|Queens Park Rangers 2 v 0 Luton Town|
Friday, 19th November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
The EFL needs a television deal, but not like this – Preview
Thursday, 18th Nov 2021 14:35 by Clive Whittingham
QPR have had one Saturday 15.00 home kick off since September 18, and only have one more until January 15 (which is also likely to move). For their opponents Luton, Friday is only the second televised game they have in the whole first half of the season.
QPR (7-5-5 WLDDWD 6th) v Luton (6-6-5 WDWLWL 11th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Friday November 19, 2021 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Grey but dry >>> Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, Loftus Road, London, W12
Tomorrow evening is the eighth time Sky have picked QPR as their featured game this season, with only the Bournemouth away match and Orient cup tie not necessitating a change of date and/or kick off time. It is still only November. Four more of our games through to the end of the year have already been picked, necessitating six changes of fixture dates and times. By New Year’s Day 12 of QPR’s 26 league fixtures will have changed time and/or date at the behest of the division’s host broadcaster. Either as featured game, or via the red button service, this is one of eight consecutive QPR games Sky are televising. Even I scarcely want this much QPR in my life.
This is Luton’s second Sky game of the season, and they don’t have another through to the end of 2021. By the turn of the year QPR will have been on the television more than Luton, Hull, Blackburn, Blackpool, Millwall, Peterborough and Preston put together. That enterprising, entertaining, threatening Blackpool team that took us to school in a febrile atmosphere last week are on once in the first 26 rounds of this season, and that was against us, on a Saturday night, moving the return trains to London out of the reach of the travelling QPR fans. Of Sky’s 125 picks through the first half of the season, 67 of them have featured at least one of West Brom, Fulham, QPR, Sheff Utd, Bournemouth, Boro or Forest. The other 17 teams have been on 58 times between them, often against one of those seven. This weekend’s TV games a prime example: QPR at home to Luton, Sheff Utd against Coventry, and (really quite disgracefully) Bournemouth being asked to get to Derby for a noon kick off on Sunday.
On the one hand you have the downtrodden, out-of-pocket, fed up QPR fans. The last Saturday home game they had was October 2 against Preston and it’s going to be two-and-a-half months and seven fixtures at Loftus Road before they get another against Swansea on December 18. Given that the one after that is against another Sky darling West Brom (12 picks so far despite being fucking abysmal to watch) on January 15, and then Reading (which they always get a big stiff hard on about because we play in the same kit) on January 29, it’s not inconceivable that between Preston on October 2 and Hull on February 19 Rangers will play at home, on Saturday, at 15.00, once. If you’re a working man, if you’re trying to get young kids into the habit and addiction of following an unfashionable club, if you have to arrange shifts and holidays in advance, if you travel in from out of town, if you don’t have a car and travel by train, this stuff is poison to your support. When that season ticket renewal comes around again, why bother? To compound the home problem, twice in two weeks we have distance away games (Derby, Sheff Utd) on a Monday. Bristol City away is now a Thursday night. Birmingham a Sunday lunchtime. Blackpool was a Saturday night. Over eight weeks we have two Mondays, two Wednesdays, two Fridays, a Sunday lunchtime, and a Saturday night.
If there aren’t big, loud, angry anti-Sky chants tomorrow night, embarrassing them into turning their poxy pitch-side mics down so all we’re left with is the dulcet tones of Don Goodman creaming his pants over how good whoever we’re playing against looks then frankly we’re not doing it right. Fuck off. Fuck off and leave us alone.
On the other, you have Luton fans wondering why their already disadvantaged club is getting a further kicking. It is little short of a footballing miracle that the Hatters are not only existing but thriving and threatening at this level of the game with the stadium and income they have. The management of Nathan Jones, and the canny and shrewd recruitment model being cultivated under Mick Harford, should be attracting attention of the many other far less intelligent and so-called bigger clubs at this level. This is a League Two infrastructure maintaining a Championship play-off contender, and that will be the case until they get into their now planning-approved and long-awaited new stadium. Jones freely admitted that had they been relegated in the lockdown season, when they looked doomed with two left to play, their budget for the subsequent League One campaign would have made some Conference teams blush. The QPR majority shareholder Ruben Gnanalingam told the Open All R’s Podcast last week that on top of Sky’s annual settlement to all clubs, those selected for a live game get £75,000 a time, which means QPR’s 12 main match picks this year already add up to more than three quarters of a million pounds. Three quarters of a million pounds that’s not going the way of 17 other teams in this league. Bournemouth, West Brom, Sheff Utd and Fulham scarcely need this added advantage, already in receipt of league-destabilising parachute payments.
