Mid-week fixtures? A season that will run (nearly) into the winter? And we’re sure that this is Australia, not England… right?
The new post-COVID reality for Australian football fans has been brought a little more into fruition with today’s announcement of the 2020/21 competition fixture list. With City fans having been deprived of live A-League action since March, we’re sure you’ll want to hear what the fixtures mean as the possibility of attending games in-person becomes a much more tangible prospect with every passing week.
You’ve likely already seen a summary of our fixtures from the club so instead of regurgitating how many home games we have, the inevitable references to our ‘historic’ first clash/es against Macarthur, etc., we’ll give you our take on the good, bad and uncertain aspects of the fixture list from the perspective of City fans. Here we go:
Opening home game against Newcastle (Friday 8th Jan 7pm)
It’s not exactly a high-profile fixture but what better way to kick our home season off than with a 7pm Friday night kickoff at the end of the working week? If you’ve read City’s fixture summary then you’ll know it’s our first proper home game in 269 days too – quite literally a LONG time between drinks, so we’ll be extra-sure to compensate for that.
Newcastle, CCM and Brisbane x3
By now we’re used to the whole ‘make more money for Fox by scheduling three Derbies a season’ arrangement (more on that later) so the more interesting aspect of the draw is scanning the fixtures to identify which other teams we’ll be playing three times across the season. Luckily for City we’ve done pretty well for ourselves to end up with perennial cellar-dwellers Central Coast and Newcastle, in addition to the terminally inconsistent Brisbane Roar. City have the extra home game against the Mariners and Jets, whilst we’ll have to travel to the Roar twice, hosting them once.
No dearth of Derbies
We get it. Derbies complement the financial interests of those who pump money into the game, but it’s getting harder to sense that special game day anticipation and electric stadium atmosphere when the fixture occurs three times a season. In 2020/21, that problem is likely to be compounded by a disappointing sequence of three Derbies in the space of just 11 rounds (inclusive). Fortunately the mid-week fixturing (which we’ll discuss in a moment) tends to ease off during this period, so it’s not as if those eight other games are being squeezed into even fewer weeks to make the time between Derbies shorter, but it’s still underwhelming to have the allure of such a special occasion tarnished slightly.
On a related note that could actually be thrown into our ‘Good’ section, fans will likely rejoice at the fact that there will be no early-season Derbies for the first time in what feels like forever, with the first one not taking place until Round 13, allowing both sides to establish themselves and enabling a longer buildup of pre-fixture anticipation.
This one really depends on who you are. As a uni student who’ll still be on break for the first two months of the season – when the mid-week fixtures are more prominent – I personally am STOKED to see this happen. If you’re a parent with school-aged kids or someone who works early in the morning (or who works Monday-Friday at all, basically), you’re probably less-impressed by the concept of 7pm Monday/Wednesday night kickoffs. Throw Sunday 6pm kickoffs in that category too, of which we have three.
That being said, it’s difficult to imagine fans having too many objections to more football in a shorter time period, with the season being reduced by at least a month or two to accommodate for the later start.
What are your thoughts on City’s fixture list? Any away trips that you’re lining up once interstate travel becomes a reality again? Let us know in the comments on our socials.