Newcastle fans haven’t visited Wembley since 9 April 2000, unless they got lost of course in the meantime.

Apparently they have even built a new stadium there since our last visit…

Despite Mike Ashley laughingly putting up a £20m incentive for our Championship side to lift the trophy, the FA Cup was surely never destined to have black and white ribbons on it in 2018.

Drawing Chelsea away looks to have made all but certain of that, especially with a crucial Premier League game at home to Burnley only three days later. Sadly, extra games is not exactly what Rafa Benitez needs in these next three or four months, as he attempts to navigate away from the dangers of relegation. Though of course whichever 11 players who are chosen will give it their best shot and we can still dream…

When the Premier League fixtures were handed out in the Summer, the Tottenham away date had extra significance this time around.

No doubt a fair few were marking it down as one to target with it being the national stadium and a (very very) rare chance for Newcastle supporters, including a fair few parents who have season tickets with kids.

Regardless of which Newcastle fans were targeting the Spurs game, nobody was legislating for it being moved to Friday night.

The current TV deals allow Sky Sports to choose 10 games (from the 380) to be shown on Friday night, so why would anybody think that it is a good idea, or even that four letter word – ‘fair’, to choose the club that is furthest away from Wembley to have to travel there on a Friday night?

With each new move the Premier League and broadcasters are moving closer to eventually killing off their golden goose. The people who actually go to the matches and help create the spectacle are clearly never ever considered.

When the next TV deals come into effect in the 2019/20 season, for the first time it will be a majority of the 380 Premier League matches that will be shown live.

With this week’s announcement, 16 of Newcastle’s first 31 Premier League games will be shown live, including 11 of the first 16 away matches, for a club who have a 250 mile round trip to even their closest away venue.

Saturday night games are going to be added to the Friday night ones in the new TV deals, everything geared to making it more and more convenient for people at home in their living room or in the pub.

As the greed of those who stand to gain grows ever bigger, they appear totally unaware  of the dangers as they make it ever tougher for both away and home supporters to get to games.

There will be a reckoning one day and they won’t even see it coming, by then as well, it will be too late as many fans turn their backs on a sport that didn’t know when to stop pushing those boundaries.

  • Rich Lawson

    I think you will find this game is on BT,but agree with all your sentiments about Sky,parasites ! This has to be the one where we change tactics,alow Mitro’ a start and just attack them for fun.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The first thing is that this is F.A. Cup weekend and the game is certain to be off and will be played on a Wednesday back end of April early May which is even worse as will mean two days off work instead of one. The second main problem is while Tottenham have over twenty thousand empty seats unsold for most games they only give the away fans three thousand tickets. This weekend sees a cup tie at Dinner time with the first train going out of Newcastle a nervous affair with one change and engineering works so fans might even make it in time for kick off as always extra delays on Sundays. Throw in Swansea, Brighton and Southampton all away at four on a Sunday afternoon with the next one Burnley away Monday night and it’s a bit of a joke. To put a game on T.V on a Friday night which is almost certain to be off just shows what a useless shower Sky are and everyone should cancel their subscriptions in protest.

  • Gareth Marshall

    Stop your bloody whinging man! I bet there are easily 5k+ supporters who’ll love to go down to Wembley and maybe even make a weekend of it. What a perfect opportunity, which as you say, hasn’t been an option for many years.

    I agree with your point in principle, but there is always a positive spin to be found if you try hard enough. The stadium is where it is, it’s not as though the goalposts suddenly changed and it’s now being played in Brazil. It’s the same place, just a day earlier and besides, hardened away followers will know that such things can happen and so probably won’t have booked hotels/trains etc just yet.

    It’ll all work out in the end mate, cheer up!

    • Brian Standen

      What about those who had booked travel and hotels, let me tell you I have friends coming over from Bermuda on the Saturday morning…… flight, hotels already paid for and booked! Yes not season tickets holders but they had obtained tickets for the home end! What about the fans from Newcastle who had none refundable travel and hotels booked?

      • Gareth Marshall

        Well, that’s unfortunate and I feel sorry for your friends, but this is the real world. Surely the tickets will still be valid and perhaps it’s far enough out to change the flight and hotel bookings for a small fee.

        I don’t mean to sound so cold, but if you plan to travel from the other side of the world on the day (morning) of a game which seems to be very very important, then you’d have to be, as best, naive or at worst very foolish.

        If this particular game was so important, why take the chance of flying in on the same day? What about delays etc? Surly, a smarter option would have been to fly the day before. If they had, we wouldn’t be discussing this now.

        As for the general fans, as I’ve said before, they know better than to book up trips so far in advance and if they do, I suspect they chose rooms with no cancellation fees and flexi train tickets just in case of situations like this.

        I like your articles Brian and you seem like a decent fella from your posts, but my point remains, stop whinging ;)

        • Brian Standen

          As it happens the FA cup would probably have caused them to miss the game anyway. It’s not to do with whinging it’s more emphasising the point that fans are not given any consideration. Not just NUFC fans all fans! The flip side is the TV companies do broadcast every NUFC game in Bermuda.