|[Blog] Final Day Switch the Tip of the Iceberg|
Written by slowerball on Friday, 25th Feb 2011 13:03
The Football League has switched all the final day Championship games to Saturday 7th May with 12.45pm kick-offs. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Once again the football authorities and TV companies dictate to the football supporters. Having made these decisions/fixtures some considerable time ago, I realise that games are subject to rearrangement due to postponements and cup ties – was ever thus. But the final games of the season have now traditionally been played on the final Sunday, which for me adds to the drama - if our club is involved – of the end of the season, with play-off places and relegation (let’s hope for us it’s the former and not the latter) still to be decided. This switch is rather annoying and means that I cannot now go to this game, and my son isn’t a happy chap as we had already made the necessary arrangements. As fans that reside 250 miles away, perhaps we are just unlucky. However, I feel that there are wider issues here. This is yet another case of the tail wagging the dog as football supporters continue to be given a raw deal by TV, the FA, the Football League etc, but more importantly it's the TV companies that seem to rule fixtures and call the shots.
There seems to be more emphasis on the so-called supporters who sit on their backsides and watch games on the box. I am not saying that fans should attend every game, as we all have lives and the expense of going to watch live matches increases disproportionately every year. The one bright spark is the free to air games shown on the BBC. I recognise also that TV money has increased the wealth of clubs and the profile of the game, but with so many clubs running at a loss and ticket prices creeping up, have the fans really benefited? Is football at Portman Rd now better than it was before Sky? I would suggest not.
The big clubs in the Premier League can now afford to pay £100k per week plus for 'star' players, which has the knock on effect of 'ordinary' players thinking they are worth £50k per week, many of whom seem content to sit in the stand, watching the games whilst wearing a big scarf, with seemingly no intention of actually wanting to play, which accounts for the fact that a) we can’t get these players into our club on loan because they are too expensive and have no desire to play (despite it being a short career) and b) even average players wage demands (or perhaps the demands of agents!) are too restrictive for clubs like ours to even consider these players either as a loaned or a permanent transfer.
The result of this is that there are many good players who could do a great job in the Championship or at lesser clubs that ‘supporters’ are being denied because of the money in the game. I believe that the football industry needs to take at look at how it treats fans, especially where disposable income in the wider society continues to diminish as the cost of living increases. Wage increases don’t keep apace with inflation, if they increase at all, the threat of interest rates going up and further unemployment are predictable.
Should rich owners and the pay TV companies choose to withdraw their sponsorship, the bubble that surrounds football may very well burst. It is therefore all the more important to treat fans as paying customers and with the consideration and thought we so thoroughly deserve.
It would be nice to think that some of this media cash that is clearly sloshing about is going towards the direct benefit of the fans rather than towards the obscene transfer fees and wages that were very much evident in the last transfer window. I will now put my soapbox away go out and buy some batteries for my portable wireless in readiness for the 7th May.
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