When you buy a replica shirt with a player's name on the back, you're gambling that it will remain relevant and the player won't be sold until a new version of the club's shirt comes out in roughly eight weeks. Well, one 13-year-old from Middlesbrough who bought a Gylfi Sigurdsson Reading shirt with £42 of his birthday money apparently hasn't learned that life lesson, so when Reading sold Sigurdsson to Hoffenheim a few months later, the kid got his dad, James McGhee, to sue Reading because they wouldn't give him a refund. And in a roundabout way, it worked.
From the Reading Post:
When Gylfi Sigurdsson left Mr McGhee asked for a refund but was refused. He wrote to the club and was further refused. He then started a small claim and the club settled out of court, paying him £72 to include court costs.
Last spring Gylfi Sigurdsson had signed a new contract and the McGhees argued the club had indicated he would stay.
Mr McGhee, who first got interested in the club around eight years ago through family connections in Shinfield, said: “For anybody else in the same position who feels equally aggrieved, this just shows it is well worth pursuing it. It shows what can be done if you are prepared to fight your corner.”
Yes, if only more people would pursue asinine lawsuits about football shirts, the world would be a far better place. Well done.
Club spokesman Craig Mortimer said: “We only settled because the hearing was right up in Middlesbrough and frankly for the time and effort it would take to get up there, it was far more logical to settle.”
He said the matter could have been avoided if Mr McGhee had read the terms and conditions.
He added: “The vast majority of feedback I have seen shows that most supporters are fully aware that it is standard practice across most football clubs that printed shirts are not refundable.”
The moral to this story? Most supporters are fully aware that loyalty is dead in professional sports. Also that it's way more fun to get angry and burn the shirts of former players in the street instead of going to court over a refund.