One great day out ruined, Arsenal at home turned into a logistical nightmare for away fans, another excuse for avoiding Chelsea – all, says a remarkably understanding
Pete Sixsmith, in a day’s work for the TV folk whose job it is to undo the Premier League fixture list …
A colleague, who is also of the Red and White persuasion, performs the valuable task every year of making a copy of the fixtures, laminating them and passing them out to those who are Sunderland fans. Every year, I thank him and I see a pristine fixture list, with games every Saturday – as it used to be and as it should be.
Then along come the TV fixtures……………
They arrived yesterday meaning that the beautiful symmetry of Bill Pollard’s fixture card is now hopelessly distorted. The first tranche takes us up to the end of November and for us there are five changes thanks to the combined efforts of the Dirty Digger (Sky) and The Kingdom of the Mouse (ESPN).
The first change is due to Manchester City’s involvement in the Thursday Night Europa Also Rans League, which means that our fixture is pushed back a day. Obviously, City’s superstars will be exhausted after walloping the might of say, Lithuania’s Siauliai, or Torpedo Zhodino, the Pride of Belarus, or even the Danish superstars, Randers.
For this we lose a Saturday at football. Not bad for me (I will tick off Morecambe’s new ground) but little fun for those who have to make travel arrangements on a Bank Holiday Weekend.
Then the Disney owned ESPN kick in with a 5.30pm kick off for our home game with Arsenal.
I know a number of our fans will have a difficult trip, but it is even worse for the Gunners. They will have to suffer a long, late journey home, probably all the better for them to extol the virtues of their delicate, cosmopolitan approach to the beautiful game, while denigrating us vulgar Northern types for being so rough and nasty.
The first away game to be changed is our trip to Blackburn in October. That moves to a Monday night, which is a real shame as Blackburn is a good Saturday out: a few pints in Lancaster pre-game, dropped of foutside the ground and home by 7.30pm. It’s almost a local derby and there is always a good turn out. Instead it’s a Monday night dash after work and not getting home until 1am. Not quite as good, eh?
The visit to Sports Direct Sell Cheap Rubbish@St James’ Park is now a Sunday at 4pm. Northumbria Police should be well pleased with that, particularly as they will probably still be looking for Raoul Moat. Let us hope the tree and the phone box in the Bigg Market avoid a good shellacking afterwards.
In November we have two changes. First of all, the Sunday a date at 4pm for Chelsea gives me a another very good reason for continuing my refusal to visit Stamford Bridge, while the visit of Everton eight days later for a Monday night game guarantees the coldest night out of the year so far.
We have to put up with it. Without it, there would be no Darren Bent or Lee Cattermole; there probably wouldn’t be a Stadium of Light and we would still be huddled inside Roker Park. And for me, it means I can continue my quest to watch football on different grounds and therefore strengthen my position as the Most Boring Man On This Website.
Now, let me look at The Vodkat North west Counties fixtures for Saturday October 30.