Nigel Adkins last night stood shoulder to shoulder with Sheffield United supporters after admitting he is furious at the decision to move the club’s League One fixture against Southend for television purposes.
The match, which had been scheduled to take place at Roots Hall on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, will now kick-off two days later at 7.45pm following SKY’s announcement earlier this week it would be broadcast live.
The switch provoked outrage among a section of United fans who had booked accommodation and made travel arrangements ahead of the crucial game. And Adkins, revealing he sympathises with their predicament, also confirmed it has thrown his own squad’s preparations for a crucial run of matches into disarray.
“Don’t get me started on that one,” Adkins told The Star. “I’ve spoken to the Football League, I was on the phone for about half-an-hour, and obviously I’m not happy about it being on a Wednesday. It should have been on the Monday but SKY hold the contracts and we can see where football is going at this moment in time, we can’t do anything about it. Everyone looks forward to those Easter games but we can complain all we like, it’s not going to move.”
Adkins added: “I’ve always said it, I really feel for the fans because they are the ones who put their hands in their pockets. They get themselves organised, like us, and make plans. I’ve said that to the Football League as well but it’s out of our hands. We don’t have to agree with it, we don’t have to like it, but it’s out of our hands.”
Seventh-placed United, who host Swindon Town tomorrow, will face high-flying Walsall less than 72 hours after returning from Essex.
“Now we’ve got to look to see if we can move the Walsall game to the Sunday,” Adkins said. “They are probably going to be right up at the top of the league and we’ll have to be bang on it. We probably won’t get back until something like 6am on the Thursday and that limits your recovery time. I’ve got to get on with it, those are the cards we’ve been dealt and we’ve got to play them as best we can. It’s a decision that’s been made and that’s that.”
Adkins, who yesterday confirmed United have seen two “six figure” bids for players rejected during the transfer window, added: “I appreciate where the finances are, that people have contracts and they pay good money for them. That’s why the Premier League is the league it is and that filters down. I understand and appreciate all of that but I’m not happy with it. I always feel for our supporters because we’ve had to change our plans and our hotels too.”