So I guess you enjoyed watching Hull City putting Arsenal on the ropes for 44 minutes at Ashburton Grove last month, and threatening to repeat last season’s stunning win?
I wish I could say the same, only there was no bum on my seat – nor of thousands of others around the ground – until the second half kicked off.
Due to a crash, for over two hours before the kick-off the traffic on the M1 moved slower than Mark Hateley doped to the eyeballs on Mogadon.
Me and two travelling companions sat stewing in the jam as the radio commentator estimated, perhaps exaggerating, that a third of the stadium hadn’t arrived by kick-off; we heard of plenty of City fans who just gave up on the queue and headed home; and even radio summariser Graham Taylor didn’t make it until an hour into the game.
I’m sure you get the idea – the game was played in front of a vastly reduced crowd due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
So when exactly did games stop being delayed in such instances? I’ve been at games in the basement division that were put back 15 minutes because a few hundred fans were still coming through the turnstiles.
At Arsenal, we were probably talking 10,000 people missing the opening stages of a game they’ve paid £40 or more to watch.
And the reason we all missed out? Presumably so the match doesn’t over-run into crown green bowls or wakeboarding or whatever else features on obscure satellite sports channel’s schedules.
For me, rearranging fixtures to bizarre kick-off times on Sunday mornings or Monday nights is dispiriting enough. Not caring if thousands of paying punters miss the game, however, is an even more depressing sign that fans don’t matter.
It was all almost as woeful as Geovanni’s penalty in the second half.