Whichever team you follow, this situation isn’t working. A television deal that is supposed to cover all three of the EFL’s division, which in fact just runs the same half dozen clubs on a loop. You’re more likely to hear a truthful statement from the prime minister than catch a League One or Two game on television, and more than half the Championship is being almost completely ignored as well. With their rights package Sky are showing the four most recently relegated Premier League teams, QPR, and Forest, and that’s it – 65 of the clubs may as well not exist. Even those that are shown are basically used as filler, to fit around the real quiz of the Premier League. Our games are shown at disgustingly anti-social times – Thursday and Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday breakfast time. There’s a fucking slot this year at 20.00 on a Saturday night. Does anybody really want to watch Reading v chuffing Bournemouth at 20.00 on a Saturday night? Often we’re simply used as a cock blocker, scheduled up against one of the rare Premier League games they don’t have, to shave some miniscule amount of audience off BT Sport, or Amazon’s Christmas picks.
Let’s have this right, the Championship needs a television deal. The league isn’t even viable with one, every team loses money hand over fist in this chancer’s waiting room, hoping against hope that they might be able to sneak into the party upstairs and start seeing some serious income – which they’ll then almost certainly, inevitably, pour into the pockets of wanker footballers and their scumbag agents. Without Sky, the league is bankrupt overnight. We saw that with ITV Digital, and Sky were relative heroes for stepping in and picking up those rights at the time preventing more clubs going the way of Grimsby, Stockport and Tranmere who were all First Division mainstays at that point. But such is Sky’s attitude to the EFL, that this is now tantamount to an abusive relationship. We cannot leave, we’re addicted to the money, we’re dead without it, but they know it and treat us like shit on their shoe for as long as we stay. Having, at little more than a month’s notice, moved Sheff Wed’s early December away game at Portsmouth to a Wednesday night they have now, at two weeks’ notice, moved it back to the Tuesday. This is because Plymouth v MK Dons, which they had picked for the Tuesday, is now on the Wednesday instead, which in turn is because somebody thinks it’s acceptable for Plymouth’s FA Cup second round tie up at Rochdale to be televised on a Sunday lunch time. One of Sky’s December picks is Bournemouth away at Middlesbrough at midday. What kind of cunt thinks any of this is acceptable? It’s absolutely not, and it should not be happening.
I wrote a similar preview to this in 2016, before the plague, when QPR were trapped in another sequence of four months without playing at home on a Saturday. I talked at the time about businesses, like pubs, that rely on a regular flow of football Saturdays and what happens when you take all those Saturdays away. The situation for pubs, restaurants and other such ventures is now a hundred times more dire post Covid-19. Then, as now, I came at it from the perspective of being a Sky subscriber, predominantly because I want to watch the Championship (and the rugby league). You may think that makes me part of the problem, and true change would only be brought about by a mass resignation of subscribers for the same reason, but that would simply lead to less money, or no money at all, for the rights package, at which point our clubs face a huge shortfall and many won’t survive. You think the gap between this league and the one above is big now, try it with a deal more akin to the gruel the SPL gets. I don’t ever deny that the division needs a television deal, and television companies need to move matches around so they can show them live.
I work in television so I know this is a hard-nosed matter of subscriptions and advertising sales. They get more of both showing West Brom’s murderball dirge every Friday night than they would ever get spreading choices more equally through this league and the ones below, so that’s what they do. In my opinion the EFL needs to start valuing and marketing its product in a better way (to be honest, handling its product in a less incompetent and shambolic way would be a start) and push back on things like kick off times, match picks and TV slots when the deal next comes around for negotiation rather than just bending over and lubing up for whatever terms of whatever four-year deal Sky want. Customers paying at the gate should be a higher priority than they currently are. No, we shouldn’t and won’t be used as cannon fodder to shave ratings off Premier League games kicking off at the same time. No, we’re not letting you sit on a season’s worth of League One and Two rights you do nothing with just so you can show the play-offs in May – use them or lose them. What I hoped for in 2016 was that some pressure could be brought to bear, by clubs, supporter trusts and groups like the FSF, to bring about subtle changes in the way this is all done. In my heart of hearts I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I am genuinely surprised at the way things have gone since the pandemic. Even I, at my levels of cynicism, am amazed at just how brazenly dickish Sky have been with it this season.
