By Walter Broeckx
Recently Tony has written a few articles about who is running football. Today I will be writing who is ruining football.
As you may know I am the president of Arsenal Belgium, the official supporters club of Arsenal in Belgium. And when we had a look at the fixture list a few months ago we decided to go for the match Arsenal – Leicester. At that moment it looked a nice fixture. Leicester being the surprise team of this season and it looked to be a real top match even now.
So we asked our members who wanted to go, asked for the tickets through the channels supporters clubs have to use and then got as usual this season a reduced number of tickets at our disposal. That confirmation was given some 6-7 weeks before kick off.
So only then we could tell our bus company with how many people we would be going.
Now I don’t know if you have ever booked the shuttle but the longer you wait to book the shuttle the more expensive it is getting. And now we could book a shuttle to Folkestone on Saturday morning but we couldn’t book a shuttle back unless we paid over the odds. But as we had no other option we were prepared to pay over the odds.
So the final result of us knowing rather late how many tickets we could get (and that we couldn’t get what we asked) resulted in a very expensive transport price of our members. But well we are crazy about Arsenal so we were willing to pay it.
Then came the news that there would be a meeting for supporter clubs before the match at 11.00. As I always try to be at those meetings certainly when I am in London for a match we had to rearrange things again. Because if I went by bus then our members had to get out of bed at an impossible time and then had to sit there waiting for some 5 hours before the match would start. Not really ideal.
So we decided that I would book the Eurostar for a one way trip and then join the rest of the supporters after the meeting and then I would travel back home with the bus. So a ticket for the Eurostar was booked (expensive but hey we are crazy enough to do this….). So that was it.
All was arranged. Yes it was a bit expensive but well… everything for The Arsenal. So we could be calm and satisfied as the trip was all booked and everyone was happy.
Then we got a mail from Arsenal. Saying that the TV companies had decided to move the match. Not just from moving it from kick off hour. No, they moved it to the next day.
So this means that :
- We had to cancel the bus company
- The bus company had to cancel their booking
- We have to get a new price from our bus company
- My train ticket is useless unless I would still go and make it a weekend trip but this cost me even more money to sleep in a hotel and my personal situation isn’t really favourable for me to be away the whole weekend
- We have to get out of bed on an impossible hour to make it to the match.
- Will the supporters club meeting still be held?
So it is the TV companies that are running football. Certainly not the fans.
In fact it is the TV companies that are ruining football. We now face unexpected expenses both for our supporters club and for me in person. And believe me it is expensive enough to come to London to support Arsenal.
And who will pay for those expences? Not the TV companies of course. No, they give f*ck all about us supporters who find themselves in problems because of them rearranging the matches less than 4 weeks before kick off.
Now I have nothing against Arsenal matches being shown on TV. Not at all. As I have a subscription to a sports channel and that will broadcast this match.
But why on earth do they have to wait till 3.5 weeks before kickoff to not only change the hour (that would be bad but managable) but change it a whole day…. that is not something that can be done in a moment.
So here we are: a supporters club. All was arranged. All was done. And now we have to start from sratch apart from the tickets for the match itself.
In fact while typing this there might be members mailing me they suddenly can’t come along now because they might have to work on Sunday as they expected the match to be on Saturday, maybe had taken a day off at their work….
For us supporters it is the TV companies that are ruining an running football.
If you really want to change matches do it at least 2 months before kickoff. Then there would be no problem for supporters who come from far away to see the matches. If you really want to appeal as a world wide brand, show some respect for the fans who come from all over the world.
Ok, is that mail already out to the bus company? What about that train ticket??? Can they all still go? Off goes Walter shouting and swearing at everyone who comes near…
Running or ruining only a few letters but a world of difference for supporters clubs.
Insult of the Day (for the TV companies)
Illiterate loiterers! (Two gentlemen of Verona)
- Ref Review: Stoke – Arsenal: who is that voice whispering in my ear….?
- The one Arsenal transfer story that refuses to go away
- Would you be happy if you heard your son or daughter was working for an international sports body?
22 January 1887: Royal Arsenal 1 Eastern Wanderers 0. The return game of Arsenal’s first match played on the Isle of Dogs – it was the newspaper report that this was the second meeting of the two teams that helped confirm that the first game (for which there is no contemporary report) had taken place.
22 January 1910: The events that started the process of Henry Norris taking over Arsenal. On this day Woolwich Arsenal held two vital meetings (one for shareholders, one for supporters) in which they confirmed the extent of their debts after playing their scheduled league game.