Hibs today revealed they are open to the idea of Friday night football at Easter Road as the SPL launched a nationwide fans’ survey on the move.
The SPL has been encouraged by the results of a pilot exercise in which Aberdeen’s recent match against Dunfermline was switched to a Friday night at Pittodrie. It resulted in a crowd of 8333, up 661 on Aberdeen’s previous Saturday 3pm home game against Kilmarnock, a figure described as “extremely encouraging” by SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster who also pointed out it had come on the back of the Dons defeat by East Fife in the Scottish Communities’ League Cup.
The switch, however, wasn’t as popular with Dunfermline fans who were faced with the long trek north but after 1200 supporters of both clubs responded to a survey Donacaster has now asked fans of all clubs to have their say.
And today managing director Fife Hyland disclosed Hibs will be keeping a close eye on the outcome with a view to staging Friday night football at Easter Road. He said: “We are keen to explore the idea and would like to give it a go. We have seen a lot of positive reaction on the back of the Aberdeen-Dunfermline game and there’s a survey asking fans what they thing.
“We are an open door to trial it but we’d like the hear what our supporters think. Hyland accepted there was already a resistance to matches being switched from the traditional 3pm Saturday start, but argued that was more to do with a lack of consistency of kick-off times due to the demands of live television.
He believes Friday night rather than a Sunday lunchtime would prove more popular, claiming such a move would be family-friendly in that it would free up the rest of the weekend.
He said: “Work patterns have changed although there’s still that belief 3pm on a Saturday is the ultimate time.
“We are not saying we’d love to have it every Friday but there’s a lot of work going on at the moment looking at the potential of using that night, we want innovation and different ideas.
“We’d like to see the outcome of the survey and see what our fans think but we believe there’s a lot of innovative things we can do around getting families along to games.”
Pointing out that Friday-night matches wouldn’t be televised, Hyland added: “There’s a social aspect to Friday nights which could work well for football, it’s worked well down south for both football and rugby.”
One stumbling block, however, could the be the attitude of police with both Lothian and Borders and Strathclyde having proved to be less than enthusiastic about the idea in the past.
Supporters wishing to take part in the survey can do so via the SPL website until Friday, October 28.