Newcastle United fans group issue strongly-worded statement
A Newcastle United fans group has reacted furiously after a TV broadcaster moved two games – leaving supporters struggling for transport.
The club’s game away to Brighton and Hove Albion has been put back to a 5.30pm kick-off on November 6 at the request of BT Sport.
The later kick-off time means fans will be unable to travel back home from the Amex Stadium that night.
Newcastle’s fixture away to Arsenal has been moved to a 12.30pm kick-off, also so it can be screened live by BT Sport. Train services that weekend are affected by engineering works on the East Coast Main Line.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) issued a statement in response to the latest changes.
It read: “Just as English football took a huge leap with the introduction of legalised standing at matches in the top two tiers of English football, our hardcore travelling lads and lasses were brought quickly back down to earth with the latest announcement from BT Sport that two of our fixtures for November had been moved for TV broadcast.
“For years, Newcastle fans have suffered at the hands of the TV broadcast selections, with ridiculous kick-off times making travelling either extremely difficult or extremely expensive, more often than not a combination of both.
"Our fixture at Brighton has been moved for BT Sport broadcast, a 5:30pm kick-off.
"There are zero trains back to Newcastle after this fixture, meaning fans face a mammoth journey by bus or by car or face extra expense by staying in a hotel overnight.
“Later in November, Newcastle travel to Arsenal for a 12:30pm kick-off at the Emirates Stadium. A date already difficult enough with engineering works, this change makes a limited service even more challenging for our travelling fans.
“The broadcasters had committed to announcing the fixture changes on the 16th September, and have already missed one of their first deadlines by six days.
"In that time, train prices have soared, and Newcastle fans are facing hefty bills of well over £100 for travel for each fixture.
“After everything to do with the European Super League fiasco, and with fans being out of stadiums for so long, we hoped everyone had finally seen what we already knew, that fans are the life and soul of this game. We are indispensable.
“The latest TV changes tell the hardcore travelling fans of Newcastle United that nothing has changed.
"The TV broadcasters will continue to take you for granted for their own means and face zero accountability for it.
"Both fixture changes have been imposed with zero consideration for Newcastle United fans.
“Newcastle United Supporters Trust will continue to lobby broadcasters and the Premier League through the avenues open to us, as we have done for years, however, as we all know, no one with the power to prevent these decisions is listening.
“This is a further reminder of the importance of the on-ongoing fan-led review into football, and that fundamental reform of football governance must be enacted through legislative change to reset the game to operate in the best interests of fans.”