Cherries: Howe wants an end to festive fixture congestion
EDDIE Howe would like to see an end to punishing festive schedules and also thinks fixtures should be more evenly spread throughout the season. Howe believes packed Christmas programmes can increase the chances of spectators being short changed due to the added demands on players. Cherries were yesterday due to play the first of four matches in nine days, only for their Boxing Day showdown with Plymouth to bite the dust because of a frozen pitch. It was their third league game to become a victim of the recent cold snap and a fourth to need rearranging with the visit of Sheffield Wednesday on January 8 also postponed due to the Owls' FA Cup commitments. Howe says he is not an advocate of winter breaks or of the possibility of extending the season to cope with any fixture backlogs. And while he acknowledges the festive period can be a major money-spinner, he also believes the balance between football and finance needs to be right. He also knows his thoughts on playing fewer league games and of scraping FA Cup replays are unlikely ever to see the light of day. I think we have too many games, said Howe, when asked for his thoughts on how to remedy the problem of fixture pile-ups. It is my opinion and I am speaking as a manager. I know the weather has been exceptionally bad recently but the season is long enough and extending it would mean it would only drag on. We will get all the games in between now and the end of the season so I don't really see any big concerns. But I have always felt there were too many games. Everyone wants to see quality football and, sometimes, that suffers due to the number of games we ask players to play. It's only my opinion and that's how I see it. People talk about a winter break but that would have its own problems. What would happen if you were to have a break when the weather was good and then you came back when it was bad You would set yourself up for more trouble. It's a non-starter in my opinion. Cherries continue their League One campaign with a visit to MK Dons tomorrow before travelling to Swindon on New Year's Day and then hosting Brentford on Bank Holiday Monday. Howe added: I know the Christmas period is important financially for football clubs and everybody has to think of that. But spectators are paying good money and you want them to watch good football. I think it's difficult with the number of games being crammed in. A spokesperson for the Football League confirmed to the Daily Echo that an extension to the season was not under consideration at this stage. Cherries are hoping to reschedule yesterday's postponed encounter with Plymouth on Saturday, January 8.
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