Friday Night Fixtures?

By GrecianLez …

Funny old day is our Saturday. That traditional day for football and a 3pm kick-off. Some fans toddle off to work for the morning, some get dragged around town by She Who Must Be Obeyed. Some even lie in bed to watch Saturday Kitchen – and deservedly so. But the 1 o’clock ritual is of getting changed into your red and white shirt, checking the old Spectacles, Wallet and Watch, coat on, scarf on and off to St James Park we go. That’s how many of the Red and White army still routinely prepare for the match. I know I do. However, with a Mini-Me in tow, well, I have to find his trainers every single time we’re about to leave. So even that has become part of the routine. 

At the ground, it’s back to a haven of normality. Pint in hand, head moving up to the right to sneak a glimpse of the early kick off on Sky Sports, then down to the left to chat to fellow City fans about that game on the box, how your Mrs dragged you through the shops that morning and then about the team as you learn who is playing when the team sheets are produced. Ah, Saturday afternoons.
The same applies to a Tuesday or Wednesday night fixture – except you’re normally red faced from the mad dash across the city or drive up the road from work, quick shower then back into the routine. The shirt, the scarf, the pint in hand. But the kick-off is 7.45pm. And, as it’s a school night, no kids.
So, what about a Friday night game of football instead? Is there any difference?
I know I’m writing this as a Grecian who lives in God’s greatest city but what if we occasionally throw away a little bit of that Saturday tradition in favour of the night before? Would it do any harm? Could it do some good? Every so often, say, 5 games a season?
The fors and against to such a move can be argued until we are a Premiership club but, by that time, it won’t be an option. You play when you’re told to. When was the last time you saw Man United play 3pm Saturday football regularly? I don’t think I can recall. But back to the topic in hand …
The fors of the argument are, of course, the clash of a 3pm kick off with many other activities happening around the city. If you play for a local side then seeing city play is a non-starter, as well as kids playing at this time with parents going along to watch them. We also have the clash of the Chiefs playing around the 3pm mark. There is no getting away with the fact they have been very successful over the last few years and are a bigger draw to the punters looking for an action packed game.
Friday nights are not a school night. Many Parents don’t go to games on a Tuesday or Wednesday with their kids as it finishes quite late. Fridays would be a great time to experience more football under the floodlights. We could also look into the mix of satellite broadcasters keen to fill their schedule, perhaps one could throw a few quid City’s way and show the match live. Friday night football is a way of opening up to another group of people who can’t see a match on a Saturday.
With the againsts argument we have to start with the distant exiles of our club. Many just wouldn’t be able to make it down as they work, probably finishing too late to catch the train in time for the kick off. Or the travelling back home times – Friday is an expensive time to travel. This also goes for the away fans too. Friday nights may be a time of other personal commitments. Or the simple belief that, traditionally, football is played on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm. As it has been for generations, stretching back to the days of the Friday pay packet, and that is the time it should always be. Which is a fair enough opinion of our beautiful game.  It might be argued that for every Exile we might lose, we could gain someone else.

The end result, though, will be the proof of the pudding. Will it work? Well, we have our chance to see when we play Accrington Stanley on Friday 15 February. Kick-off at 7.45pm

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