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It’s the bloody TV companies that run and ruin football

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.

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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 :

  1. We had to cancel the bus company
  2. The bus company had to cancel their booking
  3. We have to get a new price from our bus company
  4. 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
  5. We have to get out of bed on an impossible hour to make it to the match.
  6. 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)

Recent Posts

The anniversaries

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.





22 comments to It’s the bloody TV companies that run and ruin football

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry to hear of your predicament Walter , but do hope you’ll be there . We’ll need that 3-1 scoreline !
    Even the local cable operator here screws us here by putting some stupid , half blind clowns on the pre , post and halftime shows. Uttering the same garbage from the UK media without a single original thought between them. Probably have to share half a brain amongst them.
    And this is only sport ! Lets not even start on politics and national issues .
    Hoping to quit them as it seems a waste to pay good money towards the upkeep of these idiots. Am sure they’ll all find jobs shoveling crap elsewhere.

  • para

    Yea to both: running it and ruining it too.

  • colario

    I feel your pain as I can’t get to games and like Brickfields have to endure brainless rabbits for commentators. They delight in rabbiting on and on and on about irrelevancies and the mantra of the day.

    But feast on your blessings unlike me you have the blessings of Belgian chocolate, Belgian coffee, Belgian beer and my favourite food, chips a la Belgium.

    Where I live none of these is a reality only a dream.

    A local supermarket does have Belgian pears! There good but I’d prefer the chips!

  • serge

    Arseblog has posted on this same subject today and suggests that up to a point the clubs themselves are complicit in as much as they are raking in the extra TV money with no complaint.
    Worth considering.

  • Florian

    I don’t want to imagine what would have happened had they moved the NLD to Monday three years ago when I flew all the way from Seattle.

  • Minesy

    I can sympathise totally … I can be at the Emirates in under two hours, (although I usually divert via my Father’s), but I still end up missing matches because, funnily enough, I do do other things at weekends and evenings that go to Arsenal !!!

    I thought Leeds were going to bring this to a head by refusing to admit Sky personnel into Elland Road recently, because of the number of matches changed compared to many other Championship teams, but unfortunately they backed down …. so I guess we are all stuck with it 🙁

  • Pete

    I commented on this on another thread yesterday.

    Two key issues:

    1. The match was NOT moved when the original Feb TV fixtures were done. I remember being really surprised as the two teams have been 1st and 2nd for a little while. Shows what the TV companies think of Leicester’s chances! Then it probably dawned on them that they had REALLY screwed up – so the match was then moved at the same time the March fixtures were announced. So all this inconvenience is entirely due to the arrogance of the TV companies in thinking Leicester would have faded away by now. As a result they have moved the game at 3 weeks notice at great inconvenience.

    Be clear, this is NOT a normal fixture move, it is a special-case one-off. It is entirely reasonable that the likes of the Belgian supporters club should have felt confident in making bookings – as that game had NOT specifically been selected at the same as all the other Feb moves.

    2. Sunday at 12 noon is an awful time. It clashes with Sunday morning football. The trains are usually even worse than usual. And, this time, it is also Valentines Day – so not harmonious for domestic relationships either.

    I see the original two televised games that day are Villa v Liverpool and Man v the Totts. I can understand the latter being televised but which idiot TV executives really though that Villa v Liverpool was a superior fixture than 1st v 2nd?

  • Usama Zaka

    Totally unacceptable, these TV companies are turning memorable journeys into nightmares for every fan outside of England (even those within England).

    It looks like the TV companies, PGMO, and Premier League thought : “Hey hang on a minute, we are making Arsenal FC suffer every week, why not we do the same with their fans and, mess and spoil their plans”

    Sorry to hear this, Walter.

  • Ando

    Bread & circuses, gentlemen.
    And ladies, as per Newspeak Directive: 45466364756552894960986

    With that amount of money, the tv companies i.e. the media arm of Globecorp Intl of course reserve the right to do as they please
    Contempt for the ordinary man/woman, as shown by the ritual public (apparently willing) humiliation in the Jeremy Kyle / Jerry Springer genre, is available
    There are regular tv news offerings of just how bad it is for evryone outside “our” cosy world of fantasy football and shows about how well you can cook
    All the perversion and degradation of the Roman arena is freely available via the affiliate Webbomatic ingelligence network
    The bad guys now in fact DO wear black, rather like them critturs and varmints who robbed banks and threatened ordinary folk in Roy Rogers / The Lone Ranger
    Except now they’re blowing places up, for real – and we’re getting to see it
    And they are sponsored by Globe Corps clients, apparently
    Are we seeing a theme here?
    It’s just good business, folks
    F*#k how many have to suffer

    You may have noticed mention on TTIP about to become signed recently?
    Life is now going to become a lot more difficult, let us be frank – but let us take good cheer in that we still have our collective enthusiasm for what started out as a team of ordinary blokes who worked together in an arsenal wanting to get together and kick a football around in their spare time

    Now it’s all big business and so, he who pays the piper.

