Are you one of those fans who admired a player so much that you decided you’d get his name and number on the back of your football club’s replica shirt? I have, but once and only once have I got a player’s name on a shirt. It was back in the Nineties when striker John Spencer was up front for Queens Park Rangers, he was hot on form that season but unfortunately for me he was sold a few months later and I never wore that top again. However, it was just considered part of the risk.
Recently, a fan decided to stand up against his club when a similar incident happened. Jon McGhee bought his son a Reading shirt with his favourite player, Sigurdsson on the back for his 13th birthday that cost £42. However, the player was sold to German side Hoffenheim a few days later despite stating he was happy to stay at the club.
After the club refused a refund on the shirt, Royals fan McGhee decided to take legal action after he felt the club had taken advantage of fans’ goodwill and on the grounds the club has used a misrepresentation of facts, after the player, Gylfi Sigurdsson had signed a new long term contract dismissing rumours of the player being sold.
Reading FC decided to not let the case go to court offering a full refund and paying for McGhee’s £72 legal costs. However, a spokesman for the club said they had chosen to settle the case out of court because the hearing was in Middlesbrough, where the fan lives and it wasn’t logical to waste time and effort with a court case.
The fan in question said “It was a bit of a joke really. I bought Jon the shirt and it was all fine, Sigurdsson said he was going to stay and then leaves. Everyone knows football fans get ripped off and I am sick of it. The clubs take advantage of fans and this is my stand.”
Perhaps this could be the ‘Bosman’ case for us football fans who get mugged off by our football clubs for our loyal support. If this story had been at a bigger club, perhaps we would start to hear more cases like this, I am sure Newcastle United fans who bought replica shirts with Carroll on the back would have a strong case following the player’s departure after the club had stated he was not for sale previously in the season.
However, after hearing McGhee speak on a national radio last week, he mentioned that the letter he received from Reading FC was rather “arrogant” with the club saying that the case would get thrown out of court and he would have no chance of winning.
But I stand by what McGhee did, it was bold and also brave as a supporter has so much love for his club, it would be hard to go against them, especially as most Pro clubs have money to spend on top lawyers. I fully support his decision and feel that there should be a system where you’re given a refund on a shirt with a player’s name, if that said player is sold before the following season.
A name Manchester United fans will be getting on the back of their shirts soon, Ravel Morrison…