The Football Association released the date of Tottenham Hotspur's scheduled FA Cup tie against Burnley, and it's not making a lot of fans very happy. The match will take place on Monday, January 5 at Turf Moor in Burnley, and will not be televised.
Tottenham released a statement about the fixture date on the club website, explaining that since Spurs play on New Year's Day (a Thursday), scheduling a cup tie on Saturday, two days later, was "not a preferred option." A Sunday match was ruled out by the Greater Manchester Area police due to "an issue with police and stewarding resources."
Predictably, the announcement incensed Spurs fans, who took to social media to voice their frustrations.
So Burnley moved to a Monday night and not on TV. It's almost as if the authorities are trying to find new ways to show contempt to fans.— Dan Thomas (@DannyT78) December 16, 2014
Spurs away at Burnley on Mon night 5Jan. Everything @theFA promised not to do when fan reps met them. Poor statement from @SpursOfficial too— Martin Cloake (@MartinCloake) December 16, 2014
So Spurs vs Burnley in the cup is a Monday night kick off and the last train to London is during half time?! Disgrace #BoycottBurnley— TonyWhite (@YidoWhite93) December 16, 2014
THST is extremely disappointed at the KO time & date of our FA Cup match at Burnley & fully recognises the problems this will cause our fans— THST Official (@THSTOfficial) December 16, 2014
Nobody likes the idea of Monday evening matches. While weekday matches are a common occurrence in domestic and international cup competitions, they present hardships to fans, especially traveling fans who want to attend the match. The point about the trains between Manchester and London, if true, is also a legitimate point. However, this seems like a situation where the club is making the best out of a very bad situation.
Spurs play Chelsea at home on New Year's Day, a massive home fixture. It's not clear what recourse the club had. Asking the club to turn around and play an important FA Cup tie two days after a huge game seems, as the club put it, "not a preferred option" unless you want them to completely rotate the side. With Manchester police ruling out a Sunday match, it doesn't seem like there were any other good choices. Burnley is in the same situation, playing a January 1 league match at Newcastle, so there are no winners here.
Fans have every right to be peeved about this fixture date, and the lack of television coverage. Clearly it's not ideal, but when the options are either to play an exhausted (or completely rotated) side in two matches in three days or play on a Monday night, it certainly seems preferable to play on a Monday and take the extra two days of recuperation. Fans should, however, direct their ire towards the Football Association, which should have known about this conflict well in advance and either communicated this fixture date either much earlier, or worked to make better accommodations for fans of both clubs. To direct their anger towards Tottenham Hotspur misses the point and isn't really constructive.
This whole situation is dumb, but until England figures out a way to give clubs and players a winter break, these situations are going to happen from time to time. Unfortunately, there isn't a thing fans can do about it except voice their discontent on Twitter. Or not attend.