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    Friday Night Football

    The new Premier League campaign will see the regular introduction of Friday night football matches taking place. A minimum of ten live Premier League matches will be broadcasted on a Friday night as part of a new Television rights deal.
    Naturally of course the Friday night football match slot was always going to bring differences of opinion from football supporters and experts alike across the Premier League. In theory Friday night football sounds fantastic for a lot of supporters; you get to watch the football with a few drinks with your mates, or of course go to the match if it’s your team playing. Additionally with the £30 price cap for away games makes it a whole lot more feasible to go and watch your team away from home.

    However, on the other side there is the issue of travelling to a Friday night match. For example; for the two matches this season so far with Southampton travelling to Manchester United and Liverpool travelling to Chelsea last weekend both on a Friday night, both sets of away supporters would have had to travel over 200 plus miles to both grounds, which is certainly an inconvenience for the majority of fans. People may have to take time off work, book hotels and in some cases arrange their own transport if they are not booked on a club supporters coach. Travelling from Southampton to Manchester by train during the day might not be so bad, but it’s not quite so simple if you wanted to travel by train back on the same night.

    When you take all this into account there appears to be very little consideration from people at the top such as; clubs and television companies regarding fans travel distances. This is not something that has just happened overnight, this issue is the same for lunchtime kick offs at a weekend which has been going on for years. On the contrary 12.30 pm kick offs, or any kick off times aside from the traditional Saturday 3pm matches are not really the issue here, it is the fact that TV companies and clubs need to discuss and start to consider geographical locations of football clubs. In some cases such as League Cup fixtures which are all played in midweek is something that cannot really be avoided, however the majority of Premier League fixtures can be settled to avoid inconvenient kick off times between two clubs who have a big travel distance between them.
    The Friday night football concept is generally not a bad idea as it is quite ‘old school’ and it has happened many times in the past especially during the 1980’s when TV first started showing league games live and Friday night football was quite popular. Let’s not forget thinking back as far to 1989 where Liverpool played Arsenal on a Friday night live on ITV at Anfield in a famous match which saw Arsenal snatch the league title from Liverpool in the dying minutes of the match.
    When it can be helped people or whoever orchestrates the fixtures must consider distances of which fans and clubs themselves have to travel at awkward kick off times especially Premier League night matches which can be helped, unlike competitions such as the League Cup and European competition matches where the fixtures and distances between clubs to consider the matches cannot be helped so easily.
    The topic is clearly open for debate and opinions as the night football matches will undoubtedly suit different people. To summarise here are some of the positives to expect from the Friday night football this season:
    ·        An extra day of football for neutral viewers and for supporters of participating clubs.
    ·        Being in work on a Friday, and the thought of a Premier league match to watch in the evening before the weekend will excite a lot of fans.
    ·        Better atmosphere – There is a general view that night matches often can generate a louder atmosphere in the stadium.
    ·        Pubs will be busy and the added bonus of regular football whether it being the Football League or Premier League matches can only be good for pubs’ business and a great way to start your weekend.

    By Carl Halsall

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    Item Reviewed: Friday Night Football Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Carl Halsall
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