Christmas Eve was no-goer, says Fergie

November 9, 2007

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Manchester United rejected a request to play Everton at 8pm on Christmas Eve as 'a non-starter'.

The club were approached by TV company Setanta, who are screening the match live, to move the kick-off to the night before Christmas but it was dismissed out of hand.

Ferguson said: 'The club were asked to play and it was a non-starter. Who wants to play on Christmas Eve?

'The players will be wanting to get their Christmas presents out for their children. That was an easy one to decide.'

United will now play the match at Old Trafford at noon on December 23.

Their decision to reject Setanta's request was also backed up by Greater Manchester Police.

The issue of kick-off times being moved in order to satisfy the demands of television has become an increasing headache for clubs. This weekend, only one Premier League match is kicking off at the traditional 3pm start, with six out of 10 top-flight games taking place on Sunday and one on Monday.

Clubs do sometimes prefer to play on Sundays however. United's home match against Blackburn this weekend is a case in point.

It was moved to the Sunday as there was a slight possibility Blackburn could have been involved in the UEFA Cup - Rovers were 2-0 down from the first leg at the time the decision was made.

It is thought Ferguson was more than happy to play the game on a Sunday to allow an extra day to recover from United's Champions League encounter with Dynamo Kiev.