This Friday morning I wrote an article suggesting that in light of the seriously bad weather conditions, Liverpool Football Club had a moral obligation to offer to refund any Newcastle fans who ended up not making the game.
Thursday night had seen the M62 completely closed with many people stranded and Police this morning still advising not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
Whilst the weather might not be as bad over on Merseyside, getting there is very likely not going to be easy, with conditions not predicted to improve until after the weekend.
Liverpool FC are of course under no contractual obligation to give any refund but (as I explained earlier – see below), it would be a nice goodwill gesture and in reality any money refunded would be a drop in the ocean, even if only compared to the extra cash Liverpool will earn from the game being on live TV.
The Liverpool Echo picked up on the article and ran a poll asking what Liverpool fans thought about the idea of their club refunding Newcastle fans who didn’t make it and the result they have published at 4pm on Friday afternoon is:
66% Yes. It’s the decent thing to do.
34% No. It’s out of Liverpool’s hands.
The Liverpool Echo also carried various comments from Liverpool fans, some sympathetic and some not so.
One thing some of them missed, was that I said refunds should also be given to any Liverpool fans who were also stuck and not able to get to the match.
Some said that if anybody should be covering the cost of refunds it should be Mike Ashley/Newcastle United, as they are also banking extra cash from the game being on live TV – I have sympathy with this and maybe it would be a very positive step if the two clubs agreed to jointly share the cost of refunding fans.
The reality anyway is that there will likely be very few fans who would take advantage of any refund offer and both Liverpool and Newcastle United would get some very cheap positive PR.
A couple of the comments from Liverpool fans in the Liverpool Echo piece were:
“We no longer live in the 70s, football has evolved a lot since then and so, I hope, have attitudes regarding supporters’ safety.
“Regardless of the revenue we should show how much of a peoples club Liverpool is and refund those who are unable to attend due to present weather conditions.
“I’m sure Rafa would agree.”
“Liverpool don’t control the weather and people know this country has s..t weather it’s the chance u take when you buy a ticket for any match home & away.
“Would Newcastle refund? No probs not. They prob say what I basically just have, you take the chance when u get a ticket.”
The Mag – Earlier Today (Friday 2 March 2018):
The Liverpool v Newcastle United match looks set to go ahead.
Liverpool releasing an official statement (see below) which makes it pretty clear that they see the match being played as scheduled.
The modern day facilities mean that the pitch is never a reason these days, whilst unless the weather suddenly got so bad in the Liverpool area very close to the kick-off- that won’t stop it going ahead as planned either.
I don’t have a problem with that BUT I do think there is a moral obligation on Liverpool Football Club to say now to any Newcastle fans (and Liverpool supporters) who don’t make the game, that they will get refunds on their tickets.
In their statement below they do warn fans to make sure they are aware of the travel disruption due to the weather, as well as the planned rail strike (you would hope that in light of the shocking weather that the RMT Union would be postponing that strike action as well).
However, advising Newcastle fans (and their own supporters) to make sure they are up to date with travel advice is one thing, that advice helping supporters to actually get to the game is quite another.
As I write this on Friday morning, the M62 is still closed and people have been trapped on that stretch of road all night, Police urging people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
— Fazila Loonat (@FazilaLoonat_) March 2, 2018
J21-22 M62 is closed the surrounding area is gridlocked please avoid the area
— NW Motorway Police (@NWmwaypolice) March 2, 2018
With Saturday’s match on Live TV, there is an extra massive chunk of money being made which in itself dwarfs any money that would be refunded on any tickets that were left unused.
The fact it is being broadcast live as well, means that Liverpool (and Newcastle United as well) could and should be saying to fans that if they still want to try and make their way to the match then great – BUT with the Police advice being not to travel and the weather conditions almost certainly having no chance of significantly improving, fans will definitely get their ticket money back and can watch it instead on TV.
Even if everybody is still intent on trying to get to the match, Liverpool do in my opinion have this moral obligation, with these weather conditions being so extreme. The last thing any of us want to see/hear are people getting into serious trouble trying to get to and from the match.
Liverpool Official Statement:
‘Due to the inclement weather forecast over the coming days, Liverpool FC would like to remind supporters to take extra care when travelling to Anfield and encourage fans to plan their journey in advance.
Supporters are advised to arrive early at the stadium and check the Merseytravel and Merseyrail websites for any updates before they travel.
Fans should also be aware of planned strike action by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union. The planned action will cause significant disruption to Merseyrail and Northern rail services on Saturday March 3, 2018. A reduced Merseyrail service will be in place between 7am and 7pm.
Saturday’s game against Newcastle United is planned to go ahead as normal.
Supporters travelling from Newcastle should also be mindful of potential travel disruption across roads and the wider transport network as the inclement weather is expected to mostly affect the east of the country. Visit nufc.co.uk for more information.’