So it looks like Arsenal v Liverpool will be on Christmas Eve, likely to be a kick off between 12:30-1:30 live on Sky. And I have conflicted feelings on the matter.
When I first heard that Sky were planning to play the fixture on Christmas Eve, my first thought was how is this allowed to happen, it just is not fair, once again TV companies show a disdain for fans, expecting them to be away from their families on Christmas Eve. I feel this view was mirrored by many reading here.
Arsenal fan pressure groups, alongside groups from other clubs and the Football Fans Federation got together to lobby the Premier League over a Christmas Eve game.
I was vocal in a Whatsapp group over my opinion. Games should not be played on Christmas Eve. Then one of my pals put across an argument which has swayed my opinion which chipped away at my argument.
Christmas Eve is usually a working day. So where is the argument that playing a game on Christmas Eve will split up the family? Yes, this year it falls on a Sunday, but usually on Christmas Eve, parents would be at work on Christmas Eve. Those with a nice boss finishing at lunch (and heading straight to the pub), those with a horrible boss finishing at 5:30.
So is there any difference between being home at 5pm Christmas Eve having been at work all day, and being at home Christmas Eve at 5pm having been at the football? Probably not.
But think about the staff who have to work. Yes, stewards, catering staff, ball boys, etc, are going to have to work Christmas Eve. But is this any difference from me, a Recruitment Consultant, having to work Christmas Eve the majority of the time? Or having to be in between Christmas and New Year. Christmas Eve is not a public holiday.
But the trains, the trains. There are plenty of trains back from Liverpool fans. Their journey to and from London will be a lot easier than what Arsenal fans faced earlier this season. Trains will run from Euston to Liverpool until 7:05pm, getting home at 21:28. With the game set to be done by 3:30 at the latest, there are plenty of trains home.
Boxing Day games are actually a lot more problematic for trains. I recall a few years ago we played Southampton away on Boxing Day. I was with family in Suffolk. To get to London, it would have taken 3 trains and a replacement bus. Then South West Trains were also running nothing out of Waterloo, so after 3 hours of getting to London, I would then have been unable to continue my journey on to Southampton due to lack of trains.
GC often bores everyone telling his story of how it once took him 4 hours to get home once Boxing Day from Selhurst Park to his Grandparents in Romford.
Even for games in Islington on Boxing Day, those living in Herts, Essex, Bucks, Berks, Kent and other Home Counties would have a nightmare journey for the game. A home game. Yet this is considered acceptable.
The argument of there being no trains on Christmas Eve is nonsensical as there are trains. Everyone can get home.
Sky are killing football with games over Christmas. This will not be the first time games have been held on Christmas Eve. There was a time, way before Sky, that games were held on Christmas Day.
Maybe instead of complaining about the game on Christmas Eve, we should embrace it? Fathers can take their sons to a game the night before Christmas. Almost an early Christmas present. That is a great opportunity to share the festive spirit.
And how many of you moaning about a Christmas Eve game usually go out with your work mates on Christmas Eve. The 1pm finish means 4/5 hours in the pub before going home. You do not care about family time then.
How many more of you go out on the beer all night on Christmas Eve, regardless of there being football on or not. I imagine most of us have done it, especially in the younger days. Gone out all night, a big booze up, before heading home in the early hours of Christmas Day. Then spending most of Christmas Morning trying to mask the hangover.
Over the years, Sky have screwed over fans. Late Sunday kick offs. Games moved to 8pm on a Bank Holiday Monday. Arsenal playing Liverpool on Christmas Eve Lunch is not one of these times.