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Just ask when was last time Newcastle United v Manchester United left at 3pm Saturday?

3 weeks ago
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Newcastle United v Manchester United is to be played 8pm on Saturday 17 October 2020.

We learnt yesterday (Friday) what the Premier League had planned with the October 2020 matches that hadn’t been scheduled for live TV.

The 20 clubs agreeing to make the other 15 Premier League games in October available to be watched, BUT on a pay per view basis, rather than as part of existing Sky Sport and BT Sport packages that many fans already have.

Newcastle United v Manchester United the star attraction on the opening day of this brave new world of the Premier League clubs and broadcasters looking after the fans.

The Premier League have even said, that this move has been made simply so that fans will now be able to see their team play in every game.

Hmmm, that is all very touching but does anybody honestly believe it.

I found it incredible that when the usual announcement was made of live TV games for October, Newcastle United v Manchester wasn’t chosen.

Just think, Sky Sports and BT Sport had five choices and Newcastle United v Manchester United wasn’t even number five?

This isn’t me thinking NUFC (or MUFC!) are so important that they have to be chosen for live TV coverage BUT just ask yourself, when was the last time Newcastle United v Manchester United was played at 3pm on a Saturday? If this has ever happened in the Premier League era then I would be surprised, certainly not many times, particularly not since they started regularly increasing the number of matches shown live in the UK. I went back as far as the 2008/09 season before giving up and no sign of a 3pm Saturday kick-off for this fixture at St James Park.

My conclusion is that when the October TV selections were originally made, they absolutely knew that this pay per view was going to be brought in for the other matches and what better one to launch it than the combined fanbases of Newcastle United and Man Utd?

If it is just about a service to fans who are missing out on going to matches, why not then leave it at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon when those fans would love to see every match played, in any season, whether with the virus situation or not, whether with capacity attendance or no fans in the stadium?

Instead it is Saturday night ‘box office’ at 8pm, hoping to get as many casuals and neutrals, as well as the hardcore fans of both clubs.

The Premier League and broadcasters cynically holding this match back and not including it in their original five picks.

Of course, if it was simply a service to fans, why charge them £14.95 a time? Especially when in both Newcastle and Manchester you aren’t currently allowed to go in other households and potentially share the cost?

I have seen fans of EFL clubs pointing out that they are paying £10 a time to watch their matches on the iFollow streams, the argument being that Premier League fans are then getting a more premium product for not much more.

However, the fact is, fans of Newcastle United and Manchester United already pay vast sums of money for Sky Sports, BT Sport and even Amazon Prime now, in order to watch so many of their club’s games live on TV. So now they are being asked basically to pay again for a fixture that very realistically they could have expected to be included in the normal packages they pay for. With Newcastle United, you also have thousands of fans who Mike Ashley took full 2020/21 season ticket money from seven months ago (March 2020) and so they could effectively now be laying out a third (season ticket cash, usual Sky package and now PPV as well) lot of cash to watch this Man Utd match. Many thousands of other NUFC fans have now had seven monthly payments taken out for their 2020/21 season tickets, yet Mike Ashley refuses to let the club make any repayment (or stopping the monthly payments), concession, or even statement about the situation. Nobody knowing when fans, any of them, will be able to attend any matches.

It is different for smaller clubs in the lower divisions, I doubt if Sunderland fans or Carlisle supporters purchase Sky Sports packages based on how many times their club is going to be shown live.

As a Newcastle fan, would you pay for Sky Sports if you knew your club would never / very rarely feature? Some would still do it but not many I bet.

It will be interesting to see which matches are chosen for the usual Sky and BT packages in November. It appears clear that they will continue with PPV matches after October and if they know they can make massive extra cash if holding back certain games that would normally have been in the usual selection, will it be too much of a temptation?

This was the list of PPV games detailed in the Friday night Premier League Official Announcement:

Further to the Premier League’s announcement that all fixtures until the end of October will continue to be made available for fans to watch live in the United Kingdom, the revised schedule for all matches up to and including 2 November has been released.

All times below are BST until Saturday 24 October and GMT from Sunday 25 October.

Matchweek 5

Saturday 17 October

12:30 Everton v Liverpool (BT Sport)

15:00 Chelsea v Southampton (BT Sport Box Office)

17:30 Man City v Arsenal (Sky Sports)

20:00 Newcastle v Man Utd (Sky Sports Box Office)

Sunday 18 October

12:00 Sheffield Utd v Fulham (BT Sport Box Office)

14:00 Crystal Palace v Brighton (Sky Sports)

16:30 Spurs v West Ham (Sky Sports)

19:15 Leicester City v Aston Villa (Sky Sports Box Office)

Monday 19 October

17:30 West Brom v Burnley (Sky Sports Box Office)

20:00 Leeds v Wolves (Sky Sports)

Matchweek 6

Friday 23 October

20:00 Aston Villa v Leeds Utd (BT Sport Box Office)

Saturday 24 October

12:30 West Ham v Man City (BT Sport)

15:00 Fulham v Crystal Palace (BT Sport Box Office)

17:30 Man Utd v Chelsea (Sky Sports)

20:00 Liverpool v Sheff Utd (Sky Sports Box Office)

Sunday 25 October

14:00 Southampton v Everton (Sky Sports)

16:30 Wolves v Newcastle (Sky Sports)

19:15 Arsenal v Leicester City (Sky Sports Box Office)

Monday 26 October

17:30 Brighton v West Brom (Sky Sports Box Office)

20:00 Burnley v Spurs (Sky Sports)

Matchweek 7

Friday 30 October

20:00 Wolves v Crystal Palace (BT Sport Box Office)

Saturday 31 October

12:30 Sheff Utd v Man City (BT Sport)

15:00 Burnley v Chelsea (BT Sport Box Office)

17:30 Liverpool v West Ham (Sky Sports)

Sunday 1 November

12:00 Aston Villa v Southampton (Sky Sports Box Office)

14:00 Newcastle v Everton (Sky Sports)

16:30 Man Utd v Arsenal (Sky Sports)

19:15 Spurs v Brighton (Sky Sports Box Office)

Monday 2 November

17:30 Fulham v West Brom (Sky Sports Box Office)

20:00 Leeds v Leicester (Sky Sports)

Confirmation of the final kick-off times for matches in November and December impacted upon by UEFA Europa League participation will be issued when the broadcast selections for the relevant month are announced.

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