Manchester United were handed a tough draw in the next round of the FA Cup, having been drawn against Arsenal. Which is without a doubt, the biggest tie of the 4th round. So its no wonder that the TV companies will have been showing this one.
And because of that, the match has been rescheduled, but not to an early kick-off on Saturday, or to a 5:30pm kick-off. No, it was rescheduled to a 7:55pm kick-off on a Friday night, with the last train back to Manchester from London at 11PM. That train sold out within 30 minutes of the announcement, which means thousands of fans will have to find other ways home, or book expensive accommodation for the night.
The working-class fans are again being forced to take the hit by the TV companies who seem to have no regard for the fans of our beautiful game. I’m not asking for the game not be on TV. I think it should be on TV. We can only take around 5000 fans, and I think its only fair that more than that get to watch the game and it is the biggest tie of the round after all. But scheduling it on a Friday night with only one train back to Manchester after full-time is an absolute disgrace.
The fans should not be at the beck and call of the TV companies. After all, without the supporters, the great sport of football wouldn’t be great at all. The TV companies offer no compensation for when the games are re-arranged. It was only earlier this season that the Manchester United vs Everton game was re-arranged multiple times due to TV and the delay of Spurs’ new stadium. Supporters were offered no compensation for the hotels, trains, coaches that had already been booked twice.
The TV Companies aren’t the only ones to blame though. The FA are a major factor as well. Their rule that 3PM kick-offs can’t be televised due to adverse effects on match attendance is out of date. The only team it would affect is City, but they can’t fill their stadium on them anyway, so wouldn’t really make a difference.
That rule should be abolished and TV companies in the UK should be able to televise 3PM games, therefore removing the need to re-arrange games for stupid times like 7:55pm on a Friday Night.
You can see the thoughts from some of the supporters below:
TV and money strike again at the expense of travelling fans, Arsenal v United on a Friday night. Appalling decision. Fans now having to take time off work to get to North London. Plus it will be a nightmare getting back to Manchester. Well done everybody #mufc #facup #bbcsport— Paul Delaney (@Dilly1964) January 11, 2019
Arsenal v United on a Friday night? What idiot makes these decisions? Putting the fans first again, obviously...— Paul (@hi_randy) January 11, 2019
Arsenal in the cup on Friday. In other words, they don’t give a shit that 5,000+ have to travel 3/4 hours on a working day, with no trains back. Club should put on complimentary coaches and @nationalrailenq should put on later trains. Football would be nothing without fans.— MUFC Away Days (@mufcaways_) January 11, 2019
As you can see, the Manchester United fans are frustrated and rightly so. Once again their loyalty is being taken advantage of by the TV companies and the FA all in the name of higher viewing figures and larger dividends for their shareholders.
Tottenham fans also suffered from being chosen as the Friday night game in the last round fixture against Tranmere, with no trains home from Liverpool to London, after full-time.
I mean even if you insist on having a game on a Friday night, at the very least, the TV companies the FA and the clubs should ensure that extra trains/coaches are put on to ensure the fans can get home. And if a game is re-arranged, then compensation should be paid, not just for the ticket, but for hotels/travel as well. Its time the FA, the clubs and the TV companies look after the supporters, who are integral to the whole sport.
The Arsenal vs Manchester United game has been scheduled for 7:55PM on Friday 25th January and will be shown live on BBC One. The game will take place at the Emirates Stadium.