Turn the lights aff…

Date: 15th September 2022

This week’s first blog brought to you by our Donald.

Turn the lights aff…

3pm kick offs are now “more honoured in the breach than the observance.”

Shakespeare may not have been talking about the influence of television on football when he wrote that, but the point is easily made that we now go and watch our football when others decide it – as in the consumers of the raw, in the flesh product have less influence than they once had.

I believe that 3pm kick offs meant that factories which worked in the mornings of each, and every Saturday could be cleared of workers who could go, get a wash and then go and watch their teams. It became a tradition and for many; one worth holding onto.

3pm on a Saturday was like a church service start time. We knew where we would be. Home game? Walking to the Kirk of our Community. Away game? Plenty of time to make the trip. There will be many and varied stop offs for Pilgrims along the way. Lunch stops and pee stops, bus trips that veer off to a village for a pint or visits to relatives thereafter.

It is a mecca for fans and a day out away from being the 9 to 5 workers that make us slaves to making the money to indulge in such flights of enjoyment and pain.

There are people who like the weekly rhythm of it all.

So, any disruption to it, may cause some people to moan and grumble.

The advent of wall to wall football from the Friday night experiments to MNF and midweek European fixtures “under the lights” have their own cloudy mythology and mysticism to back up the romanticism of cup fixtures.

But we live in different times.

The idea of hiding behind a sofa when the rent man comes or screwing the meter to keep the lights on or tapping into next door’s leccy to keep the heating from going off seem to belong to a bygone age that was never really with us but suggest a time when things were more than tough – they were hellish.

And they were hellish.

But now it is not just the domestic scene which is facing the impossible. The idea that our domestic gas and electric bills are going to soar have perhaps been mitigated by a raft of packages from the Government, but we are still worried.

Football clubs are equally worried, and the rhythm of life may be disrupted further.

Credit where credit is due.

The SPFL and SFA will look at early kick offs on a Saturday so that clubs do not have to put their floodlights on. It’s a simple and it’s an easy measure and I have no idea how effective it shall be but one thing I do know.

It’s welcome.

I hope that, given the effect that COVID had on each and every business that there are attempts to help mitigate the viewing experience by also encouraging clubs to stream their league games online, as well as their cup games, to try and maximise some of their revenues by allowing people a chance to contribute financially when the bills begin to really bite, should accompany it. The matchday experience is not the same, sitting at home and not amongst a crowd but the cost of that away trip, on top of soaring inflation and other expenses at home means that the cash for such indulgences shall start to disappear pretty quickly.

We have already lost many opportunities to have conversations about how we make things more accessible for people. I wonder if we have the ability to observe and honour the supporters who want to contribute in an affordable way which may break with tradition but continue to provide us with our wee clubs and big ones too, for the future?


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