Saturday, February 26, 2011

SPL Fixtures: A Mirthless Farce

Hibs play Inverness at Easter Road today.

I hope the fans enjoy it. They'll need the memories to sustain them, the next time they see their heroes in Leith will be when Hearts come calling at the start of April.

A whole calendar month without a home fixture.

As we hopefully usher in some milder weather, as the season stretches towards the business end of the split, Hibs are banished from their own backyard.

There are cup games to be played, international fixtures to cram in. But Hibs have three games in March.

That not one of those is at home seems to me to be madness.

This is football making it hard for the fans to attend. We constantly hear that football now has to compete for our attention. By divesting the ritual of going to games from all semblance of routine or habit the SPL is failing in its duty to attract that attention.

"It's the computer." Utter rot. "It's TV." Pure codswallop.

It is a failure from the authorities to listen to their "customers," a failure that suggests they can't be trusted not to further damage the game as they rush headlong into their ill defined revolution.

Alternate home and away games can be easily planned. And they can be planned to allow for teams sharing cities and for TV schedules.

As an excercise in logistics this is not up there with planning the Normandy landings. It's a simple step that could do the game a lot of good and make it easier for fans to support their team. Which seems to be exactly the kind of step the SPL do not like to take.

As Hibs fans who don't travel to away games are dragged along Princes Street over the next few weeks they might ponder the way the SPL run the game. They might think about quality of football they pay the privilege to see when the whim of a fixture spewing computer gifts them that chance.

And perhaps they'll come to the sorry conclusion that the SPL is pulling off the sorry feat of being an army of donkeys led by donkeys.

> Other clubs may be in the same boat but it was the Hibs situation that caught my eye. There are other considerations.

Pubs, snack shops and sundry other businesses that contribute to the match going experience are put under tremendous strain by a fixture list designed as an after thought at a chimpanzee tea party.

No point complaining though. It will fall on deaf ears. Football leadership in this country is an arrogant cabal of the unqualified and the uncaring.

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