Supporter groups say NO to Christmas Eve football

Football supporters know all too well the impact that changes to the fixture schedule can have. Plans are rearranged and often expense incurred when a match is moved to accommodate cup football or TV scheduling. We have very little, if any, say, despite being the most put on stakeholders in the game. 

Representatives from the Premier League Fans Group have recently started to meet with Sky Sports and BT Sport to put forward supporter views on such changes, and to look at ways we can mitigate this impact.

However the news that has broken this week that Sky plan to fill their ‘Super Sunday’ TV slots as usual, despite it falling on Christmas Eve, is hugely disappointing and frustrating for supporters. The discussion has been dominated by the likelihood of an Arsenal v Liverpool fixture on 24 December, but choices have not yet been finalised and any club is still available to be chosen for a televised game.**

This is wrong and no fixtures should be scheduled for this day. Supporters will be faced with the unenviable task of deciding between family, friends and loved ones and any pre-existing plans for this time of year and continuing their loyalty and support for their club.

Club staff would also face similar difficulties. Public transport shuts down early on Christmas Eve and travel may be at a greater expense. Made to work, their plans and priorities will challenged in pursuit of a TV programme. These staff aren’t the well paid millionaires, but the catering, hospitality, stewarding and security personnel required to fulfil a fixture. This extends further to police, local authorities and others who will have to work to facilitate such a change. 

None of these people, like supporters, shares in the Premier League riches or has Premier League lifestyles and wages. If this happens, it would be more take, with little given back.

This must not be allowed to happen, not this season and not in future seasons. We are more than willing to work with the broadcasters and the Premier League to avoid such pitfalls for the benefit of all. We don’t want this to be the ghost of Christmas future.

Now though, the decision makers must show this is indeed the season of goodwill. Sky, the Premier League and clubs have to recognise that yes there is a TV slot available, but football on Christmas Eve is unacceptable and a step too far.

Supporters should be included in any decision-making process when such drastic changes are to be made. This is not something we are taking lightly. We have already successfully campaigned for cheaper away tickets and will continue our work to ensure match-going fans are treated as fairly as possible.

Supported by:

Spirit Of Shankly, Liverpool Supporters’ Trust

Spion Kop 1906

Arsenal Supporters Trust

Foxes Trust

Chelsea Supporters Trust

Manchester United Supporters Trust

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust

Black Scarf Movement

Watford Supporters Trust

Burnley FC Supporters Groups

Swans Trust

Newcastle United Supporters Trust

Huddersfield Town Supporters Association

Stand Up For Town

Stoke City Supporters Council

Cherries Trust

West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association

Clarets Trust 

North West Sussex Seagulls 

 

Manchester City SC (1949)

 

The Blue Union (Everton)

 

Everton Supporters' Trust

** The Leicester City vs Manchester United fixture cannot be moved to Christmas Eve as Leicester Tigers play Saracens at 3pm on that day and the safety authorities will not permit both clubs having a fixture on the same day

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Whatever happened to all those heroes?

AFC Bournemouth 0 Leicester City 0 - 30th September 2017

Report by Colin Murrant

Whatever happened to all those heroes? All the Shakespearoes?...... the Strangler’s 1977 classic goes.

For most of the season so far, we have been lacking heroes, the team continues to be looking weak in midfield, unadventurous, and lacking in passion and quality in some areas. The Shakespearo in question is increasingly criticised by fans and, with Nigel Pearson back in the owner’s eyes at OH Leuven, there are few fans that doubt a change in the managerial hot seat is in the offing.

The Vitality Stadium is situated in King’s Park, a proper suburban park approximately 2 miles from the town centre, a 25-minute walk from the Railway Station. I only give that fact to underline that yesterday I walked from the station and 20 minutes had passed before I saw any home shirts or scarves. Bournemouth is not a football hot-bed for sure, the ground holds 11,464 maximum spectators, yet once the whistle blows, the Cherries set off at a tempo as impressive as any Premier League team.

City started with the usual line up with the exception of Riyad Mahrez who was on the bench. Demari Gray replaced Mahrez and had his opportunity to impress not only the City fans but also the Bournemouth management team who had allegedly bid £25m for him during the transfer window. The anticipated start of Vicente Iborra did not materialise although CS had gone public in saying he was now ready to play. The normal 4-4-2 formation was in evidence although Vardy seemed so isolated at times that one wonders if he should be given a lone-worker device.

