Well, the geniuses at the FA have done it again and showed absolute contempt and zero consideration for football supporters after announcing the time and date of the Community Shield. Football’s governing body have decided that treble champions Manchester City will face Arsenal on Sunday 6th August with a kick-off time of 5.30pm.
This means that, if the match finishes in normal time, City fans attending the match won’t be getting on the train back to Manchester until 8pm at the earliest. And, if you’re travelling by coach, you won’t be getting home until after midnight.
This leads to a number of questions about the FA’s decision. Why could the match not be held 24 hours earlier? Why such a late kick-off time? Why couldn’t the Community Shield be held at an alternative venue, Villa Park maybe?
It would have been much fairer to City fans who want to attend to play this match in the Midlands. Last year, City and Liverpool played the traditional curtain-raiser at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, so why couldn’t this have happened again?
How many supporters from Manchester do they think will make the journey south, then make the three-hour journey home, ten days before the more important European Super Cup against Sevilla in Athens? Do they really think that supporters, many of whom will have to decide which match they want to attend, will prioritise the Community Shield over a trip to Athens?
It is yet another example, if one was needed, by the FA to fully demonstrate that supporters, particularly those of clubs outside London, don’t matter in their eyes. City were forced to play Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley last season, three days after supporters travelled to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final.
And, last season, City and Liverpool faced each other at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final when a more neutral venue would have been more appropriate for the supporters. But, as usual, the FA have firmly placed supporters last on their list of priorities.
Expect a lot of empty seats in the City end at Wembley.