The Death…

25 10 2008

As football continues its own self-destruction (I see this week that Richard “Bright-Ideas” Scudamore is still very much thinking about game 39), today is particularly disappointing.

As a traditionalist in footballing terms, I remain convinced that all fixtures should occur at 3pm on Saturdays, or 7.45pm on Tuesdays. I accept that money talks and that various tv companies can show different matches at different times, but I don’t like it.

Take today for example. There are four premier league matches. Only one of them kicks off at 3pm (and it’s the WBA vs Hull match – presumably because Sky and Setanta thought it would be a rubbish match). The three others have all kicked off at different times. Everton vs Man Utd kicked off at midday. Sunderland vs Newcastle at 12:45pm. Blackburn vs Middlesborough will kick off at 5:30pm.

There are therefore six games tomorrow. Of which three are televised. Meaning that the others are kicking off at 3pm for no reason other than because they can. So why can these games, for the sake of the fans, not be played on a Saturday afternoon?

Now there are occasions when the police recommend that the matches should be played at a different time due to previous crowd problems, but these are rare, and occur usually when there is a derby match. There are two derby matches this weekend. One was the Sunderland vs Newcastle match today. The other is the West Ham vs Arsenal match tomorrow (which is televised anyway). The games which begin at 3pm are not, therefore, derbys. In other words, there is no reason for them to be played at this time. So why not play them on Saturday? If only I knew.

The fans are the ones who suffer in all this. Sundays, traditionally, are a day of rest. Most people like to unwind and relax on Sunday, irrespective of their faith. When the schedulers decide to play these matches on Sunday, they are effectively removing this day of rest as fans usually have to travel to the matches (tomorrow Liverpool fans are going to London to see the Chelsea match – a long round trip for most fans). In days gone by, fans knew that on Saturday they would be able to go to the match at 3pm. Not anymore, and this is hugely frustrating.

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