Friday, 21 June 2013

Sky and the league have to be more considerate to travelling football fans

Sky have generally been very good for top flight football. It has made high level football a lot more accessible to more people by airing many football games in various competitions on a regular basis. I think most blokes' Sunday's have improved on what they were like 25 years ago, the addition of a live double bill of Premier League games brightening it up significantly one can assume. However where Sky Sports still have work to do is how they select Monday night games, and indeed all night games.

There are generally a few midweek programmes of league fixtures a season and there are now more games being picked for live Monday night coverage on Sky. And there any many examples every season of how inconsiderate the league and Sky are to the travelling fans. Say you're a Fulham fan and follow the club home and away but when the fixtures come out at the start of the season the league have chosen to have Fulham playing away at Newcastle on one of their few midweek programmes. Or say you're a Sunderland fan planning on going to see the team play away at Southampton on a Saturday but then Sky move the fixture to a Monday night and you work from 9 'til 5 on Monday's. It poses a big dilemma.

So what I propose is that the league and Sky come together and pledge that every midweek programme of fixtures will, like Boxing Day, involve playing teams of a reasonably close location. And the same applies for Monday night games. For example: Arsenal v West Ham, Everton v Man City, Southampton v Chelsea etc. There would still be decent travelling, the likes of Newcastle and Sunderland are a decent distance away from virtually every club but the travelling would still be as limited as possible. You'd never get a scenario occurring where you have fans of a northern team having to travel down to Swansea or Tottenham to see them play and vice versa.

This of course wouldn't just apply for Premier League matches, it would be the same for the lower leagues as well. For instance, Sky have already negatively interfered with the travelling fan by bringing forward Accrington v Portsmouth to show it live at 12:15pm on August 10th. Whereas the next day they have Leicester v Leeds on at 4pm. Why not just swap them around? Have the earlier kick off being Leicester v Leeds where most travelling fans are just a straight forward 2 or 3 hour journey away, compared to the travelling Pompey fans who'll probably have to either go the night before and spend money on a hotel or set off at about 3am in order to get there in time. The point is, even though this isn't a night game problem, Sky have got to be more considerate to football fans who travel to watch their team play away from home.

It's very insensitive and inconsiderate behavior. It's bang out of order in my opinion. Just looking at Arsenal's midweek fixtures this coming season I can see that we play Hull at home on one of them. That's nicely timed for Hull's away fans isn't it? We played Newcastle on a Monday night game a year and a bit ago, Crystal Palace play Everton away on a night match this season. Chelsea go to Sunderland midweek, Newcastle to Swansea, Norwich to Liverpool. Newcastle to Norwich, Hull to Crystal Palace, Man City to Tottenham.

It is so inconsiderate to regular fans and travelling fans. I love night matches and being able to watch games on Monday nights and Wednesday nights etc., but there's got to be some sacrifice. Instead of (hypothetically) choosing Crystal Palace v Everton as a live Monday night match, Sky should bare in mind travelling fans (who are the most important part of football- without them Sky would have nothing) and choose games like Man City v Liverpool, West Ham v Arsenal, Aston Villa v Fulham- in other words games where the two teams aren't too far away from each other. Otherwise they're making it impossible for a lot of fans to travel from work to an evening away game.

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