Well, this is unsurprising.
The match against Aston Villa at Elland Road, originally scheduled for Saturday 2 December, has been selected to be shown live on Sky Sports on Friday 1 December at 19.45.
This makes yet another Leeds United fixture that has been moved because of Sky Sports. While it’s nice that this will give a chance for more fans to see the match who can’t attend, and nice for overseas fans who don’t wish to drop 5 quid on LUTV pay-per-view, it’s still a bit silly that yet another match has been moved by Sky.
While the switching of times is annoying, yet doable, moving dates is annoying. Moving a match from a Saturday to a Sunday is a bit of a bother, and even switch midweek matches from a Tuesday to a Wednesday can be annoying. But to switch a Saturday afternoon match to a Friday night match? That’s actually pretty annoying.
Weekday matches often struggle to attract away fans, as many people will have to take the day off work and travel long distances to just get to the other team’s ground, and it can often turn into a very late night getting back home, especially on journeys to Cardiff or London. And while a number of fans won’t have to worry about work in the morning after a Friday night match, it’s still a challenge to get to and from the other team’s ground on a weeknight. And while Leeds are home for this match, this will make it even more difficult for Aston Villa fans to make it to Leeds.
Leeds fans have shown no problem so far this season attending mid-week matches, but for fans that aren’t local, switching a Saturday match to a Friday evening match may prevent them from attending at all. Same with fans that work later or can’t make it to Elland Road by 19.45. And yes, this does mean that more fans can watch the match on Sky, but it’s moves like this that make it seem like modern football is really out of touch with the actual local fans of the club.
The announcement is far enough in advance so that many people affected will be able to change plans, but it’s still not right that they should have to adjust their plans just so that yet another match is switched. These matches should be set up ahead of time, when the schedule is announced, not late into the season.