During the pandemic football was played behind closed doors. Sky, to their credit, relaxed their rights so clubs could stream games to fans – which they absolutely didn’t have to do under the terms of their agreement. They’d have looked like twats if they hadn’t, but like I say looking at how they’re behaving now that doesn’t seem to be much of a concern and it’s not something we should have taken for granted as a given. The matches, without atmosphere, were mostly unwatchable rubbish. The Championship is a bracing product at the best of times and in empty stadiums you couldn't even say it was a better watch than Loose Women. At the time the broadcaster made a huge deal about “football without fans is nothing”. This vomit-inducing PR line proliferated for months, parroted by managers and players, while we all strummed our fingers on the table at home thinking “yeh, yeh, when we coming back then?” All of Sky’s promotional trailers for the new season were centred around the crowds coming back. All of them. You couldn’t move for pans, cut aways and drone shots of stereotypical flat cappers streaming down the hill into Oakwell, 50,000 Geordies piling past The Strawberry to call Mike Ashley a twat, people taking their life in their hands on that duel carriageway outside the Madejski Stadium, or Wawll fans patrolling for Marxists through the back streets of Bermondsey. If I was on their PR team, or independently advising them in this field, I would have seen this as a monumental opportunity for some good publicity.
Why not reset? Why not come back as Sky – Friend of the Football Fan? Why not base the whole season around “we’ve missed you, it wasn’t the same without you, we’re glad you’re back, we’ve heard you, we’re here with you, we’ve changed”? Come out and say: ‘no more of this Newcastle away at Bournemouth on a Monday night business’. Why not promise, and stick to, making your picks way further in advance? What's stopping you? We’re going to show more local matches, we’re going to schedule them at less anti-social times, we’re going to give you more notice of the changes, we’re going to spread the picks more evenly… while still putting out an attractive product for our subscribers and advertisers, we’re going to do everything in our power to not make your life as a match-attending football fan more difficult. In short, we’re going to stop pissing you around. It’s an obvious win isn’t it? What am I missing? Instead, the message is clear. Football without TV money is nothing, you guys are just easily dispensable backing vocals, which we can pipe in artificially now anyway.
Already, on a day when Preston are 20 miles away in Blackpool (a better game in any case), they’re making Middlesbrough travel to Cardiff for a midday kick off. While blithering on about ocean plastic, their commitment to go net zero by the year 2300, and whacking one out over the “first carbon neutral football match ever”, Sky are taking a QPR trip to Sheffield United which the majority would have done by train, and putting it so out of reach that every away fan going has little choice but to drive. They miss their own deadline for declaring their Christmas picks, then when they come out QPR’s Boxing Day game with Bournemouth has been skewed into such a ridiculous timeslot (17.30 on December 27) that two further away games (with advance train tickets long since on sale) at Bristol City and Birmingham have to move as well. Rangers’ Christmas dates and kick off times literally look like a fucking chimp has had a go on a dartboard. Not a bright chimp either, one of those they pumped experimental drugs into in the 70s.
It is within Sky’s gift to change their behaviour immediately without damaging their product one iota: make their picks further in advance; try wherever possible not to make picks that put games beyond the reach of first or last trains for the visiting fans; consider the distance being travelled by supporters when selecting games; spread the games more evenly between the teams and the leagues; consider the fixtures around the ones you’re picking so that your one move doesn’t necessitate a whole load of knock on moves, or that QPR and West Brom aren’t constantly being asked to play on Fridays or Saturday early when they’ve either played on Wednesday or had a load of players on long international trips during the week; have less anti-social time slots for their games.
Post pandemic, this feels like such an obvious PR open goal to me that even Dean Coney couldn’t miss. That they’ve not only done none of this, but in fact gone in completely the opposite direction and been even bigger twats than they were before, shows just how little the common or garden match-going football fan figures in their thinking, the contempt in which we’re held, how much it’s taken for granted that we’ll just show up anyway, and just what transparent barf all that hollow “football without fans is nothing” bullshit truly was.
