PL fix up

26.12.2003 - This article first appeared in MEHSTG Vol. 2 - Issue 36 (December 2003)

For a long time - well, since the site started in 1998 - MEHSTG had carried a copy of the fixture list detailing games and details of them for the benefit of visitors.  We regarded this as a service to the public so that you could plan your life around the games Tottenham were about to play.

However, it appears that this is a heinous crime that is punishable by prosecution because we "don't have a licence" to use the programme of games that we put so much money into !!  So, this is what I think of their demands ...



You may remember this subject from previous articles such as “All You Need Is … Greed” (Issue 34), but we re-visit it for a valid reason and that is to try and explain something to you.  Wyart Lane attempts to do so in the manner of a typewriter that hasn’t got a working “e” key on it !!

First thing on Tuesday 9th December 2003, an e-mail landed on the electronic door-mat of MEHSTG’s inbox.  Another Christmas e-card from an organised person who reads the fanzine or visits the site you might think ?  Another piece of junk mail eulogising over the advantages of Viagra or tablets to increase the size of your penis ?  Well, no, nothing so welcoming really.  It was the dreaded knock from the people representing the company who licence the fixtures for the FA Premier League (and a whole host of other organisations you might have heard of).  I had been expecting this since Paul Smith of the Spurs Odyssey website informed me that they had been onto him to ask for a large sum of used fivers in return for being able to use the fixture list that includes our club.  Paul, as I have decided, said “No Thanks” and has withdrawn that page from his site.  You will now not be able to find out who Tottenham are due to play in up-coming matches on either of our sites.

Not only that, but we are not allowed to “refer to when and where any upcoming games are being played in either a 'fixture list' or any other method of displaying fixtures,” according to the man from NetResult, a Division of Projector NetResult Ltd.  However, the news is not all bad, because we will be able to mention games that have been played and record all the details about them on the websites.

The matter does cause some fundamental problems in my mind and whether they fall within or outside the law, I am no expert, but in terms of common sense, they seem ludicrous.

If I hear someone talking in a pub and they say “Spurs are going to pay £14 million for Danny Mills of Middlesbrough”, I am totally at liberty to use that on the website, as far as I am aware.  However, if I hear two people talking in a pub and they are discussing who will win the match between Elbion City and Norchester Rovers on Sunday morning with a kick off at 11.15 a.m., I am not allowed to repeat what I have heard, even though there is more truth to that than there might be in the players transfer rumour.

Where such information is already in the public domain … and I would consider Tottenham Hotspur’s next fixture to be so as it is advertised on a bloody great hoarding outside the ground each day of the season … I am at a bit of a loss to see how that can only be used if you are a licence holder for such intellectual property.  Maybe the law is an ass and the whole world is being turned upside down, but it is just another example of the FA Premier League trying to squeeze the last brass farthing out of those who fund the game by turning up to pay through the nose and through the turnstile.   

Why else shoot the very people who are giving them free advertising unless it was to eek some more cash out of us ?

The whole commercial side of the game has gone to the heads of the marketing men who sit in well padded leather reclining office chairs and also have ideas well above their station now they have moved on from promoting British Rail.  What will be their next money-making scheme as they thumb through the holiday brochures planning the important moves during the available windows in their diarised lives ?

I know, you are all thinking “bitter and twisted.”  True, as I don’t see why some commercial manager should dictate what sources fans get their information from, but it is not just me they are closing in on.

The Guardian reported on November 1st, that no football can be broadcast between the hours of 2.45 p.m. and 5.15 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon – and I hope I don’t need a licence to relay to you what was in that particular newspaper.  This is designed to stop pub landlords showing live League football from a ground five minutes walk from the pub you are in, but having it beamed there from South Africa, Scandinavia or the Middle East.  The Premier League say that they have done studies to show that people are gathering in public houses across the country in large numbers to watch such football matches being screened.

Has it not occurred to the people who are clamping down on this practice that it provides a useful service to some members of the football supporting populace ?  Do they ever consider those who live too far away; those who might not be able to get a ticket because of the limited availability of them … especially for away games; those who might not be able to afford it ??  The empty seats around the ground at White Hart Lane are not caused by fans settling down in the Snug at their local hostelry to cast an eye over the action at the Lane.  No.  It’s because people are fed up being ripped off and bled dry by those who think that we should be supplying an unlimited source of funds to let them play board members with it.

