SUNDERLAND supporters have welcomed Vito Mannone’s suggestion to refund fans who travelled to see their side thrashed 8-0 at the weekend.
The goalkeeper wants to arrange a refund for the cost of tickets and travel to those who made the 660-mile round-trip to Southampton, where the Black Cats suffered the joint heaviest defeat in their history.
He has pledged to personally talk to the club, who have so far remained tight-lipped about his suggestion for compensation.
One of those who travelled to the south coast on Saturday was diehard supporter Chris Henry, 32.
However, while he welcomed the refund, he thinks the cash should go to the club’s charitable arm.
“It’s a good idea, but I think it would be better going to the Foundation of Light,” said Chris, a support worker from Roker.
“I don’t pay the extra money going to away games in the hope I’ll be refunded for a poor result. I pay the price because I want to go – win, lose or draw.
“It’s good on the players, but it’s the least you expect them to say after what happened on Saturday.
“It was just a total capitulation. Southampton are an excellent side and have had a great start to the season, but every time they went forward they looked like scoring.”
Other fans on Wearside have also welcomed proposals for a refund.
Michael Gettins, 82, from Pennywell, said: “I think it’s a good idea, but it would be admitting fault on the part of the club.
“I think it’s good for Mannone to say that, but it should be deducted from the players’ wages.”
Grandad-of-five Stuart Hoggett, 80, from Springwell, said: “It’s a long journey to Southampton and I think they should be compensated for it.
“Seeing all the goals go in was like watching a game of dominoes.
“I don’t think Sunderland are a Premier League team, they’re a Championship team.”
Even a Magpie thought Sunderland fans had been let down by the poor result.
James Dixon, from Pennywell, who supports NUFC, said: “When I heard eight I thought they meant they’d gone down to eight men, they may as well have the way they played.
“However, I do think the fans should be compensated as a good-will gesture.”
Paul Dobson, assistant editor of Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme, says any potential refund would probably prove difficult.
“It’s a very good gesture from Vito Mannone, but it would be impossible to pay back the costs of transport due to the various methods people use.
“They could perhaps pay back the match ticket price. It’s a nice gesture, but I’m not in it to take money back – I’m in it to see Sunderland do well.
“To me, the players producing a good performance against Arsenal is more important than getting £20 back for a match ticket.”
It’s not unprecedented for fans to be reimbursed after a dismal performance on the pitch.
In 2009 Wigan’s players refunded hundreds of supporters who bought tickets from the club after a 9-1 hammering at Tottenham.
In an online poll, 81 per cent of Echo readers said Sunderland players should pay back the fans.