'Unworkable' Newcastle United fixtures brought up in Parliament after major backlash
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Travelling United supporters have faced impractical fixture times across the season, after matches have been selected for television broadcast. Anger has been brewing for some time after inconsiderate kick-off times have left fans stranded without public transport to get back to the North East.
Prior to Newcastle's 4-4 draw against Luton Town at St James' Park on Saturday, Wor Flags' pre-match flag display highlighted the struggles United fans have and continue to have following their club away from home.
On a weekend labelled 'Green Football Weekend', a banner unveiled in the Gallowgate End read "TV before fans". The games that have been impacted; Liverpool on New Year's Day (kick-off 8pm), Fulham on January 27 (kick-off 7pm), Aston Villa on January 30 (kick-off 8:15pm) and Arsenal on February 24 (kick-off 8pm) were also on display. Since the public protest, another United game can be added to the list, with Chelsea away having been moved to Monday 11 March at 8pm.
And now MP for Gateshead, Ian Mearns, has brought up the issue in Parliament, highlighting the issue on a national scale.
Thank you @IanMearnsMP!— Wor Flags 🏴🏳 (@worflags) February 9, 2024
It’s important pressure is kept up on this by match-going supporters of all clubs.
We are not against being on TV, we are against regular selection at unsociable kick-off times with zero transport home for travelling fans. It doesn’t have to be this… pic.twitter.com/yUezUael2Y
"Television's impact on travelling football fans is worsening," said Mr Mearns. "With Newcastle United fans- of which I'm one- alone having been imposed on them inconvenient and almost unworkable away game fixtures on no fewer than eight times this season. With away kick-off times as 8pm on New Year's Day, 5.30pm in Brighton and Bournemouth. This is when travelling from the North East of England. London kick off's of 8pm on a Saturday night on two occasions and Saturday night at 7pm on one occasion.
"These are unworkable for people to get back from these fixtures on public transport and it's happening on a much more regular basis. The football regulator is much needed. I'm sure this is something the football regulator would like to focus upon."
"He raises an incredibly important point and I have to say I find it amazing that this has been allowed to endure for some time," replied Ms Mordaunt. "I think it's probably very unfair on not just the players but clearly the travelling public too. I will make sure that the Secretary of State has heard his concerns."
Wor Flags shared the exchange to social media, thanking Mr Mearns for his support:
"Thank you @IanMearnsMP! It’s important pressure is kept up on this by match-going supporters of all clubs. "We are not against being on TV, we are against regular selection at unsociable kick-off times with zero transport home for travelling fans. It doesn’t have to be this way."