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October 2016
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Sky-way robbery? Time to fight back, football fans

by Ché ‘Blacksheep’ Guevara

The moving of the Arsenal v. Leicester City game from Saturday 13 February to lunchtime on the Sunday won’t inconvenience me from a travel perspective but it will give me an awkward decision to make (given its Valentine’s day). I think I know what I will do but at least I have the option; unlike Walter and his merry band of Belgian Gooners (and thousands of other football fans of both clubs) I don’t have to alter my travel plans at the last minute.

Walter eloquently described exactly what problems moving a game at such short notice can cause and the result will be empty seats in some parts of the ground. Ok, some people will get refunds on their tickets or sell them on the Ticket Exchange or to friends (or even to touts – since no one seems to want to do anything to stop them operating outside the Emirates). But some will simply be unable to come because of money, work, family commitments etc.

Why is this happening? Money!

As Abba know money, money, money, must be funny, it’s a rich man’s world…

Sky (and BTSprot) own the franchise to show Premier League matches all over the globe. They pour millions into football and it pays for our stars’ wages and helps clubs survive and (some) to turn a profit. TV money is GOOD for football clubs. But, as Sir Alex Ferguson (remember him?) once declared, it’s potentially BAD for football.

As the recent Twenty’s Plenty protest argued football stadiums without fans in them lose the atmosphere that make football the spectacle that it is (and so the draw for all that TV money in the first place). There are two things (other than Walter’s excellent piece) that you might want to read about this: Arseblog (as usual) makes some very valid points but also this piece from the Guardian in early January.

It seems Leicester fans (the 3,000 of them that are travelling to the game) might well make their own protest  by boycotting the opening 5 minutes of the game. Some Arsenal fans might join them in solidarity and I applaud that. You might recall that Bayern fans did the same ahead of our recent Champions League game in protest at the cost of tickets in England.

Personally while I think protesting is a good thing and I’m all for it I shan’t be joining in (as I didn’t join in for the CL game). I want to be there to cheer on my team in what might is now a serious title clash (and why Sky couldn’t see this earlier goodness only knows).

More importantly I don’t think this sort of protest is particularly effective. Yes let’s have banners, or sing songs, but I rather expect Sky’s cameras will ignore it, or brush it off by saying they are allowing MANY more people to watch the game than the 60,000 in the ground. They won’t behave differently in future as a result of a few hundred well-meaning football fans.

The clubs might compensate the fans (and they should). With all the money they receive from TV rights every Arsenal and Leicester fan who can produce evidence of losing money as a result of this (cancelled or rescheduled flights, trains etc, hotel bookings and so on) should have that paid by the ‘football family’. Of course the people that should pay are Sky, but I note they couldn’t even be arsed to comment in the immediate aftermath of this story breaking.

If we really want to wrest control of football back from Sky and the other TV companies the solution is actually right in front of our eyes – and I mean literally in front of them. If you have a Sky account then cancel it. Do it today. Tell them why when you call. Tell them because you won’t accept them mucking around with our beloved sport any longer.

We don’t need a subscription to watch Sky anyway. It is available in pubs and clubs, you can access it online (this is apparently illegal so I do not condone you doing this however), or you can listen for free on the radio (it’s better anyway).

I gave up on Sky years ago – you only get a handful of Arsenal games anyway and I can watch away highlights on Arsenal Player for free.

So, if you are upset by Sky moving the goalposts (so to speak) by which I mean rescheduling games at a moment’s notice, ignoring the fan’s voice, charging £100s to watch games, putting games on Fridays from next season, scheduling games at 8 on a Monday between clubs at either ends of the country and destroying the traditional Saturday afternoon pleasure of millions…. then act in away that will actually matter.

Get on the dog and tell them its over, I’m leaving you Sky and enjoy the sense of relief, the loss of pointless channels you never watch and annoying pundits you would prefer to mute.

Then they might listen.

Insult of the Day (for the TV companies that change the game dates)

Illiterate loiterers! (Two Gentlemen of Verona)

From the anniversary files

  • 22 January 2008: Tottenham 5 Arsenal 1, League cup semi-final.  Arsenal put out their usual reserve team, and thus suffered the first defeat to Tottenham since November 1999, as Tottenham responded with their first team.  Arsenal however did beat Tottenham home and away in the league that season.
  • 22 January 2012: Arsenal 1 Man U 2.  Arsenal lost all three January league games and were said to have “no chance” of qualifying for Europe in 2012/13, being in a mix of three teams, each five and six points outside the top four.

