Glenn: Missing You Already

Glenn Roeder regrets that there won't be too many Hammers fans at St. James Park to see the opening game of his second season in charge.

With the game having been switched to the Monday, Glenn fully understands why not too many West Ham faithful will be able to head north, and he says:

"It is a shame, despite the fact that it will be a cool evening, that our normal travelling fans won't get the chance to go to the game because it is the other end of England, and a lot of our fans would have to take two days off.

"That would cost them more money by not going to work, and if you come back on the day of the game you would not get back until two or three in the morning.

"And if you go back to work on the Tuesday you are not exactly going to be able to work to your maximum.

"So our supporters haven't been considered whereas had it been a Saturday afternoon it could have been a nice weekend in Newcastle.

He admits, though, there is a silver lining in the 'cloud' and explains:

"When the fixtures came out it was always going to be a difficult game, and then Sky chose it for their Monday night game which we are really pleased about; it is always good to feature on Sky.

"It does mean we are the last to play but with the weather being in the high eighties over the weekend afternoons maybe it is for the best that we are playing in the evening.

"I spent six years at Newcastle and believe me, it is capable of a mini-heatwave, too."

Glenn feels afternoon games at the beginning of the season, or before it, are not always for the best, and adds:

"None of our preseason games were Saturday afternoons, and I take full responsibility for arranging and 'designing' our friendly fixtures.

"That is the very reason I didn't arrange any Saturday afternoon games; you have always got that slight concern that you will be playing in eighty or ninety degrees of heat and you don't really want that because the game wouldn't get played at a normal high tempo.

"The last half hours of those games almost goes to walking pace, which is understandable in that heat, and it is counter productive in terms of what you are trying to do, which is get your match fitness.

"I have always advocated the teams putting games on a Friday or Saturday evening for the first month of the season, simply because I don't always think you always get a great game of football if you are playing in ridiculously high temperatures on a Saturday afternoon."

Glenn feels, too, that a winter break would be of benefit to the top flight, and adds:

"I think we have got to be conscious of supporters who pay an awful lot of money to play Premiership football, and I think a winter break would enhance the product because the players could do with recharging their batteries at that time of year.

"I think it gives clubs, especially the ones with smaller squads, the chance to clear up any little niggles they may have, and players would come back refreshed and ready to start playing football again at the end of January, even though the weather is still going to be very cold.

"I would be happy to start the season a week earlier and finish a week or two later.

"But that wouldn't mean missing out on the Christmas games, and I understand the club's concern about missing out on that, because there is so much money to be earned over the Christmas period.

"So I would say let's have the Boxing day game and the New Year's day game, which are always sell outs, and once we get into the first week of January why not have a winter break that takes off the rest of the month and starts again in February.

"I'd be lying if I said it would just be for the fans but they are obviously the consideration; I am very conscious about how much it costs to watch Premiership football, and I am sure they would rather watch players that are fully refreshed, fully ready, and fully energetic for every game, rather than the situation quite often where the third game in five days sees lots of teams looking very tired.

"Because of injuries that have been picked up a day or two earlier the first choice players are not always out there playing."