Setanta sports showed their commitment to non-premiership football today when they failed miserably to show the Sunderland-Ipswich game on their pub channel, despite advertising it on their website for more then a week. Much to the confusion of both the Sunderland and Ipswich fans, all of whom had turned out at the ungodly hour of 7 am to watch the game ‘road to the cup’ rugby was instead shown; featuring of all teams, the Newcastle falcons. It now seems that the game was never intended to be shown live, a mistake on Setantas part, as this would have entailed the game interfering with the pay per view Manchester United Newcastle match. Instead the Sunderland game was shown later on in the day. How or why such a colossal mistake had been made remains a mystery but is one of a long list of cock-ups made by the sporting channel.
In Nevada Smiths in New York, despite the despicable act, the Sunderland fans (some of whom had traveled a considerable distance from NY and New Jersey to be there) seemed to have a good time, and kept in touch with the game back in the UK via text or calls on their mobile phones. However the party was yet again spoiled by Setanta when they demanded payment from the sunderland supporters for the Newcastle match half way through the Ipswich game, at cost of $20.00. As one Ipswich fan said:
“If they think they’re getting any money out of me they’re having a **** larf. ***ing bunch of ****** *****s!”
Shortly afterwards Setanta threatened to pull the Newcastle feed off the television unless the sunderland supporters paid. Not their cleverest of moves if you stop to think about it.
Regarding the twenty dollar cover it has to be noted here that many Setanta games are actually free, but the unchallenged monopoly the company currently enjoys means that they can appear to charge random amounts for what they deem ‘big games’; for instance the normal cost for a game seems to be around $10.00, however because this one was Man U, the amount was doubled. It could be said because of this that Setanta is intent on milking, or rather extorting, the exiled supporters for everything they have, and seems fixated on killing off pub-going support of the big teams (note Newcastle games are usually free) in return for maximum profit- a job that appears to be working in the case of Manchester United’s US fanbase.
A few years ago, Man U fans could be considered noisy in Nevada smiths, now they’re more like the Newcastle crowd that was in today, rather subdued and somber (picture a morticians office at 3 am, buried deep underground beneath a public library… on the moon) despite packing the bar. Admittedly some of this has come from themselves and their comfortable top half non-threatening league position and liaise-fair style of football, but it took over four goals in a row to get the crowd singing, leading to unanswered Sunderland taunts of ‘you only sing when you’re winning’.
Despite Setantas obvious greed, a deal was eventually worked out to let many of the fans stay in the bar (please note that Nevadas does not have a say on what is shown or charged on the door by Setanta), however by that time several had already left in disgust leaving a small but loyal fanbase behind to taunt Newcastle in their pitiful time of crisis. And a generally good time was had by all, despite Ipswich’s last gasp equalizer in extra time.
At least the US Sunderland fans had the chance to meet their NUFC counterparts that day and enjoy themselves. As one Toon fan said, “did you lot turn out today to make us look like fools?”
Actually we did. But they’ve been doing a pretty good job of that themselves lately.