Where do Newcastle fans fit into the people’s game?
It isn’t as though it hasn’t been mentioned before but these barren three weeks of no football, have really brought home to many Newcastle fans (and those of other clubs), just where they come in the pecking order of Premier League football.
Newcastle fans, along with those of most other top tier clubs, have had no Premier League matches for three weeks. Of course, some of those who occasionally get into the fifth round of the FA Cup and beyond, might have had a cup game in that period.
For Newcastle fans and others though, three long weeks with no football.
Looking back, in the 88 days before Newcastle v Huddersfield today, there were only eight NUFC Premier League matches.
Fans now face eight PL games in 44 days and before that 88 days period, there were eight PL matches spread over only 31 days.
Do you ever get the feeling that it is the tail wagging the dog?
Broadcasters, Billionaire club owners, sponsors, national FAs, everybody comes before fans who go to the matches and who if they deserted, the rest would quickly lose a lot of interest.
Maybe the biggest problem is that Premier League stadiums are overwhelmingly filled by season ticket holders, having already paid what can you do?
There is also a historic problem in English football, where it is all but impossible to inspire large numbers of supporters from different clubs to come together in a common cause. Something that German club fans seem far more prepared to do when there is something they don’t want to happen.
It might be a radical idea but why shouldn’t club football fans come first in the Premier League? Obviously these ideas would also affect those in other countries as well.
Spread league matches as evenly as possible throughout the season.
Go back to the days of international matches happening midweek, players going off after playing on a weekend and training with the national team, then playing on a Wednesday night, returning to their clubs in time for the next weekend’s matches.
Cut down on pointless international friendlies which are only there to make money, whilst making the smallest nations pre-qualify would also cut down on the number of international competitive games that would have to be played.
Maybe we have to accept the Champions League can’t be touched but why not cut down on the ridiculously long Europa League process, which seemingly all clubs and fans hate. Make the secondary European competition a straight two-leg knockout each round.
With Premier League matches more spread out, you could also then get rid of the hated Monday night live TV matches.
As for TV scheduling, make the whole thing transparent and put in big letters when it is safe to assume a game can no longer be moved.
Football is of course still very much in fashion, and nowhere more so than the Premier League, but trends change. Everything that goes up, must always eventually come down. So it will eventually with football at the top level in this country.
If necessary, extend the league season so that games can be spread more evenly for the benefit of fans and get rid of pointless overseas tours. If it matters so much to the likes of Man City and Man Utd, they could use some of the millions they generate from overseas, to fly thousands of those fans in other countries over to the UK to watch them train and play here.
Also, with bigger and bigger stadiums being built in the Premier League, why not make it so away supporters get 10% of any club’s capacity and get the atmosphere ramped up. Yes, we would have to make up to 5,000 places at St James Park available but Newcastle fans would get 7,000+ tickets for Old Trafford, 6,000 at Arsenal and so on…
Whilst we are on, get safe standing fast-tracked and give us a chance of atmospheres like they have in the Bundesliga, plus potentially significantly bigger capacities if adopting their fans per space in standing areas.
Enjoy the game today, hopefully it will prove to be worth the wait…
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