Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Biting Back: IFA must consider summer football

Telegraph Sport: where the debate gets started

With Stuart McKinley

Published 30/01/2013

When it comes to football, I’m happy to be considered a traditionalist.

For example, in my book the FA Cup final should be played at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and it should also be the last match of the season.

Change is all around us, though, and if it’s for the better then it has to be embraced.

At this time of year the subject of summer football is never too far away and while the game locally has many traditions that would be hard to leave behind it’s an idea worth considering.

Since the Saturday before Christmas we’ve only had two rounds of Danske Bank Premiership games that have been complete and already tonight’s fixtures and the weekend games have huge question marks hanging over them.

Even the matches that have survived are being played on pitches that do nothing to help the players produce attractive football. The freezing temperatures and rain don’t help bring out the fans either — not the casual ones that clubs here are desperate to attract to games on a regular basis.

Play matches on a Friday evening in May, June, July or August and the appeal alters completely.

No Boxing Day derby matches, and the Irish Cup final being played in November, would be hard to get used to, but something has to give if we want to drag football in Northern Ireland forward.

If it doesn’t work out, you know what, like the clocks, we can always change back.

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