So many fans have ditched their season tickets this season that it is no surprise to me that the blue plastic shines out under the White Hart Lane floodlights.  What is the need for a new stadium, when the prices will be the over-riding consideration in those who are supposed to flock to fill the seats rather than the quality on show.  It is not now just the younger elements in the crowd who are becoming more discerning in what they spend their time doing.  It may not be the Playstation or computers that keep the older generations away, but they will no doubt find that for the cost of a season ticket, they can have a nice holiday somewhere warm in the world instead of sitting in a recycled plastic bucket freezing their bits off watching Tottenham struggle to overcome a side that we would have seen of with panache in the past.

Hey !!  Then they won’t even need to see a fixture list !! Problem solved !!

However depressed we were by this "requirement" not to mess with their "intellectual property",
you - our visitors - have expressed your support and for that we thank you.
Here are some of the messages we received ...


I have been thinking about the ridiculous FA directive regarding fixture lists, match previews etc, there must be ways around this, which would not only allow you to supply the information to the readers, plus maybe make a mockery of the FA at the same time.

some suggestions:

1. deliberately mis-spell team names.  
Surely you cannot be prevented from listing "Tottneham Htopsur vs Mnachesetr Untied".
if there were a problem with this, you could maybe set up a separate page with a proposed "fantasy football" site, including these names.

2. use nicknames.
Toffemen vs Pensioners. Everyone knows what it means, but they are unofficial terms. You already use Manure, and SCBC, for example.

3. use a link to another site.
contact commercial sites, and arrange to link to their fixture list.  in return, obviously they will get a lot more traffic through this

4. coding.
assign each club with a code (in alphabetical order?)
eg.  01: arsenal ; 02: aston villa ; etc...
then list 01 vs 02 or whatever.

5. use manager's surnames
the tabloids bill games like this sometimes, thus, Bolton vs Liverpool would be Allardyce vs Houllier.

I hope one of these would be workable.  Something must be done to stand up to the idiots at the FA.  If their stunts can be thwarted, it will make them look stupid, and we will all be winners.

Keep up the good work, your site is fantastic.
Hopefully you can work around this idiocy.


Iain Bagnall,
Season ticket holder, Paxton Road end


As a regular reader of your fine site, may i respectfully suggest that you publish an E-mail address or Fax number of these bullies in order for your readers to lodge their disgust at the FA and the t***ers contained therein.

You may publish this note.

Kindest regards and yours in sport,
Paul Marshall


Just a quick note to say what an excellent site you run and I am sorry those f****** at the Premier League are trying to charge you for publishing the fixtures. These people should be careful about biting the hand that feeds.  We all know that the world of football is fast changing before our very eyes and carrying a lot of disillusionment on the terraces about costs of both attending matches and the slow ratcheting up of associated costs – including sky. 

I know I will be a Spurs supporter till I die but they and the premier league are fast making me become a papers and Match of the Day supporter.

Valentine Morby


Just had to write in and lend my support to you for the fantastic effort you put into this site, typical - not happy with taking our game away from the us they now have to take the piss out of the very thing that binds the game together - don't they get it?

Anyways, keep it up - your doing a sterling job which is more than can be said for spurs at the moment!

Kind regards
Alan O'Brien


As a fan of your excellent site, I am disgusted to hear of the heavy handed treatment regarding fixtures & previews meted out to you by the Premier League morons.

I cannot believe that you are prevented from previewing matches & suggest you check with a friendly lawyer (there must be a few among the WHL faithful). Fixtures are now public knowledge & I can't see how they can stop you quoting them. Also, your previews are merely your different from expressing your views about upcoming films, TV programmes etc.

Do you know how we can express our disgust directly?

(Dr) Brian Morgan, Dorking, Surrey; Spurs fan for over 50 years & season ticket holder.


Dear Wyart et al

Just read your notes from today's news and I am appalled that th eFA have seen fit to act in this way; have they written to all the other sites too?? Surely there will be collective outrage.

I am will be faxing them today to complain.

Best wishes
Martin, Sydney Spurs


I'm not sure that reporting on anything is a crime. Could you imagine the furore if Labour or the Tories started demanding that only people they gave permission to could report on them? I think that the FA are likely to be acting in a manner completely incompatible with the freedom of information act etc etc. also civil liberties, freedom of the press and god knows how many other tenets millions have died for.

I suggest you seek good legal advice, I cannot believe that that crap can be allowed to stand,
all the best mate,
Mike Heeneman.

Back to homepage