When Sunday comes? October fixture farce

September 5, 2007

A new record will be set on October 6 with only one of the 10 Premier League games starting at the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off.

Eight matches will take place on Sunday, October 7 and another at 12.45pm on the Saturday. Due to the demands of television and involvement with the UEFA Cup, only Aston Villa v West Ham remains at Saturday 3pm.

Fans' leaders are to complain to the Premier League about the timings, claiming that it will be 'a dark weekend' for match-going supporters.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, told PA Sport: 'Fans still very much like the traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off and the decline in that element of the game is a matter of great concern.

'For there to be just one game kicking off at that time is quite extraordinary and it will be a dark weekend for fans.

'It's symbolic of the way things are going but the views of the match-going fan seem to be bottom of the list of priorities. We will certainly bring this up at our next meeting with the Premier League.'

Manchester United v Wigan is the other game taking place of Saturday, October 6 but is kicking off at 12.45pm as it is being televised.

Three other matches are being televised on the Sunday, four more games have been switched because teams involved are playing in the UEFA Cup on the previous Thursday and Manchester City v Middlesbrough has been moved for policing reasons.

The City game was originally due to be played in the last week of the season but as their ground is the venue for the UEFA Cup final, UEFA asked the club to switch their Middlesbrough matches to play at the Riverside on the last weekend of the season.

As United are at home on Saturday, October 6, City have to play on the Sunday.

A Premier League spokesman said: 'It is a combination of factors - teams featuring in Europe, television games and policing issues.

'We always try to give fans as much notice as possible as our research shows that if we do that, then they can make the appropriate travel arrangements.'

Teams involved in the UEFA Cup do not have to play on a Sunday but under Premier League rules they have a right do so if it does not impact on the opposing team.

Saturday Oct 6: Man Utd v Wigan 12:45pm; Aston Villa v West Ham 3pm.

Sunday Oct 7: Arsenal v Sunderland 12pm; Reading v Derby 2pm; Blackburn v Birmingham 3pm; Bolton v Chelsea 3pm; Liverpool v Tottenham 3pm; Man City v Middlesbrough 3pm; Newcastle v Everton 3pm; Fulham v Portsmouth 4.10pm.