Football kick-off times ‘crazy’
Dons boss hits out at matches clashing with amateur games –
Aberdeen FC boss Derek McInnes has said he thinks it is “crazy” more hasn’t been done to ensure amateur football matches don’t clash with the Dons’ kickoff times.
The AFC manager said he knows many people who are heavily involved in the amateur leagues who have not been able to secure enough points for cup final tickets because they spend their weekends playing.
And he said he believes more could be done to “get more people through the door” and still allow them to play.
He was talking at Aberdeen City and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) this week to more than 150 business leaders.
At the end of his presentation McInnes was addressed by an audience member who said he had played amateur football all his life.
He said that he was also an Aberdeen supporter but that he was rarely able to attend matches as he was frequently playing on a Saturday afternoon.
He believed that to be partly down to a lack of available pitches that would allow matches to be held in the morning.
McInnes was asked if he thought it was a problem and he replied: “It does sound crazy that we are not giving ourselves the best chance to get more through the door.
“I got a call from a friend of a friend wanting tickets. He is immersed in football and yet he can’t get tickets for the cup final because he hasn’t attended enough matches because he’s too busy coaching.
“It is something the club, council and youth football in Aberdeen can try to make better. Definitely.”
Brian Christie, secretary of Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association, said he believed there was a shortage of pitches across the city. However, he said the time of their matches was largely down to tradition and would be unlikely to change.
He said: “There is currently not enough pitches but that’s not the main reason the games are played on a Saturday afternoon. It has always been like that for convenience mainly. Many people still work on a Saturday morning and they like to spend their Sundays with their families so I can’t see them being able to do much to change that.”
A spokeswoman for Sport Aberdeen said: “Work has recently been undertaken looking into sports pitch provision to determine both quantity and quality of pitches, with initial findings not indicative of a lack of pitches. We are also aware that the quality of provision in some cases could be improved and this is something we will be working towards collectively with partners.”
Would we rather people spent their Saturday afternoons watching football, or playing it?
A full house roaring on teams from the terraces no doubt brings wider economic and social gains to local communities.
Businesses near city-centre stadiums enjoy a match-day boom and a cup run helps foster a spirit of solidarity.
They pale, though, next to the benefits to be reaped from having an active population.
A recent study of the impact of recreational football put the impact at nearly £100 million to Aberdeenshire alone.
That includes 1,300 jobs, £12m worth of volunteering and a £4.5m saving for the NHS just from one sport.
Forced to choose, we would therefore plump for people putting on their boots over donning their scarves.
Any action by Aberdeen FC to further boost their grassroots programme – allowing people to both play and watch and boosting gate receipts at the same time – would, however, be very welcome.
PRESENTATION: Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes spoke at Aberdeen City and Grampian Chamber of Commerce