When was the last time that an entire top-flight English football season routinely kicked off, week-in, week-out, at 3PM? Too long ago to remember. However, I do remember when the FA Cup first got bumped out of its traditional 3 o’clock slot. 2012. Chelsea versus Liverpool. The excuse that was given for the delayed kick-off at 5.15PM was a clash with other Premiership fixtures. Feeble. The FA Cup was sacrosanct.
Of course, it is TV and TV rights, which are to blame for the time-shift and, specifically, the ‘blackout’, which was imposed in the 1960s forbidding the broadcast of live football matches in the UK between the hours of 2.45PM and 5.15PM on a Saturday, for the fear that they would reduce ground attendance.
All well and good perhaps, but I still can’t help finding myself taking exception to the fact that the new Premier League season kicks off at the Emirates Stadium at the––frankly––inauspicious time of 7.45PM on a Friday evening.
However, it is a small quibble: at the start of the season, before the first ball has been kicked, and while your own team still stands shoulder to shoulder and on equal points with all its rivals, there is only reason for optimism.
Three o’clock kick-off:
The time which football forgot.
I rue your passing.
© Donnie Blake tries to not get so annoyed over small things he cannot control.