not booked well in advance.

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This is not the first time that soccer fans have been on the receiving end of a refund. In 2011, Arsenal fans who witnessed the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Manchester United were offered a ticket to a future Premier League away game. In Germany in 2009, Energie Cottbus supporters who traveled 380 miles to watch their side lose 4-0 to Schalke were also given their cash back. Meanwhile in Mexico, second division club Irapuato refunded fans last month after the team lost 1-0 at home to Correcaminos.

Mexico tweet

Sunderland said on Tuesday that anyone wishing to claim a refund should contact the club before 5 p.m. London time on Wednesday November 5.

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The club is now languishing in seventeenth place in the Premier League after eight games. Head coach Gus Poyet has issued a frank apology after the game and called it the worst day during his time in football. Defender Santiago Vergini was also quick to absorb some of the blame. The Argentine scored a freak, yet stylish, own goal during the early stages of Saturday's proceedings and acknowledged that his error had changed the complexion of the contest.

"I take full responsibility for this," he said in a club statement. "The account we gave of ourselves was embarrassing. We have to look forward now and try to improve for the following game."