Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: The Chelsea FA Cup kick-off time highlights everything that is wrong with football

One thing is guaranteed when the Owls visit Stamford Bridge for the first time since the turn of the Millennium.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 10:47 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:33 am
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri

The away end will be packed to the rafters.

Wednesdayites have had little to cheer in the past 18 months but expect them, as per usual, to travel in their numbers and create one hell of a racket at Chelsea a week on Sunday.

It will be a day out and a reward for the Owls' long-suffering fans after another largely forgettable campaign.

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Hopefully it will be a day to remember for nearly 6,000 Owls and the team will give a good account of themselves against the FA Cup holders.

But eyebrows, though, have been raised over the kick-off time. The tie, which has been selected for television coverage, will get under way at 6pm.

Both sets of fans are unhappy about the 6pm kick-off time as dictated by the BBC, who are broadcasting the fourth round clash.

The Chelsea Supporters Trust quickly voiced their disapproval, accusing the Football Association of showing 'nothing but contempt for supporters with inconvenient kick off times'.

A statement released by the Trust read: 'While the FA Cup may be losing its appeal among some clubs and supporters, this is definitely not the case at Chelsea where FA Cup matches sell out match after match, year after year.

'However, we wonder how long this exceptional support will continue when the FA, in thrall to the broadcasters, has sold the soul of football's most prestigious tournament and in doing so shows nothing but contempt for supporters with inconvenient kick off times and the inherent transport difficulties and costs that ensue.

'A 6pm kick-off on a Sunday evening will be particularly hard on Sheffield Wednesday supporters with travel back up to Yorkshire late on a Sunday night especially difficult."

It is worth pointing out, for balance, that Chelsea host Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals next Thursday so it will be a quick turnaround for Maurizio Sarri's men.

But that is still no justification for the later kick-off time. Now some Wednesdayites may have no choice but to take Monday off work. It is a joke.

The Chelsea Supporters Trust added: 'If the FA Cup wishes to retain its pre-eminence as the most loved tournament in football, then the FA would do well to heed the concerns of the very people who make it what it is and ultimately who it serves: the supporters.'

Fans are the lifeblood of the sport and yet there seems to be no consideration for them anymore.