Nottingham Forest and Derby County have moved the goal posts, by rescheduling their tinderbox fixture to accommodate Sky Sports!
The game will now take place on the 11th of March, which just happens to be Mothering Sunday. It’s a PR disaster on every conceivable level, and one that has possibly ruined the trip of a lifetime for a special group of Forest fans.
The Menorca supporters group are due to attend their first ever Forest v Derby showdown, which incidentally will be only their second ever visit to the City Ground. Their debut came against QPR, back in November 2016 and they’ve been desperate to return ever since. I went over to meet the Spaniards last summer and encouraged them to target the biggest game of the season as their next adventure.
So, having booked their flights and accommodation for the Reds v Rams extravaganza, they now find that the fat cats at Sky Sports have influenced the switch to the following day. And, the period of notice, a staggering 44 days is all that the dictatorship has offered.
If the “drop of a hat” notice wasn’t enough, March 11th just so happens to be Mothering Sunday! So, regardless of arrangements and logistics already put in place by the many travelling Trickies, there will be thousands of disgruntled Mum’s across the two counties whose dinner plans have been dashed. I dread to think how many restaurant and pub lunch reservations have gone up in smoke because of the utter disregard for supporters and their families by Sky. On the other side of the coin, the clubs and broadcaster could actually lose out as some fans choose family over footy.
As supporters, we are well aware of the financial incentives available to our clubs from the TV moguls. We’re under no illusions that the revenue received from the live screening of such games is essential to the professional clubs in this country, especially to the paupers outside the Premier League. That said; it’s the inconsiderate arrogance and disregard shown by the powers that be when they waver any reasonable notice.
Nottingham Forest v Derby County is the biggest game of the season for both clubs, so it’s blindingly obvious to the Likes of Sky TV that a screening of such games is highly likely, as soon as the fixtures are issued in pre season. Why wait until 44 days before hand to rock the boat in such a way that everyone is thrown overboard?
I implore both the clubs in question and of course the particular broadcasting company in this instance, to read this piece carefully, in order to understand how such actions affect the supporters and their families. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are hundreds of travelling NFFC supporters, many from overseas and a great deal who make the pilgrimage from the four corners of this country. People like Russell Brown, who drives from Bournemouth to EVERY Forest home game, despite the fact that he could watch live Premier League football on his doorstep. Just think about that for a minute, a 400 mile round trip to see Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, which is commendable to say the very least.
Then you have the thousands of shift workers within Nottinghamshire’s boundary and beyond, for some, they’ll have had to book annual leave or sweet talk their opposite number into a swap. It may be one of only a few home games they’re able to attend, and there’s nothing like being in the stadium when Forest and Derby go head to head.
Whether the Menorcan supporters are able to make their dream fixture remains to be seen, which is the case for a huge number of others now too.
To misquote the legendary Frank Sinatra; “I did it SKY way!”