Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night Football

Would you be happy if you were going to a Scottish football match this evening?

There is a suggestion that the SPL might be looking at playing games on Fridays as part of their backlog clearing plans.

The talk seems to be of the April holiday Fridays, although as these are both after the split I'm not sure what the need is.

Anyway, it has led to some discussion about Friday kick offs. An experiment tried in both the league and the Scottish Cup in the 1990's when Sky first got involved with the Scottish game.

Henry McLeish also backed the idea in part two of the McLeish Report:

There has to be a greater level of innovation and for example why shouldn’t SFL clubs be able to play on a Friday evening if that represents a response to the changing patterns of social and family life and has the support of clubs, fans and the authorities.

Certainly it seems odd that Partick Thistle can't play at Firhill on a Friday evening but Glasgow's pro rugby side can.

I'm not against the idea. I think Friday games might be appealing to fans especially in the spring and summer months of the season.

Setanta actually wanted 7.45pm kick offs on Friday evenings when they had the SPL television contract.

That met with this response from the police:

Kevin Smith, assistant chief constable at Strathclyde Police and the lead officer on football for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), described the Friday games as "unacceptable".

He added: "Acpos does not support scheduling football matches on a Friday night as such events place too great a demand on police resources at a time when the demand from communities is at its highest.

"I think this is a common sense approach and allows us to focus our resources in communities throughout Scotland."

One police source went even further, however, saying that should the SPL push on and include the Friday matches in its schedule, forces would refuse to send their officers to police the games. (Sunday Herald, 23 July 2006)

Worth the footballing authorities exploring if that is the still the case. I suspect it might be.

Leaving aside the SPL, that the police apparently consider this a blanket ban is outrageous. If there is any evidence to suggest that fans would the respond to Friday night football then the SFL should be screaming to get them to change their minds.

It's not a new idea but it worth exploring. Time to get together with the police and at least finding a way of trialling Friday night games.

> I'd appreciate your thoughts on the idea of Friday football. Comment in the usual way.