FA Cup, West Ham, Fixture Debacle & Aftermath!
You may have heard this week that our FA Cup fifth round tie against West Ham at Upton Park will now be played in midweek on a Monday night instead of over the weekend as first expected.
The tie will now be played on Monday 21st February with a kick-off of 8pm.
So why is this? Well, I am afraid it's because ESPN want to televise the match live. As usual of course, the fans have no say in the matter and how many Clarets supporters will now be unable to travel down for this game in view of the cost and inconvenience? How many had already made plans, I know I had!? A trip down to London for an 8pm Kick-Off game inevitably means staying overnight in the Capital after the match. Not cheap when you add up the cost of the ticket and getting down there in the first place. Some like me working up North during the week, will now be unable to go since I will need to be back at work on Tuesday. A Saturday game would have been a simple matter of getting on a train into London from Cambridgeshire. A one-hour journey each way.
There are of course the usual sweeteners with West Ham also reducing the ticket prices but surely at the end of the day, Clarets fans want to see games live and at convenient times. It's not even on Sky Sports, so folk will now have to search high and low for pubs and clubs that subscribe to ESPN. Not exactly a lot I suspect and even less at home.
There is another downside to this. A reduction in our following will contribute to less atmosphere and give the home side advantage and it really is time we kept football for the fans and not mega rich TV channels. Why the hell can`t these channels get off their arse and televise these games at sensible times when all supporters are given a fair chance of getting to the game to support the team they love? Why are we always at their beck and call? Well we know that of course, it`s the money and of course the clubs don`t give a fig because they get the dosh come what may from the lucrative hand-outs.
The fifth round tie had already led to the need to change one fixture. We had been due of course to play Coventry City at Turf Moor on Saturday 19th February in the Championship. That game was of course postponed and the new date has now been fixed for Tuesday 15th March (7:45 pm Kick-Off).
However more mayhem has been caused by the decision at the whim of the television media to now put the FA Cup game back to Monday night. We had been due to play Middlesbrough at home on the Tuesday night (22nd) so that too has now had to be postponed and will now be played in April on the night of Tuesday 19th (7:45 pm Kick-Off). Why the hell do we have to keep putting up with all these changes and inconvenience? The implications could be high too on our promotion chances with eight games to now play in the last month of the season before our final game against Cardiff City at Turf Moor on Sunday 8th May. We are now also facing FOUR away games on the trot this month and if we start losing points without any home games coming up, there could be significant psychological implications and by the end of this month we could look significantly off the pace, some points away from the play-offs spots. It is just not right and it is just not fair! Let`s return to sanity and give football back to the fans. These media companies don`t give a damn but even so we don`t seem to be able to co-ordinate our disgust at it all and always have to roll over and admit defeat.
To be honest I am absolutely furious. This is one game I was looking forward to going to and now like many Clarets fans won`t be able to. Football is more than watching the game on TV; it`s the atmosphere, the pre-match rituals with like minded fans, the camaraderie and banter etc etc. It`s a fun day out and I am sick and tired of these TV numpties spoiling it by flashing wads of money and getting clubs to accept it! Burnley will earn £247,500 for the live television coverage and that is sadly motivation for the club not making a stink about it and supporting the fans. Does anybody care anymore?
Burnley have been allocated 2,983 tickets for this game but will we get anywhere near that amount? I doubt it, whereas a nice weekend out in London may have been a different story.
The prices of the tickets are at least reasonable but that is hardly compensation for those now unable to attend and support their club. The prices are as follows:
£15- Adult season ticket holders
£17 - Adult non-season ticket holders
£5 - Under 16s
It is all an unnecessary upheaval and one of course that means only one group will suffer-The fans!