What to expect from Friday Night Football


Thanks to the billions of pounds invested in the Premier League, top-flight football will be broadcast regularly on a Friday evening from the start of the new season.

A minimum of 10 matches will be shown as part of the "weekend curtain-raiser" with Manchester United first up when they host Southampton on August 17.

Here are seven things you can expect from Friday Night Football:

1. Another day of football - Who can complain about that?!

Nike's Premier League ball (Adam Davy/PA)

It may not be conventional but having another day of top-notch football is not something we'll be complaining about.

No one particularly likes change but by the end of the season, Friday Night Football will become the norm and everyone will embrace another night of Premier League action, even if it does mean devout fans have to change their work schedules around a bit to get to matches.

Just think of it as more time to enjoy another unpredictable Premier League season.

2. Rachel Riley, Jeff Stelling and Chris Kamara

Countdown's Rachel Riley arrives at the United for UNICEF Gala Dinner

The hugely popular brainiac and star of Countdown is to be reunited with Jeff Stelling as she joins the Friday Night Football team - a move that could see Friday Night Football's analysis become as popular as the Monday night version.

Add Chris Kamara to the mix and an admission from Stelling that Friday Night Football will be a "lighter touch" than its Monday night sibling, as well as four hours long, and it should be interesting.

3. Another excuse not to watch the soaps

A family gather in front of a television (AP)

It's the age-old question: soaps or football?

Missing Hollyoaks, EastEnders, Corry or Emmerdale may be heartbreaking for some, but if you had to weigh up the options then football usually comes out on top.

It might cause arguments with the other half, but if your mighty team beat their arch-rivals on a lovely Friday night, who can argue with that?

Watching football is a tradition that cannot be broken for fans. Just because it is on another day of the week doesn't mean it should change things. Anyway, there is always catch-up TV to get the latest from the cobbles or wherever if the soap addict inside cannot miss a single episode.

4. Longer weekends, shorter work weeks

Manchester City fans celebrate (David Davies/PA)

Technically this isn't true, but we'd like to think so.

However, there will be a buzz around work when you know that as soon as it hits five on a Friday, it's a very short countdown to Premier League football.

Then you'll wake up the next day to a near-full programme of Football League action succeeded by Super Sunday to complete the perfect weekend.

Is this going to be heaven? No, but it's not far off.

5. Fantasy football management to falter

A Barclays Permier League sign (Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport)

A potential disaster for fantasy football purists is the quick turnaround in which to choose their teams for the coming week.

With Monday night football continuing in addition to the new Friday night action, three days is simply not enough time to evaluate any injuries, suspensions or bad form in which vital transfers need to be made.

It could be a nightmare for the ultimate football fan, who has nine different teams on every possible fantasy football website. Sorting out your team could possibly become a full-time job (where do I apply?).

6. Better atmosphere at the matches

Arsenal fans wave fags in the stands (Nigel French/PA)

It is commonly said that night matches generally create a better atmosphere and with the introduction of Friday Night Football most Premier League fans can lap it up.

It will also improve the viewing on Sky Sports, with stadiums in raucous voice and not getting fined for it (Spain's La Liga is fining teams if their stadiums look less than 75% full on the telly).

It will be interesting to see how many fans will make the effort to go to the matches, particularly in the winter months, but more football is what fans want and now we have it.

Although sending Southampton fans to Manchester may be expecting a bit too much.

7. It will put Match Of The Day in a sticky situation

Gary Linekar holds a Guiness world record plaque in the MOTD studio (Guinness World Records/PA)

The long-serving football programme has transformed over recent seasons. The addition of Super Sunday into the weekend schedule means that it now has two shows over the weekend.

However, yesterday's news is tomorrow's chip paper so will they include Friday night's matches? The programme may choose to ignore this like they do with the Monday Night Football, but it could affect the show with one less game to show from the handful of matches now played at the "normal" time of 3pm on a Saturday afternoon to broadcast on their prime time slot.