Brentford supporters have slammed the Premier League and broadcasters for 'utter contempt' when organising fixtures after the club's meeting with Newcastle United saw its date changed with less than two weeks' notice.
The Bees will now travel to St James' Park on Saturday, September 16 for a 5:30 pm kick-off rather than on Sunday, September 17 at 4:30 pm as initially announced by the Premier League in July.
The change comes after last week's Champions League draw which involved Newcastle United. The Magpies have now been confirmed to travel to AC Milan on Tuesday, September 19 and therefore have been given the extra 24 hours between matches.
Fury from Brentford fans comes not at the fact the fixture has been moved for Newcastle United's benefit, but at the Premier League for initially selecting the match for broadcast on Sunday afternoon when there was a likelihood the Magpies would need to play on the Saturday to allow for their European participation.
When unveiling the broadcast schedule at the start of July, the Premier League included a warning message next to the Newcastle United vs Brentford match which read: "Subject to movement dependent upon the participation of Premier League clubs in the Champions League the following Tuesday."
With huge savings on public transport to be made by booking early, any Bees fans who have done so must now buy new tickets or pay fees to move bookings. To add frustration, the last train to London from Newcastle on September 16 leaves at 7:33 pm - likely meaning fans would have to leave the match early to travel home.
It’s far from the first time such a situation has happened with supporters regularly left struggling to make it home after away matches. Newcastle United fans themselves saw their away fixture at Brighton on Saturday finish at around 7:30 pm, 350 miles from home.
The Brentford Independent Association of Supporters said: "Once again @premierleague treating fans with utter contempt. Picking a match for broadcast that could be moved because of European commitments with less than two weeks' notice shouldn't be allowed."
The Football Supporters Association, which has regularly campaigned against avoidable fixture changes for fans, also shared the plight of Brentford away matchgoers. The FSA said: "Games moved with just two weeks notice. Entirely avoidable farce that likely leaves fans out of pocket - and Brentford fans missing the last train back to London.
"Supporters are tired of games being moved more than once to accommodate broadcasters. Games that will have to be moved again due to predictable clashes with the European schedule shouldn't be selected for TV. Simple as that."
Reacting online, Brentford fans shared their annoyance at how difficult it would now be to support Thomas Frank's side at St James' Park, some 250 miles away from West London.
One Twitter user wrote: "Worth noting that the last train to London from Newcastle will mean that Brentford fans will have to leave around 70 minutes if they want to make it in time."
Another added: "What a joke. Newcastle qualified for the Champions League in May."