Newcastle United fans face travel headache due to late London kick-off

  • Eddie Howe discusses the impact of late kickoffs on fans

Newcastle United fans are facing a travel headache as they try to arrange travel back from London due to an 8pm kick-off against Arsenal on Saturday night.

The game is the latest in a run of evening away games - with many of the matches ending after the last trains home, leaving fans to shell out on accommodation.

The issue even reached Parliament earlier this month when it was raised during a debate by the Labour MP for Gateshead Ian Mearns.

"The current feeling right now is it is a bit of a joke," explained Adam Stoker from fan group Wor Flags. "It feels like fans are being exploited.

"In this case, the loyalty of Newcastle fans and the fact we will just travel anywhere regardless of the time. There is a feeling that is being exploited at the moment."

Newcastle's match against Arsenal gets underway at 8pm. Credit: PA

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe admitted he would like to see changes as he shared his sympathy for supporters.

"For me our supporters are the most important people here," he explained. "They want to come and see their team in a safe way.

"It is not easy to get from Newcastle to London anyway but to do it at those times for some people it would be almost impossible I would imagine. So for me, they should be the first people we think about."

The increase of late fixtures is in many ways a compliment to the club and their success of recent seasons.

The issue has been address by Ian Mearns MP in Parliament.

However, that comes as little relief to travelling supporters who have been forced to shell out more to support the club. An independent football regulator has been planned for the sport and it is hoped that it will address the issue.

"It is something we would like the independent football regulator that's coming in soon to address," Mr Stoker said. "We understand that games are going to be televised alot and there is going to be that demand for Newcastle games to be on telly.

"But we just want some consideration for supporters or some kind of compensation or extra travel services put on."

Newcastle supporters will face a similar issue on 11 March when the Magpies travel to Chelsea for another 8pm kick-off.

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