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28th October 2018

We have already had to endure two international shutdowns and another is round rhe corner in November. Whilst these regular breaks frustrate the supporters, they at least give a little respite from the expense of following a side playing three games a week for most of the season.

Thanks to TV coverage options, many are choosing to watch games from the comfort of their living room or the pub. It was bad enough, especially for lower league clubs who were losing revenue, trying to compete with Champions League games being televised while games were being played.

It's getting worse now though and with the advent of the red button showing all Championship games live in midweek, there is now the unthinkable threat of games being shown from across Europe in the previous watershed of 3:00 to 5:00pm on Saturday afternoons. That would go a long way to killing some clubs, especially in non-league as fans stay away and armchair watchers replace former supporters.

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We have noticed significant falls in midweek attendances especially with visiting supporters that situation hasn't been helped by ridiculous fixture planning.

I am certain that every club can quote similar examples but closer to home Boro away to Ipswich on a Tuesday evening beggars belief especially as it fell three days after playing Hull City away the previous Saturday.

Friday night TV football doesn't help either. The roads are terrible as people head home for the weekend. After away games on a Friday at Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday Boro face a Saturday evening game at Brentford.

In fairness Boro have still been well represented in the stands away from home but the numbers attending the Riverside supporting the opposition has fallen and that means lost revenue for the home club, plus a reduced atmosphere.

Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers had much lower than normal followings than had the game been on a weekend and not available via the red button.

Rotherham only mustered just over 200 fans on Tuesday. Admittedly, until the point they deservedly gained, their travelling support hadn't seen a single point on the road, that said north eastern non-league teams take greater numbers than that away from home to support their teams.

Sadly this situation seems like it will only get worse. Football needs supporters in the ground though the money men will tell you that turnstile revenue is nowhere near as important as it was in yesteryear.

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