Well, the sleep has been prised from my eyes, I can still taste the toothpaste, but I am off to watch a game of premiership football. Oh joy.
When I first read that the City-Everton game was an 11:15 Sunday kick-off I thought it was a mistake. A Sunday kick-off? Fine. I knew that Everton would be playing in the UEFA Cup on Thursday so was expecting the game to be moved, but surely they couldn’t mean 11:15? But when the City website, Yahoo!, Sky and the BBC all agreed on the kick-off time I had to accept it. I briefly wondered if they could all be quoting the same, inaccurate source for the information, or even that perhaps there was some computer cock-up involving the clocks going forward and that they really meant 12:15. But no.
So why the ungodly hour? Steve at Occupied Country thinks it is so they can screen it at a reasonable time in China, and he could be right; but seeing as there must be about fifty time zones in China I doubt there is one uniform time that could be considered “reasonable”, so I don’t see why a kick-off an hour or so later would make much of a difference. According to the club website, this change was made at the request of Sky; I think it is more likely that as the game was originally slated as being a PremPlus match at 12:30 on Saturday, when they came to move the match to the Sunday the only way they could avoid a clash with another live game was by shoving us on before noon. That is a crap reason but it is the best one I can think of; after all, ITV were happy to show two Champions League games simultaneously on Tuesday, and I can’t imagine many neutrals being tempted to pay £7 or whatever it is to watch City-Everton under any circumstances, regardless of whether or not there are other live games being shown on the regular Sky Sports channels at the same time (while I would have thought the number of City and Everton fans lost to the televised Arsenal-Birmingham match at 13:30 would be fairly negligible if the two games clashed). But when it comes to re-arranging these matches I suppose there will always be a pecking order of considerations, and usually if they think they can get away with it then the fan or paying customer will find themselves at the back of the queue.
I suppose it could have been worse. As we are playing Everton there may still be a few hardy souls plucky enough to brave the short trip along the M62 in order to sit in the away end at the City of Manchester Stadium, having gone to bed early, or not at all. Imagine if we had been playing a team whose fans would have to travel from the other end of the country (Portsmouth, Sunderland, United); would that have troubled the minds of the change-makers? I doubt it.
So, wish me luck (unless, for obvious reasons, you are looking for an away win from this fixture) I’m off. At least when I get back from the game I will have the lion’s share of Sunday left, free and untouched.
Update 14.45: City 2-0 Everton. A lacklustre first half but an improvement after the break particularly when Lee Croft came on (why doesn’t he get a start?). At his 150th attempt Danny Mills finally saw one of his long range wellys fly into the top corner (the people in the executive boxes were cowering in anticipation when he shaped up to shoot) and then Darius Vassell had no right to reach Joey Barton’s through ball but his pace gave him a great chance to push the ball past Nigel Martyn and he took it well. Can’t we play at this time every week?
In the other games that kicked off at the same time, The Gun Inn continued their fine run of form with a convincing 8-2 victory over Dynamo Denton. Meanwhile the bitter local derby between AFC Poynton and Pott Shrigley Amateurs had to be postponed when Tony couldn’t find the keys to his van.