The first 20 minutes was all the home side and they could have, and should have been out of sight.

They had two wonderful opportunities in the first 3 minutes, the first fell to Defoe as his close-range shot rattled against the crossbar from Josh King’s cross. Pugh’s resultant shot was deflected wide by Simpson with the home players baying for a penalty. My immediate thought was no penalty as it was a fierce shot from close range, the referee either thought the same or did not have a clear view. 9000 home fans shouting does not impose the same pressure on the officials as 72000 at Old Trafford.

5 minutes gone and Stanislas put a ball through the centre of the park that left City split wide open and Defoe one-on-one with Morgan, Morgan did well to hold up play just inside the penalty area and Defoe had to lay the ball back to Pugh who screwed his shot hopelessly wide.  

Bournemouth remained in the ascendancy and King met Pugh’s pull back but he likewise screwed the ball wide of the goal. Then, with half time beckoning, Pugh had another chance but again blazed over with the goal at his mercy, the ball coming to him after an interception of a cross by Morgan.

Somehow City reached half-time level but with no shots to their credit: to be fair the last 25 minutes of the half had been more even but, if Bournemouth are relegated, it appears on this performance, that it will be their lack of a cutting edge that will be their problem.

The midfield being overrun could not continue and so Craig Shakespeare brought on Vicente Iborra in place of Andy King at half time. Almost immediately Fuchs laid a short pass into Iborra, the city substitute was robbed in central midfield which allowed Bournemouth to break. The ball was eventually worked into the box and Iborra made an excellent tackle to recover the situation at the expense of a corner. This highlighted two things, one Iborra needs to adapt to the speed of the Premier League (will he adapt like Cambiasso or not be able to like Inler?), but also, that he has great positional sense and determination.  I am sure he will be a major player for Leicester if he stays fit.

At this time the game was still flowing towards the City goal and Stanislas shot from outside the area that Schmeichel got down well to hold although, to many of the city fans, the ball appeared for a second or two to be beyond him.
 
Right on the hour came Leicester’s and the matches best chance. Albrighton crossed from the right wing and, in the box, Vardy was able to back heel to Okazaki who somehow managed to fire wide from ten yards. An awful miss with City fans taking a second to register that it was not the net that the ball had bounced back from but the advertising hoardings.

The game was much more open now with city having a further chance when Gray latched onto a clearance from Fuchs. Begovic punched the ball away and it eventually fell to Ndidi who volleyed from the edge of the penalty area, his shot deflecting over the bar off Ake’s head.

 
The late introduction of Mahrez brought some life into Leicester and one mazy dribble in particular caught the eye but came to nothing.

A strange incident occurred when Fraser pushed over Gray in full view of the referee and next to the linesman. It wasn’t violent but, as the official strolled over to Fraser, a red card seemed likely. In the end a quick word was given but no card shown, probably what the incident called for but not in the strict interpretation of the rules today.

In the end it was a well-earned point but one which left City just outside, and Bournemouth in the relegation zone. Whilst some sympathy can be given Shakespeare with the early season injuries to Iheanacho, Iborra, James and the ongoing Silva saga; it is difficult to understand putting a team out with just two central midfielders that cannot cope. Add to that the inexplicable recent matches substitution of Albrighton who, although not on his top form, always puts a shift in; which is not true of his colleagues on the other wing.

Vardy is lacking in support with his tireless running and winning balls in the air, often resulting in nothing as there is no-one near him to lay off to or to win the second ball. Movement is poor and Iborra stopped and held up his arms in frustration on one occasion when lack of movement prevented him passing the ball. Also, recently City have started at a slow tempo with the onus on defending, this needs to change into a more positive attitude.

Finally, two positives and two negatives:

Two Positives

Schmeichel was magnificent yesterday and looked to be back to his best after a couple of recent goals had been scored against him that you imagined he would do better with. He is very imposing figure at his best and, in the white kit, all very reminiscent of Shilton.

Ndidi has far too much workload for a young player, he is the kingpin of the midfield and has had little support. Young players who come into a team often have a period when they need a rest to recover their form and recharge their batteries. Wilfred has not had this luxury and has been virtually ever present since his debut in January. Ndidi has all the attributes to be a top-class midfielder but he needs help before he gets worn out.