    That acronym – TTIP. All techos will recognise the ip bit, and there are even more T’s in totalitarianism. Under TTIP, any loss of trade can be sued for and thus, any dissenting voice could be argued from having an affect on potential customers.

    Walter – I sympathise about the added expense and inconvenience, having just had to pay a supplement to travel on the wrong train, apparently – but in the future, comment such as your could be argued, in court, to represent the act of bringing the name of the company (Arsenal) into disrepute. How ironic, to be sued by the conglomerate that had sun-sumed one’s belover Gunners.

    I bid you all a very good morning

  • Ando

    Please excuse typos, this FGW ‘Cornish Riviera’ is a bit bumpy

  • Robert

    SkyFail should be trending on Twitter.

    In this day and age, corporate entities like Murdoch’s Sky are sensitive about social media. Use it.

  • Tasos

    Changing the date 3.5 weeks before KO is totally unfair on the travelling supporters.

    Also moving our match at Everton away to Saturday 12.45 KO straight after our Champions league match at Barcelona on the Wednesday night is a complete F…ing disgrace.

    I’d suggest that that particular game change has now pretty much nullified any small chance we had in the Barcelona tie. There’s no way were not resting players at the Nou Camp in preparation for a tough trip to Goodison Park.

    Almost every other major European league will help there champions league representatives by moving their matches in order to give them extra rest, not lest rest.

    This is not “accommodating” Arsenal in the slightest.

  • ClockEndRider

    Have seen suggestions from Leicester fans of walking in aft first 5 mins done.
    I think we should show some solidarity brothers and sisters as this has just gone too far.
    Viva la revolucion! Viva Fidel!

  • Pete

    Nice idea – but I can’t see the TV Companies actually showing a boycott!

    Certainly tough on the away fans too.

  • Barry L

    Clock End Rider – a good idea to show solidarity with Leicester fans. We have to start somewhere.
    Add to this all fans should blitz Twitter and Facebook with negative comments

    This is a serious abuse of power that affects ordinary working people – and Sky is not alone.
    Look at the BBC how they manipulate FA Cup matches – Gunners away to Manure on a Monday night with 8pm kick-off,
    or Exeter v Liverfool on a Friday night at 7-45 pm

    Unfortunately the ordinary fan can’t rely on a chauffered limo to get them to and from matches.


  • Gord

    The U21 game against Swansea is midway through the first half. So far, no score.


  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Money Power is the issue in this matter and am sure we all known that. Arsenal want more money generated into their kitty and Sky Sports Company are ready to guarantee them that extra earnings.

    So, Arsenal really don’t mind collecting that extra money on offer by Sky Sports TV that will televise their matches. Not for only their game against Leicester, but in all their matches. Even if moving their matches for TV showing will inconvenient them in terms of dates & time, Arsenal will still bear the inconveniences and collect the money that is too good to turndown.

    The Arsenal fans are inconvenienced by these uncemonious moving of games dates and time. So too are their opponent fans. But how can a balance be struck if top matches have to be moved at short notices for TV telecast?

    I think a deal to compensate the inconvenienced fans has to be considered by the Football League in conjunction with the Sky Sports TV broadcasters to refund the affected fans of their monies they’ve lost or are forfeited to booking to hotel accommodations that are not refundable. And also for tickets that are bought but can’t be used when the a game is moved. But in this regard, the home & away clubs should still allow their fans to use the tickets they’ve bought for the match to attend it.

    I think I read in the media of how Leads Utd FC are being compensated by Sky Sports whenever they move their games from the original schedule for TV telecast. I hope Sky Sports are extending the same generosity to Arsenal too. And not to mind if the Ems is always nearly full to capacity in all Arsenal home matches. It’s Arsenal rights to get that money too for moving their games from the original Football League time and date schedules.

  • Gord

    The U21 game ended 0-0

  • Pat

    Sorry to hear about problems for Belgian Arsenal supporters. It’s all that extra work as well, to have to rearrange everything. But that’s the last thing the TV companies are bothered about.

    I had to miss a match once because it was changed from Saturday to Tuesday night. My son was the lucky beneficiary but I was not happy!

  • Menace

    Protest should be simpler. There is a security issue so get in early. Get to your seat. Do not make a sound or applaud anything. When the match starts stand up and turn your back to the game for 5 mins. The silence & the backs will have to braodcast. Most fans will join in. Silent dissent is probably the best response. If the players want to join in they can take the abll to the center of the field and wait for 5 mins applauding the fans before playing.

  • M18CTID

    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.