Links >>> Inconsistent but in touch – Interview >>> Even Parker scored – History >>> Donohue in charge – Referee >>> Cardiff/Blackpool - Awaydays >>> Fulham/Peterborough – Awaydays >>> Ruben Gnanalingam – Podcast >>> Tony Currie – Patreon >>> View from the Pu – October >>> Luton Town official website >>> Hatters News – Blog >>> Luton Outlaws – Message Board >>> Luton Supporters Trust
Below the fold
Team News: Probably the trickiest QPR starting 11 to call so far this season. Moses Odubajo went off at half time in the draw at Blackpool with a hamstring injury and will be checked. Sam McCallum is out long term after surgery on a more serious hammy blow out, but Lee Wallace came through an hour of U23 action against Ipswich last week and will be involved for the first time since leaving the 3-2 win at Middlesbrough injured in August. Neither Wallace, nor Sam Field who is yet to feature this year, played for the U23s in their 1-0 victory against Blackburn at Wealdstone during the week, as they were rested ready for this Friday night game – Field was an unused sub at Blackpool and should make his first appearance as a permanent QPR signing here. Andre Gray came off in the win against Cardiff with a knee injury and is a doubt against his former club, while Lyndon Dykes is also still being monitored for the ankle injury he picked up against Forest. Although Dykes subsequently played against Cardiff and Blackpool, he wasn’t involved in either of Scotland’s games against Moldova and Denmark last week through suspension and then injury. Dykes has already played 22 games for club and country this year (scoring ten goals) and has made 83 senior appearances for QPR, Scotland and Livingston since August 1, 2020. Seny Dieng withdrew from international duty with Senegal with a positive Covid-19 test and although he is out of isolation in time for the game he is yet to train, with Jordan Archer standing by for a QPR league debut. Jordy De Wijs is still likely to be sidelined with a calf problem. Ilias Chair returned from another couple of outings for Morocco, with whom he is yet to lose in seven appearances, late on Wednesday so may also be a doubt. Luke Amos’ start at Blackpool was his first for QPR in the league since blowing his knee out at Bournemouth in October 2020. Odubajo and Rob Dickie are both one yellow card away from a one-match ban, with the amnesty for five cards coming after game 19 against Huddersfield on Wednesday.
Luton’s inconsistent start to the season has gone hand-in-hand with a catalogue of niggling injury problems, and Scottish midfielder Allan Campbell made his first appearance since the start of September in the defeat to Stoke just prior to the break. Nathan Jones used the fortnight off to get some minutes into several players who have been sidelined in the opening months, with former Morecambe starlet Carlos Mendes Gomes, James Shea, Dan Potts, Glen Rea, Wycombe alum Fred Onyedinma, Admiral Muskwe on shore leave, Danny Hylton and Cameron Jerome all playing in a 4-1 victory against Brentford B.
Elsewhere: POINTS DEDUCTIONS FOR EVERYBODY.
Another nine off Wayne Rooney’s Derby County this week, to go with the 12 they lost previously for entering administration, as they finally filed their revised accounts for the disastrous Mel Morris era and confirmed what was obvious to everybody all along – that there had been deliberate, sizeable breaches of FFP/P&S regulations across four seasons that were deliberately covered up through a series of scams, work-arounds and fudges. Now back on the bottom on -3 points, 18 points away from safety, they are relegated to League One where any potential buyer would not only be taking over a club in the third tier that no longer owns its stadium, but one with a sizeable debt burden, and facing potential further points deductions even when they get there should future sets of accounts show other breaches (likely) and/or they start 2022/23 in admin (also likely). You get the feeling there’s some further tumbling still to come in the East Midlands, and they round off this weekend’s fixtures with a Sunday lunchtime game at home with Bournemouth (another super kind, well-thought through, and ethical Sky pick for the Cherries’ fans there).
Six points off, too, for Reading, dropping them down to nineteenth and six points shy of the relegation places ahead of their home fixture with Nottingham Florist. Whether that’s an adequate punishment, or punishment at all really, for years and years of running at 200%+ wages to turnover, is open for debate, and the Royal have responded to this “negotiated settlement” by immediately moving to add Andy Carroll to their ranks as a free agent.
The third international break has once again proven something of a graveyard for managers. The Fourteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour hasn’t made it through to its Christmas dates, with our much loved former manager being ushered aside at Middlesbrough following their 1-1 draw at West Brom prior to the fortnight off. Given the speed of the appointment, it’s safe to presume that’s because they’d got things all lined up with Chris Wilder and didn’t want to risk him going elsewhere with a whole host of potential employers also choosing this mid-November moment to twist. Wilder feels like a good fit there, and Boro could be dangerous through the second half of the season. Certainly wouldn’t fancy being Millwall going there first this weekend.
