As football fans we're used to being messed around by the television companies. Away trips starting at ungodly hours, late arriving back home, days booked off work, even times when games are re-scheduled and there are no trains available to get back home after the final whistle. Basically, the matchgoing fans - the fabric of the game - are not considered whatsoever, and it's not good enough.
The change to our fixture with Leicester will now leave many fans out of pocket. There are people who've already booked train tickets, booked hotel accommodation, even booked flights from abroad to come and see this game. All fucked up by a television company that will provide no explanation, no apology and certainly no refunds to all those fans affected and those who've had their arrangements ruined.
As such we've been advised that the Leicester supporters' group Union FS is planning a protest to highlight the issues caused by this late fixture change. Below is their statement and you'll see they're planning something similar to what Bayern Munich did earlier this season at Emirates Stadium. Of course Bayern's protest was over our ticket prices and this is different, but ultimately it's the matchgoing fan getting crapped on from a great height, yet again.
We fully support this action by Union FS, and would welcome similar from Arsenal supporters at the game, to show that as football fans we're in this together. Maybe a case of 'watch this space' for that part.
Union FS statement
Once again, Sky Sports have gone above and beyond in their efforts to put out matchgoing fans. No doubt they will point to the millions of fortunate souls now able to sit at home and watch this unlikely top of the table clash.
Of course, the Arsenal game was not the only Leicester City fixture announced for the upcoming games. March's fixtures release includes changes to the game at Watford and at home to Newcastle too. Annoying, particularly for the Geordies who now have to travel to the East Midlands on a Monday night, but at least there are 53 days before that trip and tickets are not yet on sale for 'Pies fans.
A clue above: the March TV fixtures release. Not the first-fortnight-of-February release. Following the initial February release in December, 3,000 Leicester fans had thought it safe to make non-refundable travel and accommodation plans, schedule time off work, stay up to midnight to fight for tickets that were sold out in minutes, book holidays starting on the Sunday, plan Leicester Sunday League fixtures etc (the list of quite frankly ridiculously unnecessary inconveniences goes on and on and on) before Sky decided to shoe-horn a third 'Super Sunday' fixture of the day in just TWENTY-THREE days before the game.
Such is life that there are winners and losers from this move, but all of those losing out have been unfairly done over by Sky Sports and, by proxy, the lack of protection afforded to fans by the Premier League and its constituent clubs.
It is absolutely imperative that football fans show solidarity in these cases, and as such, Union FS are calling for a show of strength against the aforementioned parties.
We are proposing the following action to be taken by all Leicester City fans on the day:
- 5 minute boycott at the start of the game where City fans remain in the concourse, watching the game on the TV monitors installed. Why? To make a point that without fans, there is no saleable product. Just 22 blokes kicking a ball around on some nicely cut grass. We would encourage Arsenal fans to join us with this, as they graciously did with Bayern Munich fans recently. We appreciate that fans want to watch the game they have paid for, and rightly so, but this is an extraordinary issue and we would ask you to join us and make a one-off stand for all football fans.
- Banners of protest. We encourage all City fans to make their own feelings known in banner form ahead of the fixture, and smuggle these into the stadium. Clearly visuals are a good way of getting your point across but we recognise that these are not easy to get into stadiums. All efforts are appreciated, however.
Some may argue that a boycott will achieve nothing. You might be right, maybe it won't. But it will certainly notch another visual display of dissent in a country which is starting to turn on the Premier League's ever growing greed.
Help us make a difference.