Sunday, October 02, 2011

Friday night football: Maybe ask the fans

How was the Friday night experiment for you? Partick Thistle fan Tom Hogg has his doubts:

According to the papers, the Scottish Football League will examine the attendance at the Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton match in its trial slot of Friday evening, against last season’s equivalent Saturday fixture as a measure of whether to extend Friday night football to other matches.

The Telegraph claims that David Longmuir, the SFL Chief Executive has expressed the view that “providing more than 2,436 fans turn up at Firhill (the attendance for the corresponding game last season) then other clubs will be given permission to bring fixtures forward. “

This looks to be a shoogly peg on which to base any theory, given that football attendances are all over the place, for all sorts of reasons, many weather related and most based on the amount of cash rattling around in supporters’ pockets.

A higher attendance at this match looks (at the time of writing), to be a bit of a nap bet.

It’s payday, the weather’s great, it’s something new and interesting (until it becomes tedious and mundane), Morton are at the top of the league, Thistle are playing attractive football and so on. So I’d be willing to bet that Mr Longmuir will be in Monday’s papers telling us all about the success of this trial run and rubbing his hands at the prospect of more Friday games between the likes of Hamilton Accies and Livingston, both of whom have expressed interest.

Now I’m no expert, but I reckon that if you used Mr Longmuir’s example of empirical evidence to measure the speed of a neutrino, you’d not exactly be in the running for a Nobel prize in physics. Would it not be more scientific, more fair in fact, to ask the supporters what they think of the idea?

I have to admit a vested interest. As an Edinburgh based Jags fan, this game is a monumental pain, but I will always try my best to follow the team, regardless of where and when they are playing. By going to the game, I’m helping to confirm Mr Longmuir’s view that fans would like this change. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas?

The subtext is that the SFL are trying manfully to grab more of BBC ALBA’s football budget and like a pushy parent, they are prodding Thistle and Morton towards centre stage as an example of how great a live SFL match could be for ALBA’s flagging figures. It’s all about money of course, and whilst folk like me moan and gnash their teeth, the SFL will have their day, the club boards will get their TV money and another nail will be battered into the coffin of Scottish football.

On the upside, at least I’ll get a decent curry before the game.