There is no doubt that every sports fan who follows a team, and that team alone, without faltering, has had a moment where the performance their side has put in has fallen well below their expectations. Is that not part of being a supporter, you take the good times with the bad.
As fate would have it this writer found himself a Swindon Town fan, a club many people have never heard of, and something he tries hard to change! At the weekend Swindon, who for years had a reputation as giant killers in cup competitions – this was often the highlight of our season – stumbled at the first hurdle in this years FA Cup competition. They did not lose by the odd goal but were destroyed 4-0 by non-league Macclesfield Town.
Approximately 250 supporters made the journey from Wiltshire to Cheshire for the Cup tie and the journey home was undoubtedly a long and quiet one. Many used social media to demand a refund for such a poor performance.
This raises a very important question? Should fans be given a refund? Surely watching a sporting event is like watching a play or a movie, you pay your money to be entertained, sometimes you are sometimes you are not. These days with many movies sadly are not, with the best bits having been seen in the trailer, but do you demand your money back?
Swindon’s manager Mark Cooper has pledged to at least partially recompense the fans who made the trip north, but is this not setting a dangerous precedent? Who will now be the judge of whether a performance was good enough and a refund due?
Cooper has said to the Swindon Advertiser “They deserve a refund and we’ll see if we can do something with the players where they chip in for them for the Colchester game. I’ll certainly be chipping in. They deserve the players to give something back because they’ve travelled a long way and that wasn’t good enough. They (the players) can’t keep hiding behind me and other things, they’ve got to look at their own performance and decide whether that’s good enough.”
Many fans will agree that the players should take more responsibility for their performances and not let the coach take all the blame, but should professional athletes be made to refund fans? Maybe they should do extra community work or make donations to a worthy cause or charity, but returning money to fans seems wrong.
Part of a fan’s lot is suffering the dreadful performances and enjoying the ecstasy of a great one; believe me being Swindon fan those moments are to be savoured as they don’t come around as often as we would like!