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Saints fans will still see Saturday football
SAINTS fans could enjoy just as many traditional Saturday afternoon kick-offs in the Premier League as they did in the Championship.
Many supporters have voiced concerns that promotion to the top flight with the extra TV scheduling and juggling of fixtures for sides in Europe will lead to a lack of Saturday 3pm kick-offs which have become the norm for Saints over recent seasons in the lower reaches of English football.
However, statistics compiled by The Daily Echo show that may not necessarily be the case.
Saints do start from a relatively low comparison base having had a total of just ten home Saturday 3pm kick-offs in the league last season – and that from a campaign that contained four more St Mary’s matches than will be played in the top flight next term.
The Premier League average for last season was eight games per club to be staged at home at Saturday 3pm.
But that figure rises to nine matches per club when you look at the sides who were not involved in European competition.
If that were repeated for Saints next season they would have almost the same number of Saturday 3pm kick-offs as they did last season, despite playing fewer games, with just under half of the club’s home games having the traditional slot.
Overall figures for Saturday 3pm kick-offs, both home and away, are almost 16 games per club across the Premier League and almost 19 for clubs not in Europe. Last season Saints had a total of 22, but played an extra eight league matches over the course of the campaign.
Wigan played the largest number of Saturday 3pm games in the Premier League last season with 25 while Tottenham had the fewest with just six.
The biggest change will be in the number of midweek games.
Saints had a whopping 12 league games in the Tuesday- Friday category last season.
The average in the Premier League is between four and five.
There is also not much difference in Monday fixtures.
Saints had three last season and the Premier League average was virtually the same.
The major change will come in Sunday matches, partly because of the televised Sky matches they will have, and also because teams competing in Europe, particularly the Europa League, have fixtures switched to that day as they play on Thursday nights.
Saints had just one match on a Sunday last season but the Premier League average was nine games per club.
Due to television and fixture scheduling Saints had three Saturday lunchtime kick-offs last season, compared to a top flight average of almost the same, though seven clubs had one or none.
The number of Saturday night games they have could well fall with Saints having six last season against a top flight average of around two.
Each Premier League club is guaranteed ten live TV games a season, none of which can be held in the Saturday 3pm slot.