Two Negatives

Andy King is a player you know has served the club well, quite a few fans will not criticise him for this fact alone. He is however a player that cannot really add much at this level of the game; if the midfield is playing well he can play a part in breaking forward into the box and will score the odd goal. He cannot play the position he is being asked to play now in a centre midfield of two. He does not demand the ball, does not win the ball very often, and is not your centre midfield player that demands possession. He is not a leader.

Gray is an enigma, he has undoubted talent but it is seen only fleetingly. His failure to take the correct option of shooting or passing to a forward in a better position is well documented. What is more worrying for a wide player, he seems to have no concept of when to come short, run into space: he also seems to tread water on occasions when running back on his defensive duties. He certainly did not take his chance and personally I have no idea why we are offering him improved contract terms until he sorts these issues out. He missed his chance to impress and must work harder and cleverer if he is to become the player the fans want him to be.

No one expected City to win the title again but most saw it a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise the Club’s status and establish them in the top 6 to 10. That they have so far failed to do this is a mammoth disappointment; whatever happened to our heroes?

And so, we go forward to meet WBA, a team we have not beaten at home for some time. I think a must win to save Shakey and, as The Stranglers song continues:

…..They watched their Rome burn, Whatever happened to the heroes?, Whatever happened to the heroes? No more Heroes anymore, No more Heroes anymore

Please Thai owners, don’t let our Rome burn

Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels, Stanislas (Fraser 88), Cook L, Surman, Pugh (Ibe 69), King, Defoe (Afobe 82). Subs not used: Boruc, Cook S, Gosling, Mousset

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton (Mahrez 75), King (Iborra 45), Ndidi, Gray, Okazaki (Iheanacho 69), Vardy. Subs not used: Hamer, Chilwell, Amartey, Slimani

Referee: Graham Scott                 Attendance; 10,444

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Another view from the Leicester Bench – AFC Bournemouth

View from the Leicester Bench – AFC Bournemouth

A bit about you:

The Trust struggled again to get an AFCB fan, so having followed AFC Bournemouth as my ‘second team’ all of my life …. I decided that I would do a write up for the match.

Name:  Matt Davis

Current home town: Leicester (born and bred)

Birthplace: Leicester

How long have you supported your team? I’ve supported the Cherries as my second team for as long as I can remember … but my first game was in the early Redknapp era … so I’ve got to say about 33 years.

Overview of AFC Bournemouth:

Favourite thing about Dean Court:  The compact atmosphere at Dean Court (it will always be Dean Court to me!!!), especially in the kop behind the goal.

Favourite match played by AFCB & why: The 3-0 win against Bolton to secure promotion (bar a 20 goal swing in the last match of course) and then finishing the job and being crowned champions at Charlton a week later.  The rags to riches rise was beyond belief.

Favourite player of all time who played for Bournemouth: Undoubtedly ‘Super Stevie Fletcher’ – gave his all for the club with over 600 appearances in two spells at the club.

About our forthcoming match against AFCB:

Your favourite current player in the AFCB squad and why? Harry Arter – mainly for his excellent passing.

Player in the Leicester squad that AFCB should most fear and why? Vardy if fully fit after his hip injury.

Player in the LCFC squad Bournemouth should most fear and why?  Charlie Daniels when on form

Up and coming prospect in the AFCB squad? The youngster Defoe!!!!

What do you think the result will be? A tight one, (it often ends up in a draw) but 2-1 to Leicester hopefully because although I love Bournemouth, I am totally and utterly committed to Leicester City – make no mistake NO MIXED LOYALTIES.

General Questions:

Where do you think Bournemouth will finish this season? Expectations are higher now they’ve established themselves and a slow start hasn’t helped this – so top half of the table would be excellent, but anything higher than 18th would be good, but obviously for me they have to finish below Leicester City.

Which three teams do you think will go down?  Palace, Swansea and Brighton.

