Upon returning from work last night, I was greeted by the news that Sky Sports had moved all of Aston Villa’s fixtures in March excluding Manchester City away for broadcasting purposes, with Villa’s three home fixtures now set to be played on Sundays. The Manchester City fixture also looks set to change due to City’s cup run.
For a lot of football fans who may not be able to afford to go to games often, watching Villa live on Sky Sports is the next best thing to attending games. However, fans who regularly make journeys up and down the country, watching their team home and away, paying a small fortune week in, week out on tickets and travel costs as well as the cost of food and drinks along with memorabilia such as match day programmes, are being milked dry.
It’s not just about money. The only way that Sky’s scheduling really affects what is in my back pocket is in the travel costs incurred when games are rescheduled. However, Sky, by moving fixtures around, are effectively stopping fans from supporting their teams, which is not fair at all. A prime example of this was seen towards the start of last season when Sky Sports moved Southampton’s home fixture against Everton to a Monday night slot. This was an absolute joke: for Everton fans to be expected to travel that far on a Monday night just beggars belief. The match was rescheduled so that Sky could have a few more viewers on a Monday night and add to an already very healthy bank balance. The reason I remember this fixture is that a Sky reporter was outside the ground trying to talk to fans in the build-up to kick-off. The reporter stopped an Everton fan and asked, “What made you travel all the way down to Southampton on a cold Monday night?” The Everton fan comically replied, “Because of you bloody lot!”
This sums up the state of modern day football in England and I for one am fed up with dedicated fans being walked all over.
What happened to 3p.m. on a Saturday, eh?