It is almost as though broadcasters, football clubs, governing bodies, and anybody else who has a say, doesn’t care about the supporters.
By close of play on Sunday 11 February, Newcastle United will have played 30 matches (all competitions) so far this season, with exactly half of them having been selected for live TV.
Of the 15 shown on live TV, 10 will have been away from home and five at St James Park.
Only four of 14 away games won’t have been moved for live TV and those four were a Tuesday night at West Brom, New Year’s Day at Stoke (Newcastle fans pictured above), plus games in London on the two Saturdays right before Christmas.
The latest of these live away games to be confirmed for broadcasting is the fourth round of the FA Cup, at 1.30pm on Sunday 28 January, it will be kick-off for Newcastle at either Chelsea or Norwich.
If Norwich win the replay, the first train Newcastle fans would be able to get on that Sunday would get them to Carrow Road for around about half-time.
However, with the game moved to a Sunday, even if it is in the capital at Stamford Bridge, Newcastle fans will still find it very difficult to make it on the train from Tyneside, with engineering work making it tricky.
Why can’t the TV companies work together and try to give the best possible kick-off times to games where away fans are making the longest/most difficult journeys?
It would also be interesting to know exactly what Newcastle United are doing, if anything, when it comes to looking after the interests of their most hardcore fans who travel all over the country supporting the team. What objections have they made when it comes to their most loyal supporters being messed around so much?
It always feels as though anything to benefit football supporters either happens by accident, or due to the authorities being shamed into doing it.
English football is expensive enough to watch anyway but away tickets were seeing their prices in many instances going way beyond what was acceptable, then increasing each season on top of that. Their reasoning being that it is demand and supply, otherwise known as exploitation, as everybody has their team that they support and they don’t have a choice to go elsewhere and watch another team.
With the ever increasing TV riches, Premier League clubs were shamed into bringing in a cap on away ticket prices. Even then they wouldn’t go with the Football Supporters Federations’s (FSF’s) ‘Twenty is Plenty’ campaign, instead of twenty pound a ticket the top tier clubs agreed to charge a maximum of £30 to away fans at PL games.
However, just to underline how begrudging any allowances are to supporters, last weekend’s FA Cup third round saw both Manchester United and Liverpool charge visiting fans more than £30. Everton supporters paying up to £36 at Anfield and Derby fans £45 at Old Trafford.
Bear in mind both clubs were picking up extra cash anyway as the games were to be shown on live TV, so why charge so much just because you know people will pay it?
We all know the answer is simply greed and one day it will all backfire on them.