No one should need reminding what Christmas is all about. No one, it seems apart from out-of-touch TV executives, who only see the product and don’t see the people.
Spirit of Shankly oppose Premier League football on Christmas Eve and we strongly condemn the decision, driven by Sky Sports, to reschedule the Wolves v Chelsea fixture to this special family day.
The attempt to force football into a fixture nobody asked for stinks of arrogance and ignorance – a view further enforced by media briefings that the decision will not be reversed despite opposition from supporters across the country.
The game is nothing without us, the fans – football in the pandemic served to underline that. Once again we are told we are valued, yet once again we are being ignored.
Christmas Eve has been left alone by the decision makers inside television for 28 years – and we call for that to continue. Common sense should prevail.
We have been here before. Six years ago Sky tried to reschedule Arsenal v Liverpool to an evening kick off on Christmas Eve. The idea was eventually scrapped due to the backlash from fans, many of whom faced the prospect of being stranded in London if they chose to go to the game.
Now Sky are back once more, this time proposing a 1pm kick off at Molineux on Christmas Eve.
For fans who watch on television, or the casual viewer who likes any football on TV, it’s nothing more than just another game.
For loyal match-going supporters, who plan their lives around the game, it’s a move The Grinch would be proud of. Why does Sky Sports want to steal Christmas?
Christmas Eve is a day for family and friends. A day for wrapping presents. Preparing food. Making time for special ones. But you don’t have to go, some will say. You don’t get it, we say.
It’s not just match-goers that will be affected. Players, club and hospitality staff, public service workers, emergency workers, people who work in the media – they will all have to make themselves available and change their plans.
And why, because Sky has decided Super Sunday should rule over a traditional period of celebration?
According to English Heritage, the name Christmas (Christ’s Mass) was first recorded in England in 1038. Sky has been showing football since 1992. Which is more important?
Many supporters, again, will no doubt lose out on money already spent. Changing the day of this match means Wolves and Chelsea’s Boxing Day fixtures would move to December 27.
Boxing Day football is another English tradition. Christmas Eve football is the Scrooge-like vision of a TV company.
How many fans will have booked transport and accommodation for the 23rd and the 26th?
How many will now be out of pocket as a consequence?
How many will struggle with the logistics of travelling to a game on a day when the country winds down for the traditions of Christmas?
Sunday transport is a challenge at the best of times. But Sunday transport coupled with Christmas Eve schedules? A nightmare before Christmas.
Supporters who go to games have already been made to pay too many times due to the lack of consideration from broadcasters and the Premier League.
We join our counterparts across the country in calling for a re-think regarding the Wolves v Chelsea fixture. It’s not us this time, but next time it could be.
The Premier League is big business. We understand the global demand for televised games. But Christmas, our tradition, and the impact on families and fans should rule over just one more match on the TV.
We ask that Sky Sports and the Premier League look to the ghosts of Christmas past. Supporters don’t want Christmas Eve football. Don’t make it our Christmas future. After all, even Scrooge saw sense in the end.