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Winter Weather Proves That Premier League Should Put Fans First at Christmas

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Last weekend snowy weather conditions played havoc with the Premier League fixture list, next week will probably be similar. The recent inclement weather does raise one important issue though as far as the all important Christmas period is concerned; Why does the EPL make fans travel the length and breadth of the country when fixtures closer to home could easily be arranged?

The point I’m trying to make is that Premier League fixtures around the Christmas period, and on Boxing Day/ St. Stephen’s Day in specific, should be derbies. The main thought process behind this is that fans should not be subjected to travelling the length and breadth of the country when local fixtures can easily be arranged for them.

For instance, wouldn’t it make more sense if, let’s say, Manchester United played against another side based in Greater Manchester on the 26th of December instead of travelling to the likes of Sunderland?

The difference the reduced travelling would make for fans would be substantial, especially in times of poor weather.

I the current inception of the Premier League we have four teams based in Greater Manchester (Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton, Wigan), five teams based in London (Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham, Fulham), two clubs in Liverpool (Liverpool and Everton), two more in the North East (Newcastle and Sunderland), four clubs based around Birmingham (West Brom, Aston Villa, Wolves, Birmingham City), two clubs in Lancashire (Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool) and Stoke City.

If the Premier League considered its many fans local games could be arranged where fans could travel locally and still be home for tea.

In any weekend there are ten matches in the EPL. If Sky Television and the many parties involved in the live coverage of games could come together they could realistically come up with a package where every single match could conceivably be an important derby.

Even if the TV Gods hated the whole idea of pushing one half of the league’s derbies into a two or three day period, they could make sure that fans did not have to travel that far on one of the most important family holidays of the season.

A conceivable fixture list where travelling would be minimised for fans could look like this;

Liverpool vs. Everton

Manchester United vs. Bolton

Wigan vs. Manchester City

Newcastle vs. Sunderland

Blackpool vs. Blackburn

Fulham vs. West Ham

Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Stoke vs. Spurs

West Brom vs. Birmingham

Aston Villa vs. Wolves

And that is without taking potential games like Spurs-Arsenal, United-City, or Villa-Birmingham into account.

If the Premier League was really interested in having a potential nine or ten derbies played in one fixture week they could really hit a PPV bonanza and show every single match live over the course of three consecutive days with matches kicking off at 12.00, 15.00, and 17.30 with the inevitable non-derby fixtures either slotting in alongside these times or moved to a 20.00 kickoff depending upon it’s relative importance.

As luck would have it this year, Fulham-West Ham and Arsenal-Chelsea have come out from the fixture computer, so a great number of London based fans do not have to travel, but in reality – it should be that way every season.

In the all encompassing animal of the English Premier League fans have a habit of being forgotten. At the end of the day they are the life blood of the sport and it would be nice if, for once, the Premier League took them into account at Christmas.

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Featured Blogger @ www.tigerbeer.com/football (Over 18s Only) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- B/R World Football Writer of the Year 2009/10. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Choose Football. Choose a team. Choose a vocation. Choose a family. Choose a stadium, choose bad catering, no leg room, whingeing glory seekers and cynical die-hards. Choose wing wizardry, midfield dynamos, and twenty a season strikers. Choose fixed interest season ticket repayments. Choose your seat. Choose your friends. Choose over-priced replica kits and matching accessories. Choose a reserve team striker on loan from a range of bigger clubs. Choose going out on the lash after the game and wondering who the hell you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing grand slam Sundays, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose going home and away til the end of it all, pishing your last on a miserable terrace, nothing more than an embarrassment to the cooler, sharper brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose football. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hailing from the land of Saints and Scholars I come from a long tradition of people who clearly have too much time on their hands and like voicing their opinion, so if you've nothing better to do on a rainy morning take a trawl through my back catalogue. There you'll find articles ranging from football to food to comics to boxing to cattle to westerns and music and then back to football again, with a little bit of history thrown in for good measure. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I also contribute to www.premierleaguereport.blogspot.com, www.TOsports.ca, www.ComeonSpurs.com, and www.sportingpreview.com, and have been lucky enough to see a couple of articles be picked up by FOX Sports, CBSSports, the LA Times Online, and BBC 606. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And seen as everyone else in the world is doing it, check out http://twitter.com/WillieGannon. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------