Southampton footballers were accused of snubbing Sutton United’s team after failing to lift a joint trophy dedicated to the memory of a popular past president.
Ryman league side Sutton United drew 1-1 in the pre-season friendly against Divison One side Southampton FC at Gander Green Lane.
But when the match ended Saints boss Alan Pardew and his players left the Sutton team to collect the shared President’s Trophy alone despite an announced agreement to split the honours in the event of a draw.
Fans described their disappearance as an arrogant slight to the memory of Sutton’s former club president Andrew Letts – who died in 2008 aged 93.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Sutton North ward Lester Holloway said their behaviour was “highly insulting”.
He said: “I know their actions also embarrassed the Saints fans, who were heard grumbling about it afterwards.
“But most of all, the Saints showed shocking disrespect to the family of Andrew Letts.
“The Saints’ refusal to stay on the pitch and collect the trophy goes against the spirit of the game.
“If Southampton – currently plying their trade in the third-tier of the English leagues – want to get back to the Premiership where they believe they belong, the club could start by showing a bit of sportsmanship.”
One fan, who did not want to be named, said: “Sutton were magnificent and played their hearts out against a far bigger and richer team, but the Southampton team’s reaction was to treat that achievement with contempt and indifference. It just shows that money doesn’t buy class.”
Saints had stepped in to play Sutton after Fulham pulled out of the friendly.
One Southampton supporter who did not want to be named said: “The Saints didn’t play very well and I think the manager wanted them in the dressing room quickly to give them the dressing down a lot of them deserved.
“Saying that, it would have been nice for the Sutton players and the crowd to see at least one Southampton player out there accepting the trophy, but I don’t think it was a snub.”
Sutton boss Paul Doswell, who is reputed to be a Saints fan and a personal friend of Alan Pardew, dismissed any allegations that Southampton “snubbed” his team.
He said: “It was nothing to do with Southampton. I don’t think anybody informed them to stay there. I don’t think, I know.
“There was no snub there whatever. I don’t think we communicated to Southampton we wanted them to stay. On the basis we got to draw I’m happy to take the cup.”
Southampton FC did not get back to the Sutton Guardian when asked for comment.
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