Everton's refund to fans "a great gesture"

Etihad Colin Bell End Photo Mikey

Everton will refund their travelling fans who missed substantial parts of the club's recent Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium due to transport problems in Manchester.

Despite significant portions of the ground still being empty at kick-off last Wednesday, the game proceeded as normal. Many fans, both home and away, reported missing all of the first half - and now Everton have said they will refund their fans who travelled to the fixture.

Explaining their decision to refund travelling fans, Everton said: "Unfortunately, it was outside of the club’s control to delay the kick-off time, but we understand the frustration caused to many travelling fans on the night who missed a significant proportion of the game.

"As a gesture of goodwill in appreciation of this support, the club has decided to pay the ticket price for our Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City for any fan who has purchased for this game and also purchased for the away league fixture."

Everton again travel to the Etihad Stadium next week and will take 8,000 away fans - more than double the allocation for their Premier League fixture.

Dave Kelly from Everton fan group The Blue Union, and an FSF National Council member, said: "I'm delighted that Everton are doing this. It's a great gesture that should be warmly applauded. However, this is compensatory and the underlying issues remain."

The Blue Union and Everton Supporters' Trust believe a 30-minute delay to kick-off was appropriate and have been seeking a meeting with the club and the local authorities to learn more about decision making around kick-off delays.

Everton fan groups are looking for assurances that such a scenario is not repeated.

"Sky blue or royal blue, this affects all fans," Dave said. "We want to ensure the safe arrival of all supporters and we are attempting to progress a joint complaint alongside Mancheter City supporters."

Manchester City have yet to respond to questions from fans about their decision making around the kick-off. Greater Manchester Police said that there was no immediate safety concerns to justify delaying kick-off.

Thanks to Mikey for the image used in this story. Reproduced here under CC licence.