Chris Goreham: Erratic kick-off times could be good practice for the Canaries

PUBLISHED: 12:40 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 12 March 2019

Teemu Pukki and Co. may have to get used to different kick-off times if they reach the Promised Land next season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Teemu Pukki and Co. may have to get used to different kick-off times if they reach the Promised Land next season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City have just 10 more games to play this season but as it stands only two of them will kick-off at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s a Canary conundrum that puts supporters who are also traditionalists in a difficult position.

Most of us build our weekends around the notion that our favourite football team will have a match at 3pm on a Saturday.

Pre-match routines for supporters everywhere rely on that sort of certainty.

The news that the Canaries’ trip to Wigan will now start at midday on a Sunday in April was met with understandable tuts and groans from those who had been thinking about making what could be a triumphant trip.

I wonder how many family get-togethers, parties and restaurant bookings have been hastily rearranged in Norfolk in recent weeks?

This is the price that must be paid for following a successful team.

The live TV cameras didn’t trouble anywhere near as many of the Canaries’ kick-off times last since as they limped to a mediocre 14th place in league.

In fact only one of City’s league matches, other than the East Anglian derby, was screened live after Christmas last season.

This time around the tally for the same period stands at seven and that’s before the all-conquering Time Lords of football at Sky Sports have finished deciding which fixtures from the final few weekends of the season deserve to be beamed up and moved to a different part of the electronic programme guide that hides somewhere behind the correct combination of buttons on your remote control.

If you’re the sort of person that enjoys watching the Canaries on TV you may find there’s an enormous elephant in the living room with you.

I can already see the EDP letters page later this week printing something that goes along the lines of ‘Dear Sir. It’s all very well for Goreham to complain about Norwich City’s kick-off times getting changed but he’s not like a normal fan. He gets paid to commentate regardless of when the match starts. Yours, I.M Cross, Costessey’.

Well you’ve got me there, it’s a legitimate point but one that I will counter by saying that BBC Radio Norfolk’s schedule also assumes Norwich City will play their matches on a Saturday afternoon.

Our coverage is due to run from 1400 to 1800 every week, allowing for an hour’s worth of build-up, the match itself and time for the Canary Call phone-in afterwards.

A change of kick-off time means that I have to go cap in hand to someone in our office to tell them that we have no choice but to park our yellow and green tanks on their lawn and broadcast commentary of a football match instead of the carefully crafted show that they had been working so hard to produce.

In fairness my colleagues are always very nice and totally understanding when the situation arises.

It’s either that or they wait until I’ve gone home before saying what they really feel.

The fact that Norwich City commentary helps to pay my mortgage isn’t the only reason that it would be churlish to complain about the lack of Saturday 3 o’clock kick-offs remaining at Carrow Road this season.

The truth is that I will watch pretty much any football match that’s on TV given half the chance so I can’t really fuss when my own routine has to change.

Let’s just hope we can see these erratic start times as good practice for a return to the Premier League next season.

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