Independent Manchester United Supporters Association

3pm Saturday Kick-Offs


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Giggs and Becks united against early kick offs

DAVID Beckham and Ryan Giggs have added their voices to the campaign against early kick-offs.

The two Manchester United stars have both complained that the increasing tendency towards midday kick-offs is affecting the Reds' form when they have played a tough European midweek game.

Their words come after United and Fulham fans stood together outside Old Trafford on Saturday to kick off a new nationwide protest at the move away from the traditional kick-off time of 3pm on a Saturday.

The fans staged a colourful demonstration on the main concourse, and the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association handed out 5,000 black-and-white cards with the figure '3' on them to take inside the ground.

Pasta for breakfast

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already expressed his misgivings about noon kick-offs that follow a Champions League game in midweek.

And England captain Beckham has weighed in to the argument, claiming that they are responsible for some of the Reds' lacklustre Premiership displays.

He said: "It's hard to know how we can beat Juventus and then draw with Bolton, with all due respect to them.

"It's not an excuse, but 12 o'clock kick offs don't help. We're playing a world-class team on the Wednesday and then coming back to play on the Saturday morning.

"It's not easy to eat pasta at nine o'clock in the morning, I know that much! That puts you off quite a lot. That's the thing the players don't like."

Giggs has also spoken out on the matter, backing his manager's claim that the lack of a Saturday lie-in is eating into the 72 hours of rest recommended by fitness experts.

Fans' campaign

"It does affect you, just those few hours. You may not realise it but it does," said Giggs. "We've played at midday about a dozen times, which is too much. Other teams have had extra time and extra days to recover from games."

Now the United fans, together with the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF), plan to take their 3pm Sat campaign to Parliament next week.

The FSF is hoping to have one fan from all 92 league clubs at a Westminster lobby on April 1 - and friendly MPs have already been persuaded to introduce a debate on the matter to the House.

The campaign is also asking for a fairer distribution of television money, and for one midweek evening to be declared "TV-free" so that smaller clubs can stage games without seeing their gates cut by the rival attraction of a Champions League game or another top match.

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