Who do you think will win the league? Man City 

Next Up – AFC Bournemouth

Next Up - AFC Bournemouth 30 September 2017

Manager: Eddie Howe          Founded:       1890

Ground:   Dean Court      Address:   Kings Park Bournemouth Dorset BH7 7AF

Capacity:      11,464

Squad:

1            Poland                                                    GK          Artur Boruc

2            England                                                  DF           Simon Francis

3            England                                                  DF           Steve Cook

4            England                                                  MF         Dan Gosling

5            Netherlands                                             DF         Nathan Aké

6            England                                                  MF         Andrew Surman

7            England                                                  MF         Marc Pugh

8            Republic of Ireland                                   MF         Harry Arter

9            Dem Rep of the Congo                             FW         Benik Afobe

11           England                                                  DF         Charlie Daniels

12           England                                                 GK          Aaron Ramsdale

13           England                                                 FW         Callum Wilson

14           Australia                                                DF           Brad Smith

15           England                                                 DF           Adam Smith

16           England                                                 MF         Lewis Cook

17           Norway                                                  FW         Joshua King

18           England                                                FW         Jermain Defoe

19           England                                                MF         Junior Stanislas

22           United States                                        MF         Emerson Hyndman

23           England                                                MF         Connor Mahoney

24           Scotland                                               MF         Ryan Fraser

26           England                                                DF          Tyrone Mings

27           Bosnia and Herzegovina                        GK          Asmir Begović

29           Wales                                                  DF           Rhoys Wiggins

31           France                                                 FW          Lys Mousset

32           Australia                                              GK          Adam Federici

33           England                                               MF          Jordon Ibe

We have tried our best to ensure factual accuracy at the date of going to press – apologies in advance for any errors or out of date information. 

For the very latest updates please follow the link below to the club web site: www.afcb.co.uk

Going to Bournemouth ?

Directions By Road     SAT NAV: BH7 7AF

Driving to AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth is located just outside of Bournemouth in Kings Park. When driving to the ground, follow the brown road signs with a football logo to get to the Goldsands Stadium. Please note some of the signs may refer to the ground as Dean Court.

Travelling from the North

Follow the M6, exiting onto the M42 towards London, Warwick and Solihull, exiting at junction 3a onto the M40. Leave the M40 at junction 9, taking the A31 / A34 exit. At the Wendlebury Interchange, take the 3rd exit onto the A34 towards Oxford / Newbury. 

At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto the M3. Follow the M27 and A31, exiting onto the A338 towards Bournemouth. Take the exit towards Boscombe, taking the 2nd exit at the roundabout, into King’s Park Drive. The ground is on the left.

Travelling from the South East 

Follow the A27, M27 and A31, exiting onto the A338 towards Bournemouth. Take the exit towards Boscombe, taking the 2nd exit at the roundabout, into King’s Park Drive. The ground is on the left.

Travelling from the South West 

Follow the A35 to the A338. On the A338 take the slip road to the Springbourne Roundabout signposted King’s Park. Take the 3rd exit off the roundabout and at the fire station stay in the left hand lane and turn left onto Holdenhurst Road. Stay to the left and go straight through at the traffic lights (the Queens Park Pub should be on your right). Take the third exit at the small roundabout and into Kings Park itself. 

Car Parking 

Free matchday parking is available at Harewood College, which is only a 10 minute walk across the park to Vitality Stadium –This parking facility has the advantage of being away from the congestion around Kings Park, and will be manned by a steward until kick-off. If you do use Satellite Navigation System please refer to Harewood College as Harewood Avenue.

A supporters’ car park is situated at the south of the ground behind the new south stand. Parking is £1 on a match day, but please note that charges apply after midnight.   

You may experience delays in leaving the car park after the final whistle, please be aware that there is an exit at the south end of the car park which will bring you out via Gloucester Road in Boscombe. 

Additional Parking

The Sovereign Centre on Christchurch Road, approximately a 10 minute walk from the ground. Parking fees apply and are dependent on length of stay. 
Approx 175 miles, 3 hour travelling

Pubs

Away fans are welcome in the Christopher Creeke pub a short distance from the ground

Around a 10-15 minute walk away is the Sir Percy Florence Wetherspoons outlet on Christchurch Street, in nearby Boscombe. Away fans are welcome at this pub, but no colours are allowed. Next door to Wetherspoons is the Mello Mello bar which also admits away supporters (and with colours).

By Train

The nearest train station is Pokesdown which is roughly a mile from the ground and is around a 15 minute walk away. Exit the station and turn right down the main Christchurch Road (A35) for 400m and turn right into Gloucester Road. Follow the road to the bottom and arrive at Goldsands Stadium. 

Trains take approx 4 hrs 30 mins and last train back is just before 7-00pm Cheap return £106-20

Please check the cost and times of trains etc. All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. With thanks to Bournemouth AFC and the Football Ground Guide

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