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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Southampton Says Do Fans Count?

I have already discussed the uneven showing of games on TV by Sky from one aspect. Today we look at it from another.

I have spent a fair amount of time trolling various football sites as I look to see how we the fans feel about the way that Sky, ESPN and the other tv companies seem to rule the roost.

It appears that these big companies have total control over who we watch, when we watch and how often we watch.

Last month we were given this season's fixture lists and fans from all walks of life began making the necessary plans which would allow them to watch as many as possible.

We checked how many week-end games we had and who we would be playing at certain dates. Dates like holidays and birthdays always come into the equation when deciding what is necessary.

Looking at the fixtures I personally had already made a mental note of dates such as Xmas and Easter when I know I will have a full house.

Luckily at the moment my team is down in the third tier of English football. I say luckily because we won't have many games moved to accommodate the tv companies.

We may miss out on some money, but at least we get to see our games when they are originally arranged to be played.

We have gone into the disparity shown to clubsas a whole. Even those in the Premier League do not all receive the same air-time.

Today though after seeing moaning on several of these luckier sites, I wonder even more whether us fans have any input at all in what now happens.

When fans of the big four/five are moaning because already they have a number of games that have been switched. I wonder why we really bother.

Don't get me wrong I love my club as much as I love my kids. Over the years when I have been seriously ill at ease with myself it has brought me the pain and joy that only a true devotee could understand.

Last season my club was dying before my very eyes until right at the moment of death a buyer came forward to save us. Not only that but a buyer with some money behind him.

With our new buyer we now have the hope of returning to the Premiership in the next few years. Indeed we have got a five year plan to do just this.

I hope that the clubs we will be facing understand that they have to allow this small achievement. Preferably in under the four years left on the original plan.

We diversify. Having browsed several sites I have seen a few complaining about switches from a Saturday game to a Monday night game. Some other awitches are also noted with less than good humour.

So now we have a different complaint and again one caused by the tv companies. They want us all to watch games as and when they choose and between clubs that they choose.

Is this fair, I ask? No we all know that it is not fair but it seems that to air a grievance on this matter is taboo. Why?

I know a lot of people that are so deeply involved with the club of their heart that others do simply not interest them overly.

I am a die-hard Saint but do occasionally watch other matches when aired. I do though get extremely frustrated when the games on offer have the same players in week after week.

Two seasons ago when Saints lost more games than they didn't my son began to talk about following one of the big boys.

Needless to say I quickly told him the error of his ways. His bedroom is now kitted out entirely with official Saints clothing, Bedding and curtains etcetera.

Last season we managed to win a lot of games which helped rekindle his feelings for the club. Being only a 6yo he has time on his side to see us back in the big time.

So what about the teams with lots of game scheduled already. These fans may enjoy the fact that their clubs are at or near the top of the league. They still complain about games lost to them through switched times of games.

Clubs do generally, I believe, offer reduced price Season Tickets to those able to purchase before the end of July. Sky then bring out the tv schedule in the first week of July and these fans suddenly realise that they are not going to see as many games as they had at first thought.

Already their ST is not as cheap as at first thought. Whilst we all want a bigger slice of the cake, we do not want it at any cost. It is not cost effective to some when they are unable to go to a game they particularly wanted to watch.

The Leagues by grasping greedilyat the money available have given the tv companies their blessing to do as they wish for practically any game they choose to broadcast.

I still am of the opinion that more should be done to level the playing field. I also know that I am probably looked upon as a bit of a dreamer. Maybe worse, a fool.

Even if the big boys were shown in games against some of the little teams, it would be something. Not enough is done for me to protect the image of the game.

Soon we will be having goal line technology coming into force. FIFA are already declaring that rules and regulations with regard to how the games will be refereed is going to change.

With that change the big boys will end up seeing more of their players coming under scrutiny. Bad fouls will end up being shown repeatedly and the transgressors will be punished.

It is not pie in the sky predicting such things when we all know of the fevered arguments since the World Cup began. Greater use of the technology will inevitably lead to more players being suspended. At least until clubs enforce a stricter code of practice on their players.

When this is seen to be happening and the big boys notice that they are losing more players to the power of the camers, then what? Will the big boys demand less airspace?

Believe me I am really excited by the use of the new technology. In fact I wish it had been in use for a while now. That said it will only give more power to the arms of the lense.

Us fans will still have to miss games because of them being switched. Clubs will still suffer because they play on an uneven playing arena.

So as an argument against the seemingly unfair parody shown at the top, what should we do? Should we do anything? Can the League bigwigs do anything to help the situation or is the need for the large sums of money now over riding all else?

Sky get the blame for a lot of this but is the real culprit our own greed?

You tell me.




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The Journalist

Writer: SFC Forever Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday July 10 2010

Time: 5:16PM

Your Comments

I don't thiink we have any input any more into how we are treated. The clubs at the lower end of the scale bemoan the lack of finance and the fans at the best clubs moan because hey have to watch at odd times. We will never be happy.
sfc4ghg
Fans are not as important now as they used to be. The money men are more interested in the big bucks earned at the top of the table.
VSgirlT
SFC you did indeed research your article well and left a message on the Sunderland board. I have just read your article and it is a really good one with plenty of talking points. I lived in Hampshire for a number of years and travelling back to Sunderland where I now live was great when the games were at 1500 on a Saturday but when they were moved to Sunday afternoon and Monday evening it was a pain. Now as a fan that travels away I am in a similar situation... we cannot win. Good Luck for next season.
Dickie814
Even if we do make it the premiership,I cannot see us being on Sky very much anyway. We were and will always be a second class club .We are down with the likes of Wolves,Burnley,Hull and West Brom,to name just a few who are treated as second class even when we are in the premiership. So I do not think many games will be moved to accomadate us. I can see in the not too distant future when Sky get round to arranging the Premier fixtures for the season,so that the top four so called clubs,Man Utd,Chelsea,Liverpool & Arsenal play each other at the end of the season.
legod7
legod7 I can see that as well, and that is really frightening. I am hoping that we will be playing a Kevin Keegan type of game where we simply try to outscore the opposition in entertaining the fans when we get back. Trusting the management to keep us moving forward as I say so.
sfc4ghg
I enjoyed reading this and am also worried by what lies ahead in the near future. With ever more technology the circle might be broken as the teams with most to lose see that they are now seeing more players being booked or sent off. Lots to talk about there I agree.
VSrednwhite
My dad says the field will never truly be level. There will always be somebody getting screwed.
VS sparkle
I would say that as we get closer to the top we matter much less. Once the big money starts to appear we will be brushed aside as I keep telling the other half. He sort of sees it but won;t accept it.
stellarnw
 

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