When I saw the kick-off time for our League Cup game against Motherwell earlier today I was sure that I had to be imagining it. (I was half asleep when I was shown the text message so that was not entirely impossible.) But I wasn’t, of course.
Because the broadcasters are just that crassly thoughtless in their attitude towards fans.
They are just that ridiculous.
At a time when fans are rightly concerned about the way they are treated, this is a further slap in the face.
And it is based on greed.
Premier Sports has decided that it wants two games in one night, and because Scottish football’s leaders bow the knee and give television basically everything it wants we are contractually obliged to give that to them, even if it disenfranchises fans completely.
Both Celtic and Motherwell have raised a complaint over this.
It is good to hear, but it’s also pissing in the wind and the clubs both know it, and are utterly blameless in this situation. This is, again, about the absence of governance and protections for supporters.
This is about allowing fans to be messed about left, right and centre.
Celtic’s terse statement on this – released only a moment ago – makes it clear that the clubs have both sought alternatives and fought for the fans, only to be rebuffed. The disappointment, even anger, is clear both in Celtic’s communique and Motherwell’s but the company is not interested in resolving this with a more reasonable kick-off time.
And so the match goes ahead on Wednesday 19 October, at 6:15pm. That virtually guarantees that it won’t be a full-house even if Motherwell gives Celtic fans every chance to purchase tickets. It means that a lot of fans who work late shifts won’t even get to watch the start of it on TV.
Honestly, no other industry treats the customers with quite this much contempt. But of course, this isn’t entirely the fault of football except in that it constantly gives in to the television companies.
If there really is to be a fresh round of negotiations over our relationship with Sky then it is surely time that fans were given more consideration in this stuff.