Sunderland AFC fan’s anger as new away shirt not sold in 3XL size

Michael Cockburn with two of the bigger-sized Sunderland shirts he has been able to buy in the past.
Michael Cockburn with two of the bigger-sized Sunderland shirts he has been able to buy in the past.

A taxi driver is getting shirty over Sunderland AFC’s new away strip.

Michael Cockburn, 56, from Southwick, is claiming the lack of availability of bigger shirt sizes is discriminating against the bigger fan.

Brendan O'Donnell, great-great-grandson of club founder James Allan, unveiled the new away shirt earlier this month.

Brendan O'Donnell, great-great-grandson of club founder James Allan, unveiled the new away shirt earlier this month.

Mr Cockburn claims that, after asking for an away shirt in the 3XL size at the club’s Stadium of Light store, he was told the club did not stock beyond 2XL.

The club says that there is limited interest in bigger shirts than 2XL, and those sizes have therefore not been made available to the Black Cats.

Mr Cockburn said: “I’m a big lad and wear football shirts all the time, and mainly Sunderland ones.

“I went into the store at the stadium to get the new away top, and they said they don’t stock up to 3XL.

I’m upset, because I believe bigger people are being discriminated against

Michael Cockburn

“It feels like I don’t count.

“The same thing happened with the third strip last season, and I decided to let that go.

“I just think it’s wrong.

“Some clubs stock up to a 6XL, and I think it’s ridiculous that Sunderland can’t even go to 3XL.

“I’m upset, because I believe bigger people are being discriminated against.

“There’s no getting away from that.”

Mr Cockburn, a lifelong Sunderland fan, says he feels let down over the issue.

He added: “It’s annoying when you can’t get what you want just because of your size.

“The home shirt goes up to 3XL, so why not the away one?

“I sit in my taxi all the time and wear football shirts almost every day as they feel more comfortable.

“They’re extremely expensive but I’m willing to pay the money because of that, and to support the club.

“Now I just feel fobbed off, like I don’t count.

“There have got to be more people than just me who have had this problem.”

Louise Wanless, Sunderland AFC’s head of communications, said: “Due to the limited interest in the 3XL size, it has not been made available to us in the away kit.

“Supporters can however buy it in the home kit and an extended range of sizes have also been produced in our infant and junior sizes due to demand.”