So yesterday lunch time, Sky TV and BT Sport announced what supporters they will be fucking over with their latest schedule of TV games for April – and the result was a big fuck you to Arsenal fans. The travelling support have been well and truly shafted.
March was bad enough, with only one 3pm kick off in the month – away to Stoke tomorrow. After that, Everton (Sat 12.45), Spurs (Sun 16.00 – what happened to ‘Health and Safety?), Chelsea (Sat 12.45) and Manchester City (Saturday 17.30). Luckily for Arsenal fans, the fucking about with the fixtures in March has little effect as the two main away games moved are against London clubs. All it means is plenty of drinking after Chelsea Away, and Plenty of drinking before Spurs Away (and plenty of sore heads at work Monday morning).
April, however, is a complete and utter fuck up for The Arsenal.
We start off with an away trip to Goodison Park. Sunday 13.30. That gives Arsenal fans 2 realistic choices. An 8.15 or 9.15 train out of Euston. Thanks Sky TV you utter cunts for the early start.
Next on the agenda is West Ham at home. A noon kick off on a Sunday. Not too bad, on the face of it. Two London clubs. Not far to travel. OK, so it means no beers before the game. But it means you can have a session after and still be home to grab some dinner before the Chinese closes. Until you notice that Sunday 13th April is the day of the London Marathon.
So not only have Sky TV said a big ‘Fuck You’ to one of the countries most important sporting days by scheduling a TV game at the same time the majority of fun runners will be on the streets of London (taking away important viewers from the charities) but they have also created a logistical nightmare for the police, who will now be stretched as they have to manage the millions who take to the streets to support the runners, as well as police a London Derby.
It was not too long ago that the police had the final say in fixtures. Based on safety grounds, games would get moved to an early kick off (I remember we once played Spurs at 11.45am) and made to ensure they would not clash with other big events in the capital. It seems nowadays, however, that it is the TV stations who are the king makers.
Have the police not questioned the scheduling of both the West Ham and Spurs match’s? Has some money been paid elsewhere by the TV companies to get their way? Or do the police just not really give a fuck and the previous excuse for awkward kick off times was just that, an excuse.
I feel for the London Marathon, I really do. Attention will be taken away from the once a year charity event for a football game. That is not right. I guess it is probably Sky TV throwing their toys out the pram knowing the London Marathon get’s a lot of viewers, and it is shown on BBC.
To make matters worse, The FA have also schedule the FA Cup Semi Final’s for the same weekend. So if Arsenal fail to beat Everton, you could end up with a scenario where Arsenal play West Ham, the London Marathon, and an FA Cup Semi Final are all on the same day. Add in the other FA Cup Semi Final the day before, plus Crystal Palace and Fulham playing at home, the police are going to have a field day with overtime and cancelled leave. Good job schedulers.
Next up is Hull City away. And just as you thought we had been fucked as much as the Everton game, Hull is scheduled for 17.30 on a Saturday. Ok, so we get a lay in. But wait for it, the last train leaves Hull City that gets you back into London the same day at 18.30. The game kicks off at 17.30
So fuck you Sky TV. Who will be picking up my hotel bill? It certainly won’t be you will it? Even the 6 hour, 3 changes and a bus journey is impossible. And £96.80 for that? Fuck off. Of course, I know I could take the ‘No booze, no fun’ club coaches, but fuck that.
Lastly we have Newcastle at home. This is where I feel for the away fans. It has been moved to a Monday 8pm kick off. So all the Geordies now have to take a day off work and like us with Hull, have no way of getting home (last train leaves King Cross at 20.00). Well done Sky TV again. You show you do not care about the true football fans. You show TV viewing figures are more important. To make this even better the club sold junior gunners tickets the day before this was announced, leaving a lot of fans with kids too young for games on school nights out of pocket.
And well done to the Premier League. Their recent campaign is #YouAreFootball. If we are football, then put your foot down. Protect the fans. Or do the Premier League only care about the bank balance?
So whilst all those who sit in front of the TV with their popcorn and Diet Coke will not give a fuck, those who travel up and down the country, the loyal supporters of Arsenal Football Club, are shafted.
Sky TV – You are a disgrace