Sunday, 27 December 2009

THE SUNDAY FOOTBALL SAGA



A fellow Irish League follower got in touch recently after my previous post on my reaction to the Linfield and Glentoran Boxing Day postponement.  We got together over a few pints (bitter) for a one-to-one. He posed some interesting questions....

- Why should Linfield play 2 matches in 48 hours if they don't have to?

They don't have to. They didn't. It was a decision totally up to them and I accept that.  The Glens have a big game at Portadown on Tuesday night too.

- And what exactly do Rangers and Celtic playing on a Sunday have to do with anything?

Ah come on, do you really need me to answer that one for you...

- Sunday football is not the great saviour it's billed as by those who lobby for it as they are competing with live English Prem.

Agreed. We will never be in a position to go pound-for-pound against the EPL. We come up against live football at most hours of the day though. Switching games to a Sunday will probably make no difference to attendances. But why be so set against it to the point where you inconvenience the biggest game of the season? Money is tight in the Irish League. Clubs are on the verge of collapse as we speak.

- And do please tell me what this "Uberprod" mentality at Windsor Park is?

My original remark was "The 'Super-Prod' mentallity from the hierarcy at the South Belfast club yet again pulls us back to the past."  Do Linfield answer to the Free-Presbyterian church now?    I've encountered Protestant Bluemen labelling Protestant Glenmen 'sell-outs' for breaking the out-dated tradition of no football on a Sunday.  It may only be a bit of banter but there tends to be a moral superiority undertone to it.  Staunchly refusing to kick a ball on Sunday in the name of 'Protestantism' does not mean you will get into Heaven any quicker.

- And what is this "Might have been" you speak of? The sides will meet later on in the season.

The 'what might have been' I speak of regards the five Irish Premiership games being cancelled.  It was disappointing as I wasn't able to attend a match while I'm back in Belfast for the weekend.  Top marks for analysing my post to the death by the way!

On the weather...

- I must admit, looking at the weather, I was surprised by the postponement, but, one night of improvement has been up against three/four days of continuous frost.

It was a surprise indeed, especially when I saw the Sun come out just after 11am! But if the pitch isn't playable then that's that I suppose.

- I seem to remember five out of six fixtures in August 2008 being postponed due to the weather, so summer is hardly immune to inclement weather, as has the LOI fixture lists during the summer months.

Agree entirely, but why close yourself off to the idea?  Personally, I'm not against it but I'm not totally convinced it would be a wonderful thing for the league either.

On the Glentoran invitation to Linfield to put the game back 24 hours to Sunday...

- There are many examples in English football of clubs declining Sunday games after Saturday postponements.

Correct. But you won't come close to a 10,000 bumper crowd in the rearranged fixture. Then again money wouldn't be an issue with Linfield. And you can take that as a snide dig if you want (you seem to have taken my post to heart which wasn't the intention) but the truth hurts.

- Exactly how is Linfield looking after their players schedule "Dragging us back to the dark ages"?

I don't blame any club for looking after their players schedule. My issue was with Linfield's inability to play Sunday football. Dark ages = unable to move away from the past. Sunday football. No! Never! is the reply time and time again from a minority at Linfield FC.

- Amongst who is NI the "Laughing stock" of the Western World over Sunday football? Has anyone ever publicly mocked NI over it? ?

I know scores of people outside of Northern Ireland looking in at us and exposing us as a backward looking country with regards to the Sunday football saga. What kind of mentality resides in the people who are so set against playing football on a Sunday, yet pass up God's day of rest for a protest outside a football stadium?

Only in Northern Ireland.  Progression has never been our strong point!

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