Festive football changes

The festive period is meant to be the season of goodwill to all. Isn't it? 

On Friday, the Premier League announced the fixture changes for games being played throughout December and over the Christmas period. 


In the month of December, with the exception of one, every Liverpool game has been moved for the sake of television. That other game is being played mid-week in Middlesbrough. This theme continues in January. 


December will see match-going regulars expected to make a 520 mile round trip to Bournemouth for a 1.30pm kick off on a Sunday. Who in their right mind thinks that's reasonable and, more importantly, what representations did LFC make to Sky about the impact this will have on our fans? 


Ten days later supporters will be expected to make a 300 mile round trip to the North East. Granted, this game hasn't been moved for television purposes, however yet again no consideration has been given to the people who bother to attend these games and make the Premier League the exciting spectacle that it is. 


The usual match day traditions of Boxing Day football will have to wait until 5.15pm the next day, when we host Stoke at Anfield and to add insult to injury, Liverpool will be playing Manchester City at 5.30pm on New Year's Eve. Whilst the match will take place at Anfield, supporters both locally and further afield will find getting to and from the match a far from ideal experience. 


The lack of public transport across Merseyside after the final whistle and to the rest of the country will cause inconvenience and disruption for supporters. Those living in Liverpool will find, based on past experience, that public transport finishes early, usually between 7pm and 8pm. 


For away supporters, there are no trains from Manchester, instead having to rely on a rail replacement bus service both ways. Supporters travelling from London have the choice of one train, less than 15 minutes after the final whistle will have blown. If they make that, the train arrives back in London at 12:06am. Happy New Year!


A lack of transport options, on one of the busiest nights of the year, means supporters having to plan with military like precision — how to get there, what time and foregoing social occasions to accommodate a tv spectacle. 


Likely forgotten in all this too is the staff — not the well paid footballers or executives but the stewards, servers and everyone else who will be expected to turn up and then struggle to find a way home. 


In light of all of the above we have written to LFC to express our disappointment and also to understand what representations were made to both the Premier League and the television companies when these fixtures were agreed. It is apparent that no consideration whatsoever has been given to the match going support and yet again the draw of television money has been too much to resist. 


We call on the football clubs involved, Sky Sports, BT Sport to consider funding some form of public transport to assist fans over this period. Particularly for the Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Manchester City games. 


Separately we will be contacting the local transport authority and transport operators in order to seek some form of solution for the match on the 31st. 


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