Ask anyone at the Premier League and they will tell you the fixture list is compiled by computer. But what sort of computer? You’d think that, as chief executive of the wealthiest league in the world, Richard Scudamore would have sufficient funds at his disposal to afford something decent like a MacBook Air, complete with an Intel Core processor
But, judging by the way West Ham’s games have fallen this year, it looks like someone has used an old Amstrad powered by the clockwork innards of a Mickey Mouse watch. One home game in a calendar month? You’ve gotta be kidding! Yes, I know there’s an international break but there are five Saturdays in October this year, and we have one, single, solitary first team fixture at Upton Park in that time.
Admittedly it is a mouth-watering encounter with Chelsea, but as someone who regularly forgets where I have left my keys, I just hope I can remember where I’ve stored my season ticket when Jose Mourinho brings his team of corinthian heroes to E13. It will have been gathering dust for a month by then. Call me old-fashioned, but I rather like the traditional method of playing home and away games on alternate weekends. Th is new-fangled idea of back-to-back fixtures at the Boleyn Ground (or, worse, miles away from Upton Park) doesn’t suit me at all.
Many season ticket holders would have been stymied by the Leicester and Bournemouth home games being on consecutive Saturdays. I was one of them. Word may not have reached the Premier League bigwigs at Gloucester Place, but August is a popular month for parents to take their children away for a summer holiday. I believe it has something to do with the schools being closed around that time. Bad luck if you happened to have booked the two weeks which included the 15th and the 22nd.
Bad luck if you happened to have booked the two weeks which included the 15th and the 22nd. We get some more of this back-to-back malarkey in December. Worse still, it’s either side of Christmas with Swansea away on the Saturday immediately beforehand and another away fixture at Aston Villa on Boxing Day. Again, I’d like to know if anyone at Premier League HQ actually looked at these fixtures before they went public with them.
Whether or not a club’s Boxing Day fixture is home or away is, of course, in the lap of the gods. But wherever it’s played, the game should be a local derby and if Premier League fixtures Computer says no to common sense and may ruin a funeral Do the bigwigs at the Premier League even look at the fixtures now? BRIAN WILLIAMS @BrainWill26 Sad times: Leaving will be emotional I hear some overpaid TV pundit describe our game against Villa on December 26 as the ‘claret and blue derby’ I will choke on my cold turkey sandwich. When I was a kid, Christmas usually meant Spurs. Hard to believe I know, but there was a time when not only did we play on Boxing Day, there would be a game on either Christmas Day or Christmas Eve as well.
In 1958, for example, we played Spurs on December 25 and 26, winning the first game 2-1 at home, then giving them a 4-1 festive stuffing at their place the following day. How good would that make your Christmas? In the interests of balance, I should probably point out that two years later they beat us 5-0 on aggregate over two games on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. But I think we’ll quietly pass over that. The fixture that really disappointed me this year, of all years, was our final home match.
The games on the last day all have to kick off at the same time so no club can gain an advantage. The same is not true of matches played the week before, so if BT or Sky fancy getting their grubby little hands on what is clearly a momentous occasion in our history, there is precious little we or anyone else can do about it. Now, I like my football matches to kick off at 3pm on a Saturday. Not all supporters, I accept, share my aversion to 12.45s, 5.30s, and Sunday at four o’clock.
Football supporters get a raw deal at the best of times. Saying the final farewell to your spiritual home is the worst of times.