Fans? who cares!
Sky Sports have finally announced their picks for the live matches in May – with one of the notable changes being Arsenal’s trip to Hull (182 miles) moving to 8pm on Monday 4th when they also picked Chelsea’s game at home to Palace (nine miles) for the Sunday lunchtime slot and West Brom’s trip to Old Trafford (83 miles) for Saturday evening.
This once again leaves supporters little over a month to arrange (or rearrange!) travel and accommodation, with the additional hassle of it being a Bank Holiday weekend.
With the last train from Hull to London leaving at 20.57, this leaves supporters with the choice of driving or forking out more money on hotels, plus potentially having to take time off work just for the pleasure of watching their team.
This is not just a rant at Sky; it was only last month the BBC decided in their infinite wisdom that the Manchester United v Arsenal FA Cup match also needed to be played on a Monday night, with Arsenal laying on chartered trains and extra coaches to help their supporters travel.
Clearly when these decisions are made the needs of the travelling supporters are not even an afterthought – surely this has to change?
How long can co-commentators keep talking about the empty seats in stadiums when the first train doesn’t get into the station before a 12.45 game starts?
Arsenal are much maligned as the ugly face of modern football prices (despite not actually having the most expensive season tickets) but what’s also never mentioned is our away fans constantly getting a raw deal by being charged higher prices due to Arsenal being a ‘Category A’ fixture, having to pay over the odds for bad and restricted views and poor facilities.
For example, Arsenal fans are being charged £50 per ticket at Hull, whereas Arsenal charged Hull (a category C fixture) less than £30 per person.
As we’ve repeatedly said on this site, we don’t agree with the prices being charged for football these days, but as long as the media insist that it is a problem only at Arsenal, nothing will ever change.
As for making fans travel the length of the country on a weekday evening? Well, you just have to suck that up so that the clubs can get their billions from the TV companies while you keep paying extortionate amounts for tickets.
You’d almost think the fans don’t matter at all.