Belfast Telegraph

Fans lose out in Irish League fixture fiasco

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Stuart McKinley

I don't know who the brainbox is behind the Irish League's fixture schedule, or how decisions are reached over what matches take place on which dates.

What I do know is that fans aren't considered at all.

Take tonight for example. There is a full programme of Irish League fixtures being played in midweek just a fortnight into the new year.

Already fans have forked out for an extra match on Boxing Day and as recently as Saturday past they had to put their hands in their pockets again for Irish Cup ties, when season tickets aren't valid.

Do the people who plan matches not realise that by mid-January a lot of supporters are still waiting to receive their first pay cheque since Christmas?

It doesn't stop there.

One of the matches tonight sees Warrenpoint Town travel to Coleraine.

Who on earth thought it was a good idea to send Warrenpoint on their longest trip of the season on a Tuesday night in January?

It's 100 miles from Warrenpoint to Coleraine. The journey will take at least two hours and if the weather takes a turn for the worse it could more than double.

Now that'll have the away fans coming in their droves!

I know that there are only so many dates when matches can be played and Uefa ban fixtures on Champions League and European nights.

I am also aware that there can't be derby matches every week, but at a time when those who run the domestic game are trying to put together a vision for the future they seem to have taken their eye off the ball.

Belfast Telegraph


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