Newcastle and Norwich switches: who cares about the fans?


It is a rant we have had all too often.

Two announcements came today from Sunderland AFC – and in neither case is the club directly responsible – and they tell us a little more about what is wrong with mod€rn football:

* first, our home game against Newcastle United scheduled for a proper 3pm kickoff on Aug 20 has been moved, doubtless on security grounds, which we sadly must accept as inevitable, to noon on the same day. Blandly, safc.com adds: “This game has not been selected for live television transmission.”

Do Northumbria police care a jot about the supporters of either club who have chosen or been forced to move away from the region and for whom attendance will be made just that bit more difficult? Answers on postcards to the chief constable (copies to Niall Quinn on why such “despicable” fans will now feel driven towards illegal internet options, at home or in the pub)

* worse: “Sunderland’s visit to newly-promoted Barclays Premier League side Norwich City has been switched after being selected for live transmission by Sky Sports. How many Sunderland supporters who would have loved to attend the game will now be unable to? We do have to be realistic and accept that television money is part of the reason we are able to buy players like Connor Wickham and Asamoah Gyan. But wouldn’t it be nice to hear, too, that while only a fool would expect the least consideration for ordinary supporters from Sky, SAFC did at least raise a teeny-weeny objection?

Then there is QPR away. That – and I have been corrected here (see comments) in my belief that the date has been changed; it hasn’t – was already a make-it-as-hard-as-we-can-for-fans kickoff, now put back 15 minutes to 8pm, on Tuesday Dec 20. So televising it makes things no worse, and offers reasonable consolation for a date that could have been better chosen.

But my other arguments stand. We’re not asking for jackpot lottery wins here. Sooner or later, though, supporters are collectively going to give a nasty shock to the football money men, best remembered in the blank page that accompanied Len Shackleton’s chapter on what the average director knows about the game.

Monsieur Salut

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15 thoughts on “Newcastle and Norwich switches: who cares about the fans?”

  1. You say “they tell us a little more about what is wrong with mod€rn football”.

    And yet crowds are the highest they have been since the 50s. Explain please. Obviously more people are happy with it now than they were in your Utopian (mythical) past, when you wouldn’t have likely been going home and away every week anyway, much less had a season ticket, and would have probably been delighted for the chance to see the lads on telly.

  2. I quite like Loftus Road because of the fact that you’re right on top of the pitch, but I don’t remember any real bother on any recent visit. didn’t hear about nay when the mags visited either. I do remember the polis showing a bit of sense when it became apparent that we’d not all get in by three, so they put the start back 15 minutes. As for the Norwich change, it shows total lack of sense. Noon on saturday, or even 5:15 would have been much better. Mind, the fact that Norwich have to visit us on a midweek evening shows what idiots are looking after the fixtures

  3. To think you’d be able to see every game with a child still at school is probably a touch naive unfortunately Pete.

    It is inevitable, even if it wasn’t for TV, that games would get moved to mid-week.

  4. QPR hoop, well done. You have Sunderland fans agreeing with a Mag about something!
    I spent 10 years in London, and went to many games at Loftus Road, not just ours. I saw trouble a few times – Sheffield Utd ’99 was a pretty ugly affair – but I never saw ANY bother with Sunderland lads or even the Mags.
    Considering the large amounts that we and the Mags take down, it’s a credit to both sets of fans that there isnt more bother.
    Christ, did I almost pay a compliment to the Mags then?!? Nurse!!!!

  5. Totally agree with you. The league has no concern for fans having to travel long distances. As a Norwich fan, we also have to visit the Stadium of Light on a Tuesday night in February. We have no home midweek fixtures (apart from the ones moved to a Monday night) yet have 2 away ones, to Wolves and yourselves. My son and I had hoped to attend all matches this season, but due to the incompetent fixture compilers, in order to make it will require time out of school etc.

  6. QPRHoop . . . err how much are you charging away fans this season? How much? HOW much?

    I always liked loftus road, nice, tidy, compact are words that spring to mind.

    Now where’s my Garden Shed . . .

  7. qprhoop(appropriate name because you talk out of yours). Now I certainly have no love for Sunderland fans that’s for sure but both clubs have a huge and loyal away following who on the whole behave themselves and enjoy the games. Maybe the large amount of police fans was because of the large volume of fans both clubs took to your pokey little hole? I was there when Newcastle played and didn’t witness any trouble, not from our fans anyway. Obviously I wasn’t there for the Sunderland match but I’d be surprised if the majority were anything less than well behaved, boisterous and loud probably but that’s the way it should be.

  8. How nice to be patronised by somebody from a club owned by international jet setters and playboys. Pity they haven’t got a decent stadium, a proper name or any real supporters. Hope they are relegated with fewer points than Derby County!!!

  9. * and QPR away? That will also now kick off at a different, make-it-as-hard-as-we-can-for-fans time: 8pm on Tuesday Dec 20.

    Whilst accepting the general gist of the piece how much difference do you think 15 minutes will make to the supporters in this instance?

    I would not have thought that much.

    What, for me, is more worrying are the revenue losses that will have to be endured, by SAFC, because of the sparsity of games in which we will feature.

    The contempt shown by Northumbria’s “finest” is neither unusual nor unexpected!

  10. BSkyB have done the fans a favour as far QPR fixture is concerned. The away end only holds about 2000 supporters.

  11. Unlikely Colin,

    We take the SKY money, you gotta take it what comes with it. Mags game was always likely to be moved on police request so early in the season.

    Just got to get on with it.

  12. Agree with first two points, but to be fair to BSkyB (never an easy thing to do), they are actually helping us with the QPR game. That was already a Tuesday night game in the fixture list. The PL has a full programme of games in the week before Christmas, doubtless to aid the national side in their ability to fail in the European Championships.

  13. Are you not being a bit too moody over nothing?
    From what I saw when you were in the Championship, you and Newcastle were the worst sets of fans to visit Loftus Road – I had never seen more police vans in one street than when Sunderland were down and lobbing bottles at the police BEFORE the game.
    12 noon for that fixture is a necessity before too much Brown Ale gets consumed I would have thought.

    You may have a point with the Norwich one but would not be moaning if it was at home.

    The QPR fixture has moved by 15 minutes as it was on this date anyway and will allow you more time to get down there if you bother. Let’s hope you can behave yourselves this time.

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