For dedicated Everton fans, a trip to the South Coast is not an easy one, especially given the Toffees’ current form. So how must they have felt having their game rescheduled to that dreaded early Sunday kick-off before a painful five-hour trek?
Disgruntled Toffees are being forced by the money leeching behemoths of the Premier League to leave Liverpool at seven in the morning in order to catch their beloved side kick a ball around for an hour and a half. Worse still, they’re not even doing it for the greater good – they can’t claim martyrdom for this one.
Often, the compromise that wins a green light on travelling to a Sunday away trip is the excitement for the family of seeing their loved one on TV. For fans of Ronald Koeman’s Everton, however, this won’t be possible. Not unless the family are upping sticks to Bombay for the weekend, that is.
Yep, Everton vs Brighton has been switched to a Sunday 1.30pm kick-off to accommodate the Indian network and imaginatively named Star Sports – that’s where it will be televised.
Neither Sky Sports nor BT Sport will be showing the game. Neither will ESPN or the other channels that no one really watches. Star Sports have the monopoly, once you take out that dodgy Russian stream with the funny subtitles, of course.
⚽ Brighton vs. Everton has been moved to a 1.30pm Sunday kick-off so it can be shown live in India.
? But the game isn't on UK television. pic.twitter.com/P4SuZLwpBZ
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) October 12, 2017
A company seemingly dubbed after a Goals Soccer Centre fun-sized party for eight-year-olds have the power – by which we mean money – to force over 3,000 dedicated football fans to completely rearrange their schedules and be pushed into an early start for what will no doubt be a diabolical game.
This is a worrying state of affairs for football fans who, having been disrespected and disregarded by the league for years on end now, are being explicitly undermined and deprioritised in favour of fans who live over 4,500 miles away.
There’s nothing wrong with the Premier League being screened in other countries, in fact it benefits everyone concerned. But the problem arises when the set of fans who won’t be waking up before the sun has risen and who won’t be paying up to £100 for a train ticket or £30 a match ticket, and won’t be leaving their family on a Sunday and heading back to work on a Monday are given preference.
There are two sets of fans that the Premier League has been told to choose between here. The first set being the Evertonians and the second the viewers of Star Sports.
The Premier League have chosen to milk as much money from the former before selling what those people paid for to the latter.
The Premier League, by the way, having once relied upon the former set of fans to establish the latter. So much for gratitude.
Us football fans are used to being shunned in this sport but this is an act that takes the proverbial a set too far. It’s unashamedly blatant, unapologetic and, in essence, symbolises everything the Prem sadly stands for.
It’s about eking out cash from every corner of the globe, literally.
Whilst most people have looked at this as a bit of a laugh and taken the chance to Brexit the whole thing up, what the league has done is far more serious.
Football fans have been taken for mugs on ticket prices, taken for mugs on game times and taken for mugs in the flippancy they’ve been treated with since the league’s inception in 1992.
Shifting the time of a match by a day or so is taking the mick, hiking the ticket prices and disregarding any control on player costs is also taking the mick.
Charging fans the extortion that is an away ticket before changing the game for a fan base on another continent is laughing in their faces and charging them for the pleasure. It’s no longer implicit mick-taking, it’s a bare-faced, impenitent humiliation.
Everyone knows that most football fans would do anything for their club; both Evertonians and Indian fans, alike. So the Premier League exploit this and they exploit it without remorse.
There is not one single benefit to Toffees with this decision. They’ve been screwed over in every possible way.
To the Premier League, there’s a cash injection and yet more global promotion. But then again, there always is.
What they haven’t accounted for is that those two gains will eventually create one massive problem. That problem being a mass of passionate, dedicated and thoroughly pissed off football fans, sick of being taken by a ride by the faceless corporation who use them as financial pawns in their global game of chess.
Everton fans will get up at the crack of dawn, spend the money they’ve slaved away for and not see their children all day. Of course they will. They’re football fans.
But eventually we’re going to have to stop. Something has to change and it’s not going to come from the avaricious con-artists who run our beloved sport.