The strangest of all fixture days

Friday, 21 August 2020, 7:30
2 mins read

So, this morning at 9am the football fixtures for the new season will be released but it surely won’t feel like a normal release of the football fixtures as it won’t coincide with the bookings of trains, buses, hotels and days out for the football.

Traditionally on a date in mid June, football fans can stay with their fingers pressed against a refresh button on their internet browser waiting for the clock to tick over to the designated release time to see what the next nine months hold in store for them.

By this time we are well familiar with the 23 road trips that could be available and have hand picked the trips that we would most like to make.  Now it is just time to make sure that the football league’s fixture computer has not seen Cardiff away co-incide with your favourite cousin’s wedding or your visit to Wycombe match up with that weekend where you madly decided you could afford to take a holiday ahead of an international break.

The only clashes this season are likely to be whether the game clashes with a programme on the other side that you really want to watch or planned engineering work that means power will be out in your house.  The fixture list will also contain 13 midweek fixtures this time around (there are 8 normally) thanks to the later start and some complex fixture planning due to the truncated length of the season.

At least this time around we will (or certainly do at the time of writing) have the option of watching the game in the pub so rather than maybe waiting for online tickets to go on sale it will be securing the best viewing area in the local for the Welsh derby that will have to satisfy the planning genes.

It still remains difficult to see any scenario where football will become a spectator sport as we knew it before the end of this year.  Even then it feels optimistic.  There are, of course, plans to allow spectators in but for many it will be a plan that they are uncomfortable to be a part of and it will be with reduced numbers and – if the stories are correct – some reduced rules and regulations at the same time.

Fans of the snooker last weekend will have seen the return of some crowds to the Crucible to watch the conclusion of the world snooker championship but even then the auditorium had way more empty seats than it had full ones.  And the graphic below shows just how restrictive any return to stadiums could be if and when it happens.

So when the final refresh of your browser happens at 9am this morning and you see all the fixtures available for you to view then you just know that it isn’t a fixture list like any you have seen before.  It will have the familiar names, the key dates, the mix between home and away but what it won’t have is those thoughts of great away days to come – or at least not for the time being anyway.

Happy fixtures day everyone!

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

Phil Sumbler

Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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