The appalling way that Mike Ashley has ran Newcastle United during this virus crisis has seen him become the stand out figure in the Premier League.
However, he has now found help come his way from a most unlikely source.
Wednesday has brought confirmation that Newcastle United are the only Premier League club, who are still yet to confirm to fans that they will be getting a pro rata refund on their 2019/20 season tickets, reflecting the games behind closed doors that they won’t be able to attend.
Indeed, many of the clubs have already started issuing the refunds.
Meanwhile, Mike Ashley has continued to take advance monthly payment by direct debits for next (2020/21) season, as well as so far also refusing to refund individual tickets for 2019/20 matches that can’t be attended now, plus not even allowing any club statements to be made explaining anything.
Rushing to the rescue though have come local ‘rivals Sunderland.
A deluge of criticism for Mike Ashley and yet the Sunderland owners could have just possibly put him in the shade.
Sunderland have now confirmed (see below) that if any of the remaining 2019/20 home matches are played behind closed doors, no season ticket holder will be entitled to a refund.
Instead, each season ticket holder will get a pass to allow them to stream the home game(s) and watch online.
Quite incredible. Especially when a one match online pass usually costs £10 and a season ticket works out at between £14 and £22 per game.
It gets worse / better, as even if you don’t have the ability / technology to watch the games online, you still can’t get any refund or alternative compensation.
Then on top of that, Sunderland have confirmed that if say you have more than one person in a household with a season ticket, they will just get an online pass each for that same match. So if you have two parents / adults and two kids for example who are all season ticket holders, instead of getting the four seats refunded, you will instead only be entitled to four online passes to watch the same match.
What is more, Sunderland have also confirmed that this will be the case if you buy a season ticket for next (2020/21) season, no refund for games behind closed doors and instead only an online streaming pass as compensation. I’m sure that will help season ticket sales, not!
Everybody understands the extra financial pressures on these smaller clubs in the lower leagues but surely Sunderland are duty bound to offer a refund on games fans can’t attend, as watching (or not watching!) online is not what they originally paid for. Fair enough asking season ticket holders if they would accept an online pass instead but surely they can’t just impose them?
Maybe Mike Ashley will now be thinking he can say no refunds (or maybe only for some behind closed doors games) will be made to NUFC season ticket holders, as they have the option of watching all the remaining games on BBC, Amazon, BT Sport and Sky Sports, especially with at least 33 of the 92 PL games being free to air and surely set to include some Newcastle matches.
Sunderland AFC official Q and A on season ticket refunds…:
If the 2019-20 season is completed behind closed doors, it was stated that supporters will not receive a refund and instead be entitled to a streaming pass. If a supporter does not want, or cannot access, a streaming pass, are they able to obtain a refund or an alternative voucher [such as retail]?
‘Should the season be completed behind closed doors, season card holders would be automatically entitled to a streaming pass only. No further refund would be provided either by way of cash or voucher.’
Should the 2020-21 season start, or be played in its entirety, behind closed doors, would supporters that have renewed receive a proportional refund for the games that they are unable to attend?
‘In the event that any 2020-21 games are played behind closed doors, season card holders would receive a streaming pass only for the corresponding games and no further refund would be provided either by way of cash or voucher.’
It was stated that if the 2020-21 season starts behind closed doors, supporters who renewed would receive a streaming pass at no additional cost. Is this as well as a refund, or would this be the solitary replacement for any games missed?
‘No, as stated above, season card holders would be provided with a streaming pass only for any games missed and no additional or alternative refund would be given.’
If there are multiple season card holders in one household, will incentives or proportional refunds be offered for multiple renewals as opposed to offering multiple streaming passes?
‘No, as detailed above.’