Angry Clarets fans have hit out at Burnley Football Club for fixing its FA Cup third round home tie against Tottenham on a Monday evening.
Burnley FC supporters groups say the fixture, on January 5th, the day many people return to work after the Christmas holidays, will cause problems for many fans especially those who travel long distances for home fixtures.
And they are also unhappy that the family stand will not be open for the game.
The football club told the Express that it understood the fans’ concerns but the decision was taken with health and safety and police provision in mind.
Mr Tony Scholes, speaking on behalf of the Burnley supporters groups, said: “We are extremely disappointed that our FA Cup 3rd round tie at home against Tottenham Hotspur will be played on a Monday evening.
“This will be our first home game in the FA Cup for four years, and it is a potentially exciting game against a Premier League rival with whom we’ve played out some classic games over the years, notably in the early 1960s and more recently in the Carling Cup semi-final of 2008/09.
“We feel the club’s explanation that it is due to an issue with police and stewarding resources on the Sunday is vague and in need of further explanation, while we are also unhappy at the closing of the only family stand in the stadium leaving families, particularly those with younger children, with a big decision to make as to whether to attend.”
He said the fixture would pose a major problem for those supporters who travel long distances to attend Burnley home fixtures and now must travel on a day that is, for many, a first day back in work after Christmas.
He said the tie would have been better on the Sunday when there are no other FA Cup fixtures in Lancashire.
Tottenham FC is offering their season ticket holders free transport but their Supporters’ Trust has also outlined their concerns.
Mr Scholes said they were unhappy that the decision was taken without any consultation with the Supporters’ Groups.
In response, the club’s Chief Executive Lee Hoos said: “Firstly, we had to have everything booked in early from a health and safety point of view, in order to make sure we had adequate resources and the police could plan their working hours.
“More importantly, there are a lot of fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period and to maximise player recovery time, Monday is an optimal day to play. We are sure that the long- term goal shared by all fans is to have a full squad capable of being competitive in all competitions.
“With regard to the Family Stand closure, this is based purely on the historical lack of demand for tickets for cup matches in the early stages of competitions. If supporters purchase enough tickets to indicate there is a demand for opening additional stands for this game, we will happily open the stand.”