More Super Saturday Showdowns please!
I’m Ciarán Duffy, Producer and Presenter of Post to Post Sport. Every Thursday we bring out our League of Ireland podcast ‘Get Your Bleak On’, which you can get on MixCloud (search PostToPostSport). I’ll be writing about issues that come up on the weekly LOI pod for BetweentheStripes.ie, looking for your views. This week… Saturday games.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a football match at 3PM on a Saturday without having to take an airplane. A quick stroll to the Carlisle Grounds, and I was ready to watch a game at a time where we have been conditioned to enjoy league football all year.
I’m not calling for all LOI games to be on a Saturday. It is necessary to keep the games predominantly on Fridays while the Premier League is going on, casual fans will always choose the more glamorous date (now I’m thinking about Declan Rice). But during June, July, and early August, it seems a bit wasteful not have a few more games on a Saturday.
I was talking to Declan O’Brien on last weeks show, and he said he loves Saturday fixtures. People with 9PM to 5PM jobs aren’t rushing home from work, away fans have plenty of time to get there and back if it’s a 3pm kickoff.
Irish football fans are conditioned to love football at 3pm on a Saturday by the Premier League machine. And a lot of football fans feel a void when the league across the water ends. Having more games at 3pm on a Saturday over the Summer could take advantage for the beautiful-game-lust many feel at primetime Saturdays.
Obviously not every game can be on at that time. Some could still be on Friday nights, some 5pm on Saturday, and some 7pm. There’s another benefit to spreading out the kickoff times. Lumping all the games in on a Friday means at most, fans will get to one game. And if there’s one on TV as well, they’ll have to record it. If the fixtures are spread out it would be possible for those in the Dublin area, Louth and Cork, in particular, to get to multiple games with multiple teams across the divisions in their counties.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could watch 3 LOI games on a Summers weekend? And they could be scheduled to make it interesting, have title challengers, European hopeful, and those fighting off relegation play after each other. Of the 10 games, it would be realistic to have 5 on a Friday and 5 on a Saturday.
Consideration should be taken for when the Women’s National League games are played, these games tend to take place on Saturday at 6/7pm or Sundays. 3pm Saturday kick-offs for the men’s games wouldn’t require that to change for the most part. Have teams rotate between Friday 19:35 – 20:00 kick offs and Saturday 12:30 – 15:00 kick offs. Let’s make it a spectacle!