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Should We Ban 3 O'Clock Kick Offs?

Friday 7th October 2011
Nestled deep into urban Hampshire, few would envisage a landlady of a pub potentially changing football.

But that's exactly what Karen Murphy is doing, or at least forging the first few steps of. Murphy's triumph over the Premier League in midweek in the European Court of Justice could have a detrimental effect on football; especially in the lower leagues. Murphy has been allowed to continue broadcasting 3 p.m. kick offs in her pub - strictly prohibited by the Premier League.

talkSPORT wind-up merchant Adrian Durham proposed his solution to a problem that, if unaddressed, will more than likely see non-league clubs sink into the gutter and be confined to the history books. His solution: Ban 3 p.m. kick offs in the Premier League and only allow kick offs at 3 p.m. in the Football League and the rest of the leagues.

At first I dismissed his proposal, simply brandishing it as another one of his pathetic and unthought through suggestions. But as the thought began sinking into me, I quicky realised it could work.

Of course, excluding kick offs in the mid-afternoon would completely wipe away English tradition, but Spain have said no to their 5 p.m. kick offs this season. Moreover it would represent yet another game-changing move administrated by Sky and other T.V. Companies - defeating the object of bringing football back to the fans, a move that would likely happen as more fans will be able to afford live T.V. in their very own backyard.

But there is more football than the 20 teams in the top flight. Hundreds and hundreds more games are played on a weekend across the country. If 3 p.m. Premier League kick offs are shown on T.V's then your average fickle fan will trod along to their local pub on Saturday to watch a theatrical Nani or a £35 million waster like Andy Carroll, in doing so gesticulating a big fat V sign towards lower league football. Unlike the Prem clubs, football in the lower reaches depends on support. Cheap T.V. will kill many clubs. FACT.

Therefore, for a change, I am agreeing with Mr. Durham. More fans will pay to watch their local side if the big guns are playing on alternate days, and, though more Sunday football would probably reduce live Football League games subsequently reducing vital T.V. revenue, there is nothing better than a full house.

And it doesn't have to come at a cost.

My club, Hartlepool United, revolutionised football marketing and pricing this season, offering season tickets for a mere £100 to adults and £50 to under 19's. The result: near enough 3x the average gate of last season, more pie, pints and other refreshment sales, an increased buzz around the town not seen since the middle of the previous decade, and most economically: more commercial input.

Though such figures have yet to be released, I'd hazard a well-educated bet that Pools' profit this season takes a massive jump, despite cut price season tickets. If other clubs in the lower leagues reduce prices then they too will reap the same benefits as Pools. Most importantly keeping localised fans away from T.V. screens showing Premier League games.

If the authorities ban 3 p.m. kick offs in the Premier League and clubs further down the leagues reduce their prices then everyone will be a winner. Fans will be able to attend their local clubs side on a Saturday before tuning in to the top flight on Sunday, or whatever day they play. The current precaurious state of Football finance will almost certaintly improve and it will eliminate the growing number of clubs seizing into existence further down the pyramid as a result of the 'Sky effect'.

"Ban 3 p.m. kick offs in the Premier League" - perhaps the most logical statement ever by Adrian Durham.

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