Fans' Fury at Kick-Offs
Thursday, 21st Feb 2002 10:14
Supporters organisations are up in arms about the increasingly bizarre and annoying kick-off times imposed in order to satisfy television companies. The 5.35pm Saturday kick-off for the Arsenal-Newcastle FA Cup match seems to have brought the matter to a head.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Association, said that his organisation was unimpressed with developments: "This whole issue of kick-off times is one of our major concerns at the FSA. We're going to launch a 'Keep Saturday Special' campaign, and that's basically code for 'Stop Stupid Kick-off Times'."
This season Town supporters have suffered with Thursday night games in the UEFA Cup as well as the Sunday evening match against Manchester City in the FA Cup.
Few were pleased with games starting at those times and questions were put to David Sheepshanks regarding the issue at the AGM. These days however, the decisions over kick-off times are out of clubs' hands with contracts signed allowing media companies to dictate terms.
Arsenal fans are particularly annoyed at the timing of their match with Newcastle given that in a previous round they had a similarly daft kick-off, FSA man Clarke again: "The Independent Arsenal Supporters' Club have told me they are furious with this decision, and it's not the first time there has been a situation like this. When Liverpool played at Highbury in the fourth round, the train from Liverpool to Euston got in at 12.57pm and the fans had three minutes to get from Euston to Highbury. For various reasons people don't always have access to cars and even a coach can be difficult in any case because they are only really helpful if you live close to your team's ground, otherwise you've got a long journey there and another one to get to the away match."
There'll be a Town Topic up on the site regarding this issue in the next few minutes. See http://www.twtd.co.uk/towntopics
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