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The 2009/10 Premier League fixtures are out on Wednesday!
It’s one of the football highlights of the close-season as fans the length and breadth of the country eagerly await the publication of their team’s games.
Everton fans are no different and we’ll bring you the full Toffees list on Wednesday just as soon as we are legally allowed!
But as you check your own important dates on the fixture card, spare a thought for the complex process that goes into producing a full set of Premier and Football League matches.
For example, every club is paired with another in regard to when they play their home and away fixtures. This is done for a number of reasons, one being so that clubs like Everton and Liverpool do not play at home on the same weekend.
But it can be complicated!
West Ham are paired with Dagenham & Redbridge but for reasons of revenue Southend United request they do not play at home on the same day as the Hammers as they believe it impacts upon their attendance.
Southend, though, are based in Essex, as are Colchester United, so they cannot play together on the same weekend. Colchester share stewards with Ipswich Town so those two clubs also request they do not play home games on the same weekend.
Transport links dictate Ipswich and Norwich City do not play together on the same weekend either. In other words, West Ham playing at home can have an impact on when a club as far away as Norwich (108.8 miles) play their home fixtures! And there are 12 other professional clubs in London....
A process called ‘sequencing’ is also applied, which involves mapping out on what days all the fixtures will take place and the pattern of home and away games that a team will play.
For example, no team can play more than two consecutive home games and, with one eye on the financial situation at lower league clubs, the games either side of an FA Cup fixture should not both be away from home.
The increase in European club competition fixtures affects the available space as do international friendlies and World Cup qualifiers. Next season the Champions League final takes place on a Saturday, eating into another weekend when Premier League fixtures cannot be played... and there’s a World Cup so the season will have to end early!
After all the relevant information has been loaded, the computer can produce a full divisional fixture list in around five minutes. But some are manually devised, such as Boxing Day and 28 December, because the computer has no appreciation of distance between stadiums.
So are we!
But whatever the process and regardless of how complicated the system can be, rest assured that Everton’s 2009/10 Barclays Premier League fixture list will be on evertonfc.com on Wednesday morning! Find out here first.
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