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15 comments to Sky-way robbery? Time to fight back, football fans

  • Mandy Dodd

    Looks like the club are offering refunds…in some circumstances, and that the two clubs and the EPL are going to have a bit of a chat.
    The whole episode is a disgrace and shows the power and arrogance SKY have.

    Makes you wonder what else they may be up to with their influence on fixtures, and heaven knows what else

    But ultimately, agree, the best way to fight it is cancelling subscriptions

  • para

    I hope Untold taking up the fight is the start of change. One thing i also think, is that the TV should show the game with all replays of incidents.

    Check out an Arsenal u12 youth

  • Al

    I’m all for cancelling sky subscriptions, I hate everything they stand for. Unfortunately I can’t, as I dumped them more than 10 years ago 🙁

    Saw that clip, thought of posting it here but then thought we need to keep this boy under wraps, away from the vultures. What a silly thought it turned out to be anyway 🙂 the Internet is awash with the clip. It’s gone viral. But the boy is gifted, astonishingly gifted.

  • porter

    After 30 odd years the season ticket gets harder to justify , ticket exchange only goes so far . Public transport either unreliable or too expensive and cost requires more than 1 person in a car to make the round trip.

  • ClockEndRider

    So sad. And the saddest thing is it’s true.

  • porter

    To get a return ticket from my local station to Finsbury Park in time for the Leicester kick off is £ 67 .40 with 3 changes and the possible delays that they may well bring , leaving home at 7.00 am and getting back who knows? estimated 6.00 p.m . But of course it’s on the box. .

  • jonjona

    Fully agree Porter I had already bought 3 train returns £87 for the Saturday non refundable.
    I cannot now get a train on the Sunday morning that arrives in time for the game so will have to drive 130 miles to get there to save losing another 100 quid on the tickets.
    Plus my son and his friend who are coming with me have had to change their days off at work which has caused them no end of grief. The club/sky should be reimbursing travel costs where the evidence can be provided.
    Its a disgrace

  • Menace

    The most aweful aspect of this TV rubbish is the impact on Junior Gunners. Kids who dream of playing for Arsenal & whose parents get them season tickets are robbed of games rescheduled that impact their school / home work. What is the point of parents getting tickets for games on a Monday night?

    Arsenal FC have lost perspective of their varied fans & have been driven by money like the rest of the Premier League. When fans cannot get to matches or Juniors lose out on school, responsibility falls on the club & their tie to TV. Schedules dhould be fixed for EPl games at the start of the season. Cup games are a different entity & can be scheduled on the fly, as draws vary.

    I gave Sky the elbow a few years ago as I have a season ticket. OpenBox is a great alternative to satellite TV.

    I watch most games live through winter as I am in Goa -Sun, Sea , Sand, Soccer & reasonable booze. Benefits of retirement.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope to stop my cable operator soon as I ‘ve had enough of their crap. Am hoping that Arsenal have a direct pay for view channel, so that my money goes direct to the club .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Message from overseas –

    The volatile stock market affects both human beings and their best friends .
    Last month , when the market was good , my dog ate what I ate .
    Last week , when the market was bad , I ate what my dog ate .
    Yesterday , when the market crashed , I ate my dog !

  • Pete

    I cancelled Sky Sports a week ago – sadly just before the fixture was moved! Inconvenient for me – but catastrophic for many.

    To be fair to Arsenal, I don’t think they have any say in this.

  • porter

    I am surprised that the Police have not had a say in this.

  • Sid

    Why not just change the dates a bit earlier, Surely Sky or BT could predict Arsenal Leicester would be an important game 2 months in advace
    It’s not rocket science.

  • Sid

    Or all chip in and take Sky/Arsenal to court.
    They sold a ticket with a date on and broke the contract.
    Once a test case has been won it sets a presidence and all fans can claim.
    Come on you ‘ammers 2.1

  • M18CTID

    Sid, I posted my comments on this in Walter’s thread earlier (I’ve posted them again below) about the same topic. The TV companies have guidelines to change fixtures at least 6 weeks before and the February TV fixtures were all decided in December so what they’ve done here is totally out of order:

    “Walter, you know we don’t see eye to eye on plenty of other footballing issues but I’m with you 100% on this.

    It’s one thing moving games for TV – I think most of us accept that this in itself is part of football in this day and age – but there are clear guidelines to follow and one of these is to give at least 6 weeks notice of fixture changes for TV purposes. This means that all the February TV games were announced back in December, and Arsenal v Leicester wasn’t one of them so fans of both clubs could then make whatever travel and/or accomodation arrangements they needed to make based on a Saturday 3pm kick-off. To now move this fixture is a complete and utter disgrace, and I’m sure the Football Supporters Federation (an organisation that I’m affiliated to) will be putting a complaint in to the Premier League.”