Newcastle fans have been left furious by the decision taken by ITV to put their FA Cup fourth-round clash with Fulham at 7pm on a Saturday evening. The Magpies’ supporters have been tasked with navigating their way around several tricky kick-off times this season and now face a five-hour, near 300-mile journey home after their match at Fulham finishes at what will be almost 9pm.
Eddie Howe’s side have endured a rollercoaster of an opening half of the campaign, failing to hit the heights of last season despite some positive moments. Injuries have threatened to derail their progress, with new signings anticipated as a result.
Newcastle sit in ninth place in the Premier League and are hoping to regroup over the coming weeks and reignite their push for the European places. Winning a trophy would also be the next step in the Magpies’ project, with the FA Cup an opportunity to win their first major trophy since 1955.
However, it remains to be seen how many Newcastle fans will be able to watch their side in action during their fourth-round tie against Fulham due to the controversial kick-off time. The match, taking place at Craven Cottage, will kick off at 7pm on Saturday 26 January, making it tricky for supporters to return home by public transport.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust have released a statement criticising ITV for the scheduling decision. It read: “Once again we are appalled by the lack of thought given to travelling supporters ahead of our FA Cup match at Craven Cottage.
“A 7pm kick-off leaves supporters with no option of catching a train home, with the last train for Newcastle departing Kings Cross at 9pm, leaving thousands now looking for accommodation in London with only two weeks’ notice.
“The financial and logistical burden imposed on travelling supporters by TV companies is shocking in an industry reaping huge profits.