Back in October 2017 NUST became aware via our network of links with other supporter groups that consideration was being given to Sky moving fixtures to Christmas Eve, which last year fell on a Sunday. Under their deal with the Premier League Sky can choose to move two fixtures at their discretion to 1.30pm and 4pm on a Sunday.
Pressure was quickly brought to bear upon the football authorities by fans groups – we ourselves have written to both NUFC and Sky-and led by the Football Supporters Federation we attended a meeting with the Premier League. Having listened to our representations they agreed not to take up a televised game on Christmas Eve.
A small victory so far but it just goes to show what fans can do when working together. As part of our representations to the Premier League we emphasised that in our view supporters views should be taken into consideration when allocating fixtures for broadcasting.
Sadly in the latest round of fixtures due to be broadcast we find that our trip to Spurs has been moved again, this time to the Friday night slot once, giving no consideration to how difficult it will be for travelling fans.
With the new schedules for March NUFC there have been 12 away games rescheduled for broadcasting purposes with over 5700 miles clocked up by NUFC fans travelling to away fixtures this season.
Once again little regard is had for travelling fans. Now I know Rafa is doing a great job with limited resources this season but we’re hardly playing football like the Entertainers of KK’s days so what is it that draws the TV cameras to us? Could it be that for all of our away fixtures, wherever we play and however difficult the travel is, we sell out our full allocation of tickets? Anybody think that somebody is taking somebody for granted here?
We are speaking to Spurs Trust and they have warned us about the travel difficulties in London after evening games and the difficulties our fans will face trying to get a train home on the Friday night. What makes it worse this time around is that fans who want to make the most of early booking cheap deals on train tickets or hotels in London need to be careful. Both teams are still in the F.A. Cup and if either team makes it to the 5th Round the Spurs v Newcastle fixture will not go ahead but will be again rescheduled. Is it impossible to pick a game that doesn’t involve teams still in the cup?
There are discussions taking place about joint action that can be taken to influence the way televised fixtures are chosen and we will keep fans informed. We also feel that the club should step forward and play a more active part in in support of its travelling fans!