Jack Ross reacts to Sunderland director Charlie Methven's controversial 'parasites' comment
Charlie Methven caused quite a stir this week when he hit out at those pubs and bars on Wearside for showing live Sunderland matches.
The club's executive director blasted “parasites” who are hampering efforts to improve the Black Cats’ financial situation and accused bosses of “trying to get a free ride” out of the club.
Methven did move to clarify that he was not describing SAFC fans as “parasites”, but the pub owners who choose to illegally stream games.
Under English Football League (EFL) broadcast rules, games being streamed on club websites cannot be shown on screens in pubs, clubs and other venues.
Live Sky games can be shown by venues if they have the relevant licenses in place.
Mr Methven accused those broadcasting games illegally of “taking the mickey” out of the club at a time when he argues he and others who are part of the new regime are “trying to get Sunderland AFC back on its feet”.
Speaking to BBC Newcastle about the issue, Mr Methven said he had seen photographic evidence taken by fans of pubs and bars in Sunderland advertising live games which are not broadcast on Sky.
Ross was asked for his response to Methven's comments at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Coventry City.
Ross said: "Naturally, for me as a manager, I would always like as many home supporters as possible in the stadium on a fortnightly basis or whenever we're playing at home.
"It goes without saying that it helps us enormously when they're behind us and I think we've seen that already in home games this season.
"There's always an economic argument for how often fans can get to games and I'm acutely aware of that.
"The numbers they've turned out in for home games has been absolutely remarkable.
"I know that's been supported by some of that stats that have come out recently that show average attendances across European leagues, never mind across teams.
"To be close to 30,000 or around that mark for average attendances is incredible and wouldn't be replicated at very many clubs across Europe.
"For me it's very simple, I just want to keep on encouraging as many of them back as we can and I think if we progress as we have done so far, we'll get that up again which is fantastic given the league we find ourselves in."