Times have been difficult for Fulham fans in recent years, especially since relegation to the championship. However, after drawing Welsh side Cardiff City away in the third round of the FA Cup spirits were high, with what is seen as a winnable tie. Fans will have undoubtedly been excited to take the trip to Wales to support their club. However, after BBC Wales chose to cover the game and move it to a 11:30am kick-off Fulham supporters are not happy. Labelling the decision as ‘insulting.’
This means that there is only one train that supporters can get or face a long five and a half-hour-round-trip. Penning an open letter on their website The Fulham Supporters Trust are extremely angry, stating that they are “very disappointed with the decision to reschedule the FA Cup Third Round tie between Cardiff and Fulham…The FA Cup third round is one of the most momentous days in the footballing calendar…moving the game for television has become something that the modern football fan has had to get used to, but picking a time of 11.30am is particularly insulting to supporters who are the lifeblood of the game.”
Lets not forget happier times at Craven Cottage.
While Fulham have offered to lay free coach travel for supporters – which would mean leaving London at 6:30am – I think it is ridiculous that the game has been moved to be televised. Whilst I understand that financial benefits gained from televised games, the FA, clubs and the BBC should prioritise fans attending matches. In a time where the number of people attending games is decreasing what the BBC Wales have done will make fans even less incentivised to attend the game.
Why take the long trip to Wales when you can watch them game from home and save a lot of time and money. Free transport – which both clubs have offered – and cheaper ticket are good incentives. But this undermines any initiatives to improve attendance for cup games.
The BBC has not taken the wider implications of their scheduling into consideration and the time picked by them for this game shows that the ordinary fan who wants to attend games has dropped down the pecking order.