Seasiders angered by ‘farcical’ fixtures

Pool secretary Matt Williams
Pool secretary Matt Williams
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Seasiders secretary Matt Williams has described the fixture process as farcical.

Pool’s Championship schedule for 2013-14 was revealed yesterday and sees Paul Ince’s men travel to Doncaster on the opening day.

But it’s the long midweek trips which have left Seasiders’ officials and fans furious.

Pool’s four Tuesday night games next season include the arduous journeys to Yeovil, Reading and Millwall.

And Williams is less than impressed. He told The Gazette: “We are extremely disappointed with those fixtures. We are shocked that our fans will be expected to travel such distances to support their team in midweek.

“We’ve already spoken to the Football League to register our disappointment.

“They told us they have tried to plan the fixtures to maximise attendances for Saturday matches.

“We can understand that in the bottom two divisions but not in the Championship.

“Half of our away fixtures this season will be within a two-and-a-half-hour drive, so I’m amazed the panel chose to send us on such long midweek trips.

“Our fans travel in big numbers and it’s unrealistic to expect them to make all of these games. It’s farcical.”

Midweek fixtures are not selected at random – the League take the stature of games into consideration.

The idea is for the more glamorous games to be played on Saturday afternoons to achieve the highest possible attendances.

However, Williams added: “Basically, the Football League have chosen to manipulate the fixtures for commercial gain.

“They supposedly pride themselves on putting fans first but on this occasion that clearly isn’t the case.

“This season they have changed the priority from supporters to commercial interests.”

Pool’s supporters would clock up more than 7,000 miles watching their team in every away game next season.

But Blackpool Supporters Association chairman Glenn Bowley feels the Tuesday games are putting unfair demands on loyal fans.

Bowley said: “It’s really, really poor. It appears no consideration whatsoever has been made for the supporters who have to make such long trips in midweek.

“To have three long journeys on Tuesday nights makes no sense at all.

“The Football League have failed to understand, appreciate and listen to the supporters once again.”