Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven caused a bit of a stir last night after criticising “parasites” who are hampering efforts to improve the Black Cats’ financial situation.
Methven has since clarified he was referring to pub owners who are illegally streaming games, rather than the fans.
However, Methven did question the loyalty of some supporters during his interview on BBC Newcastle, stating: “I don’t criticise anyone who wants to watch a match in a pub like that, but I reserve the right not to call them supporters."
His words have drawn a mixed response from Sunderland fans.
Here are some of the responses on social media:
@TheRealAnthHunt: "His comments were totally justified. Anybody who has the means to go but chooses to watch the game illegally in a pub isn’t a proper fan. If we want to rebuild the club and promote a positive image then the fans also have to do their bit by packing the ground out."
@JohnJKerr: "Poor choice of words from Methven - much better to engage with those fans, find out why they favour going to the pub and work on how to get them going to the match again. Ultimately, he hasn't earned the right to criticise as he hasn't lived through the Moyes and Bain era."
@adam_theaker: "The comments are surely more based on home games and I totally agree. Anyone who has money to watch in the pub has £20 to go along and watch the game."
@christoph_21: "Even if there's a well-founded point within what Charlie Methven is saying, using terms like "parasites" is just unnecessary and is quite ignorant of what has gone on before this season. Not sure saying "it's only £12" plays too well - or is particularly valid - either."
@BarryHeeney: "U may not like it but he speaks the truth, watching illegal streaming is robbing the club of much needed revenue to buy good players and run the club?"
@_GraemeAtkinson: "So Methven clarifies he wasn’t talking about supporters when making parasite reference. What a fuss about nowt"
Keith Burdis said "It's to early to make these comments supporters have had a bad deal for at least 4yrs. Gently does it, don't loose the returning fans who are still cautious"
Sam Priestess disagreed: "I completely agree with him. Sky has ruined footy as it is - but pubs illegally streaming matches are creating an excuse for people not to pay to watch the match. The club needs cash in the pot, a stadium filled with fans (12th man and all that) and for people to introduce the next generation of supporters to the game."
Chris Davison commented: "Try not to worry too much Mr Methven, I'm sure you will still get a fair share of that Sky money"
Paul Ritson added: "Totally agree with him!! Tickets are very affordable and i wonder how much they spend on drink?? I bet it's alot more than the price of a ticket!!!"
Stephen Morrison responded: "Seems a bit pompous to me."