The Premier League has announced a revised schedule for Newcastle United as the club has to make up their postponed fixtures against Everton and Southampton that were delayed due to COVID-19 concerns as well as injuries. This revised schedule does see Newcastle have two away trips added in the month of March, which has created a jam-packed month of fixtures for Newcastle.
The new fixture list is as follows (times are in GMT):
Brentford (A) February 26, 2PM
Brighton (H) March 5, 2PM
Southampton (A) - March 10, 730PM *
Chelsea (A) - March 13, 2PM
Everton (A) - March 17, 7:45PM*
Crystal Palace (A) - March 19, 3PM
(*)Indicates a rescheduled match.
With the rescheduled matches added in there, Newcastle end up playing 4 matches in the space of just 9 days with all 4 matches being away matches. This includes one of Newcastle’s longest trips of the season as they travel 519 km (322.5 Miles) to Southampton on a Thursday night. There is a possibility that this could change for the better if Chrystal Palace win their cup tie against Championship side stoke, the London-based side’s match against Newcastle could get moved to a later date.
The congested fixture list is a nightmare scenario for Newcastle who have a growing injury list including long-term injuries to Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson. Such a congested March has weakened the spirits of Newcastle fans who assumed that the postponed matches against Southampton and Everton would be rescheduled for later in the season when it was likely one or both of these players would be back. Despite Newcastle’s impressive current run of form, relegation concerns still exist as more and more teams are being dragged into the relegation battle.
While concerns for the team are valid, many fans have expressed frustration with this new fixture list because it is not fan-friendly. Newcastle fans are known as some of the best away fans in England due to their willingness to travel for away matches in the Premier League, Championship, cup ties, and even preseason friendlies. Newcastle away ticket allocations often sell out weeks in advance of away trips, and fans always show up in numbers to matches regardless of the distance, time, or weather. This is something that is of course a positive but has become a talking point for many fans who believe the Premier League and its TV partners abuse the fact that Newcastle fans will bring a great atmosphere wherever they go. This has resulted in Newcastle matches often getting moved from Saturday afternoons to Sunday night, or mid-week matches suddenly in years past or in this case two midweek away matches within a week’s span. These midweek matches are often the most difficult matches for fans to attend logistically because they of course happen during the workweek. Fans in the case of the Southampton match would need to take Thursday off to make the 6-hour train trip (according to google maps) or 5 and half hour bus/car trip in time for the start of the match. Additionally, once the match ends at nearly 10PM they have to make that same trip back in the middle of the night, likely not getting home until the wee hours of the morning. It is a problem fans have brought up many times, and it seems as if the Premier League and its partners seemingly do not care despite their continued public decrees that they care about the fans of the game.
Nonetheless, there is nothing the team or fans can really do about any of it except prepare for the onslaught of matches coming in March. The reality is that the decision has been made and it is unlikely the Premier League is going to budge from their decision.