Isn’t it sad that the FA Cup fixture scheduling brings more of a sigh of relief when it’s actually a weekend game, as opposed to a ridiculous midweek game like Everton and West Ham had to go through on Tuesday evening?
I really hate those types of games. So when we were announced to be one of the television companies’ choice for live football, my first reaction was to roll my eyes at the thought of having to wait until 12am on a Wednesday night so that the TV companies get as bigger global audience, then when I’d stepped down off my hyperbole horse and found out that it’s a Sunday 4pm kick off for our lads away to Brighton.
Of course, there’s still the mind-numbingly dull Michael Owen and the tiresome Ray Stubbs to deal with (I think he still presents?), but at least it’s at a weekend. Isn’t it funny – because the Sunday 4pm kick offs have been a mainstay of Premier League life since the leagues inception in 1992, it’s almost become as acceptable in my eyes as the Saturday 3pm kick off? We humans are creatures of habit and, with repetition of those Sunday kick offs I don’t feel as aggrieved that the FA Cup is being played on a Sunday.
It could be worse. Remember last year when we played Coventry on a Friday? Sure, it was great to end the working week with The Arsenal, but it made for an incredibly long weekend without the weekend journey/experience of going to the game that particular weekend. That’s probably why I haven’t taken to Monday night football as much as you’d think I would have. After all, Monday night football was standard fare for the early days of the Premier League and despite a brief hiatus until relatively recently, it has by-and-large been a common sight for Premier League football fans.
But it’s not been a comfortable one for me, mainly because it takes away my football watching during the weekend, forcing me to do other things, because the last thing I want to see is all of our ‘rivals’ picking up points without the possibility of us responding. Plus, I always end up having to do both household chores AND shopping expeditions to places that I would never usually choose to frequent.
TV scheduling eh? Ruining the average Joe’s weekend since….I can’t even remember any more. I want to say since BT Sport stepped on the scene, but we had ESPN and Setanta before that, so it’s hardly a new thing to find out that your away trip to Manchester or Newcastle has been changed to 12pm on a Sunday afternoon; “Enjoy the journey up there people, you’ll get nee compensation for your train fare from us footballing authorities”.
I guess you could argue that it’s the price you pay for ‘progress’, by which I mean a better ‘product’, watched by billions globally, served up by the best footballers in the game. I love my football club and of course I want to see us with the best players that can entertain us as regularly as possible, but there has to be a balance, right? Are we to see the gradual diminishing of standard Saturday football games in favour of seven days a week Premier League action that sees us play any potential day of the week?
I saw a discussion on my Twitter timeline from Block 5 Gooner, Tim Stillman and one other (sorry, I forget who) where Michael (B5G) talked about the fact that the reason 3pm games weren’t allowed to be shown – the reason that originally came into effect that is – was because the football authorities wanted to protected attendances at grounds to make sure the atmosphere remains in the grounds. Surely that is no longer a relevant argument, is it? After all, attendances have remained for most other games and I am pretty sure that if 3pm games were shown on the telly, The Emirates would still be packed to capacity, no? After all, on Sunday for the Stoke game (which is at 1.30pm) we’ll most likely see a nearly full stadium of 60,000 people. Yet it’s televised live on TV and it’s an annoying time. So the whole argument of 3pm kick offs is negated and I think that pretty soon we’ll see the gradual death of them.
I do find a slightly humourus (not really) irony about the fact that the powers that be talk about keeping the essence of the game and the traditions of the game, yet when it comes to impacting revenue through televised coverage, the traditions are thrown out like a slightly green piece of wholemeal Hovis.
But then again I am as guilty for perpetuating this situation, as are all of us who regular watch (and demand to watch) football on the telly with our bloodthirsty need to be entertained. I pay my subscription fees and so am part of the problem and not the solution.
But what can I do? I am just a simple person who loves his football, but loves his Arsenal more and would do anything (legal) to watch them.
Answers on a postcard on how to solve this people.