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Chelsea Midweek Away Games!

The Chelsea Supporters Group have been having dialogue with other Chelsea supporters and, members of the Football Supporters Federation (FSF), with regards to trying to address the issue of games being changed to midweek by the FA and TV companies, with no regard to travelling fans and, how it affects those who travel to these games.

Here is a short synopsis of the recent ‘telecom meeting’:

Here are the notes of a telecom meeting that Chelsea Away Season Ticket Holder Tim Rolls, had with Jon Keen of the FSF earlier today (20/01) to discuss the issue of midweek away games in the Premier League.  Jon was supportive of our frustrations and gave some useful steers, as well as specific advice. 

He also said that a few other Chelsea supporters had contacted the FSF about this issue in recent days.  He said that four PL midweek away games in under nine weeks (five if you include Fulham) was unprecedented in his experience.
 

 Short Term / Chelsea Specific Actions

i) Jon was surprised that the Away ST scheme doesn’t give holders an ‘opt out’ for 1-2 games a season.  He was pretty sure that some other clubs who have a similar scheme do this and suggested the appropriate people might like to raise this at the next  Chelsea Forum.
 
ii) Jon agreed that pressure should continue to be applied to Chelsea to get subsidised coach/train travel to midweek away games, especially those rearranged from original dates.  I explained the feeling that trains were not sufficiently publicised by the club and then promptly cancelled (e.g. Wigan, Bolton).
 
iii) If, as Paul & I suggest, we have some sort of protest at the Blackpool game (and I hope we do) Jon advised against having one large banner, which Blackpool would not allow to be displayed especially if it criticised Sky and/or the PL.  He talked about a series of A3/A4 sheets, each with a letter on, to be raised whenever the cameras would be on a particular area.  Smaller, home-made banners, strategically placed (e.g. corner flag) I guess we might get away with.  If anyone copied on this note is planning to go (which I am) can they let me know.  I think it worth stressing that any protest would not be aimed at Chelsea (or Blackpool!) but at the PL and Sky.
 
He is going to put me in touch with Blackpool fans who may be able to take photos from the other side of the ground.  He supported us leaf-letting before the game etc.
 
Long Term / Wider Issues

i) The FSF meet the PL twice a year.  The issue of midweek away games will be raised as part of a wider match scheduling discussion.  The FSF have previously asked the PL whether away fans could get reimbursement from them if a game was rearranged at TV’s request with less than six weeks notice, but they refused.
 
ii) Tomorrow (Friday) Jon is going to put an edited version of the note Paul and I sent him onto the FSF website, and send it to a few potentially sympathetic journalists he knows.  He asked for a contact name and I gave mine (hope that is OK).
 
Immediate Steps

I said to Jon that I would write up brief notes of the call, circulate to fellow Chelsea fans who had expressed an interest and copy him in (which I will do).  I will also keep him informed as we progress.

Discussion

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  1. A couple of thoughts:

    1 Friday Night football
    A great time, if you ask me (my favourite actually these days).
    Friday night party feel. To the game from work.
    A few beers, and a laugh knowing that the weekend is ahead.
    Friday to Tuesday/Wednesday is no different to Saturday to Wed/Thur.
    Knock off work a bit early if you’ve got to travel and possibly spend the night/weekend (A bunch of mates are planning such an exercise when our AFL club plays up in Queensland this winter – Friday night football followed by a boys’ winter weekend – golf, sail, beach, surf, etc. “Winter” up there is “Summer” in England: 22C & sunny)
    Far, far better option than Monday (Who thought that up? Someone wanting to fill a TV schedule cheaply).
    Kids can stay up too – no school even for the TV audience.

    2 FA Cup – to midweek
    A bit more radical but logical. Why are we playing midweek next week?
    To squeeze the FA Cup 5th round in.
    Swap the League and Cup fixtures: Home/Away season ticket committments remain weekend – optional Cup tickets shift to midweek.
    Midweek then becomes the default option for cup ties (bar, the Final – and semis, possibly).
    Forget tradition – that went out of the window with the “working man’s ballet” a long time ago.

    Yours sympathetically
    Steve Symmons

    I’ll be back from a quick run along the beach tomorrow morning – showered and shaved by the 7:00am kick off – (that’ll teach you to be sunning yourself on the other side of the world! – Ed)

    Posted by Peter T | January 24, 2011, 11:38 am
  2. Good read and something i feel strongly about. Im not an Away Season Ticket holder, only home. But i do try to get to most away games and unfortunately when working.. it really isn’t possible due to sky sports. I am going to have a couple of days off work for Blackpool and i will be there! Hope to see some good banners regarding this issue.

    Posted by JD | January 25, 2011, 10:57 am
  3. Only way to protest at these fixtures being changed to mid-week is to cancel your sky sports subscriptions. I have done just that today and told them this is why I am cancelling. If I cannot watch my own team play live then I dont want to watch a poor tv substitute.

    Posted by Sue Fool | February 7, 2011, 9:58 pm
    • Very brave Sue, not sure I could do without it myself even though I’m at nearly every game.
      Just something I have got used to I guess but, if more were to follow your example then that’s the time Sky would take notice…..that and half empty stadiums on the telly!

      Posted by Peter T | February 7, 2011, 10:24 pm

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