Barnsley have gone leftfield with their Markus Schopp replacement – Sweden U21 head coach Poya Asbaghi is the new man in the hotseat at Oakwell. Barnsley previously tried to appoint him manager in 2019 when he was at Goteburg, with whom he won a Swedish cup and was nominated for the country’s Manger of the Year award prior to getting the sack in September 2020. His Sweden U21 record read P5 D2 L0 prior to his move to South Yorkshire, but he’s perhaps wisely said he won’t take charge of the Tykes until next week, with a game against free-scoring promotion chasers Fulham at Craven Cottage looming large this Saturday.
Other strugglers are choosing to stick: Peterborough, fourth bottom, have given Darren Ferguson a new three-year deal prior to this weekend’s trip to Stoke; Grant McCann continues to cling to life at Hull as the latest Allam takeover saga drags on into another month, they’re at home to Birmingham; Nigel Pearson is still just about the Bristol City manager ahead of a meeting with Blackburn in this weekend’s exciting clash between two teams beginning with B; Cardiff have gone cheap and easy with caretaker Steve Morison appointed permanently (one last minute win at home to Huddersfield from three fairly abject performances enough to persuade the hierarchy there that he’s the man for the job) and they’re at Preston Knob End on Saturday.
Elsewhere there’s a Saturday lunchtime clash between two of the surprise packages – most would have had Coventry (fourth) and Sheffield Red Stripe (nineteenth) the other way around in their pre-season calls. Well, we did anyway. Sporting Huddersfield and West Brom is quite the clash of styles while Swanselona and Blackpool promises a thoroughly wholesome afternoon of excellent young boys seeing who can get to 750 completed passes first.
Referee: Matt Donohue, who made rather the hash of QPR’s 2-1 televised defeat at Brentford last season, is back in the middle of this one on Friday night. Details.
QPR: The two points surrendered at Blackpool last time out made it 12 given up from a winning position this season by QPR – they’ve won seven, drawn three and lost two of the games they’ve taken the lead in. Rangers have recovered nine points from losing positions however, with only Forest (ten) and Coventry (13) managing more. Only West Brom (62) have had more shots saved than QPR’s 61 so far. Top two Bournemouth (31) and Fulham (44) are the only two sides to have scored more than QPR’s 28 goals in the league, but it’s now eight games (Preston at home, 3-2) since Rangers scored more than once in a match. They come into this one unbeaten in four, but three of those have been drawn and only three goals have been scored. From scoring 13 goals in seven matches between September 11 and October 2, Rangers have only scored six times in the next seven. The record of scoring in every league game so far remains just about intact, and Rangers remain on a scoring run of 28 consecutive league games, closing in on the club record of 33 from 61/62. They have tightened their defence in that period though – four goals conceded in the last six matches, compared to 12 in the previous six, four clean sheets in the last nine games compared to three in the first 13. Lyndon Dykes and Ilias Chair are joint top scorers on six. Rangers are 5-5-1 at Loftus Road in all competitions, with Bristol City (2-1) the only team to win here. The 90th minute goal by Nahki Wells that inflicted that loss is one of five last minute goals conceded by Mark Warburton’s side this season at a cost of five points – Rangers would otherwise be fourth. Rangers have also taken just three points from 18 (W0 D3 L3) when selected by Sky as their main game this season and have won just two, and lost 20, of their last 23 games played on a Friday – Forest prior to the international break being the only draw. Andre Gray has scored three goals in six appearances for Rangers, all of them in the black away kit. Andre Dozzell has lost only one of his 14 appearances for the club so far. Only Fulham, 365, have had more shots than QPR’s 283.
Luton: On September 1, 1981, Luton Town were the opponents for QPR’s first ever game on the Omniturf ‘plastic’ pitch at Loftus Road, and the Hatters won 2-1. They subsequently won in W12 again in 83/84 and once more in 84/85 – perhaps what persuaded the hierarchy to lay an artificial surface of their own at Kenilworth Road. But since those three successive victories this has not been a happy hunting ground for Luton. They’re without a win in 17 visits going back 37 years and QPR have won ten of those meetings including the last three. Twice, in 2007 and 1992, Luton have lost here on Easter Monday to all but confirm their relegation. Like Millwall and Cardiff, they’re also a team Rangers have enjoyed playing since Mark Warburton took over as manager – it’s three wins and a draw for the R’s over the past two seasons, and the 3-1 victory for QPR on the final day of last season (Austin, Johansen and Adomah with the goals) sealed a league double after a 2-0 win at Kenilworth Road in January. Luton have won only two of the last 24 meetings home and away. Trying to knit together Luton’s form for this season is not easy. Since a run of four consecutive draws through September their record reads LWDWDWLWL. They have a 5-0 home defeat on their slate, against fifteenth-placed Birmingham, and a 5-0 home victory against fourth-placed Coventry. Their away record to this point is 2-3-3 with the victories coming at Barnsley (1-0) and Millwall (2-0). Elijah Adebayo is top scorer with eight, one clear of Harry Cronick with seven. Only five teams have scored more than their 26 league goals, Coventry in fourth and Stoke in fifth have scored fewer. They are currently eleventh, two points off the play-offs, with six wins from 17 played. With 26 goals from 264 shots Luton’s conversion rate of 9.8% is bettered by only five other teams, one of which is QPR with 28 goals from 283 shots (9.9%). Since winning promotion back to the EFL in 2014 Luton have been on Sky 25 times, winning just five. They have won two of 13 TV games since they were promoted back to the Championship in 2019.
Prediction: We’re indebted to The Art of Football for once again agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Here’s last year’s champion Mick_S and his thoughts on Luton…
“This one of the games that I really, really would like us to win because I don’t like Luton, which I think is fair enough. I haven’t got a clue who is fit/available etc so I’m going for a 2-2 as both teams score and concede. I’ll pick Willock as our first goal scorer as long as he’s available and fit.”
Mick’s Prediction: QPR 2-2 Luton. Scorer – Chris Willock
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Luton. Scorer – Jimmy Dunne
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When Saturday Comes #22 by wessex_exile
It’s the 15th of January, and still the U’s are attempting to play their first home match of 2022. Weather looks good (check), players have returned from injury (check), no on-day Covid testing to get in the way (check), so barring fire famine or flood, I reckon we must have at least a 50:50 chance of a game at the JobServe this afternoon. Whether it’ll be three much-needed points or not, and if you’ll pardon the pun, I at least did see green shoots at the New Lawn on Tuesday. We still lost, and the table doesn’t lie, but definitely signs to encourage me that whilst it’s not going to be a comfortable journey, we’ll be alright by May.
When Saturday Comes #21 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, what should have been the first home game of 2022, and I discover seconds before posting this that the game is called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Having gone to the trouble of writing this, even though we’re not playing I’m going to post it anyway – it’s not like you’ve got anything else to do this afternoon.
When Saturday Comes #20 by wessex_exile
Finally, When Saturday Comes…and the U’s (for now at least) have a match to play. Mind you, I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, so there’s still time yet for yet another Covid/ injury postponement, I guess. I certainly hope not, as I’m planning on heading over to Crawley for this one. Mind you, now that the EFL have decreed there will be no on the day testing to eliminate the possibility of last-minute cancellations, I think I’ll defer buying a train ticket until this evening. Needless to say, a repeat of our last visit to Broadfield (The People’s Pension Stadium under the terms of a sponsorship deal) would do very nicely indeed.
When Saturday Comes #19 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…and the U’s find themselves fixtureless again, following Hartlepool’s request to postpone the game because of positive Covid tests amongst their squad. To heap further fixture congestion problems on the U’s, in short order Forest Green Rovers did likewise for our already rearranged match at the New Lawn on Tuesday night, and for the same reason. They’re not on their own either, with in all (so far) four Premier League and 19 EFL matches postponed today – all for positive Covid tests in their squads.
When Saturday Comes #18 by wessex_exile
A little later than usual today I’m afraid – ‘tis the season to be jolly and all that, so I have just been out for the obligatory Xmas tree – bah humbug. Mind you, I was treated to the sight of literally hundreds of Santas (and the occasional elf) on a charity fun run through Calne on the way, which for want of a better expression was certainly surreal. Officially entitled Santa’s Scamper, the entry fee for participants goes to charitable causes, and to date the organisers have raised nearly £8k for charities such as Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Dorothy House, Hope for Tomorrow, Barnardos and of course their main charity every year, Hannah’s Trees – well done Santas!
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