Potter laments Brighton's late Boxing Day kick-off as fans face attendance issues
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Graham Potter, Manager of Brighton & Hove Albion looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium on December 01, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Graham Potter has expressed his concern over Brighton & Hove Albion's Boxing Day fixture against Brentford, with issues raised by supporters over the late kick-off time. 

With the Premier League match scheduled as the designated late kick off, factors such as covid-19 restrictions, travel - specifically, public transport - concerns, and the tedious task of navigating to the AMEX Stadium one day after Christmas leaves a heightened chance of a somewhat barren stadium come kick-off. 

Brighton's fortunes have waned in the division after an excellent start to the 21/22 season, after winning  four of their first five games the Seagulls have endured a run of 11 contests without victory. 

Granted, merely three of these matches have ended in defeat, with the remaining eight ending level. 

Brighton remain comfortably in mid-table despite the lacklustre period, but with performances and results evading the squad's efforts the prospect of Albion supporters making the trip in bulk appear slim. 

Potter shows class in detailing thoughts on the festive football period 

Welcoming Brentford on Sunday night is the first of three games in just eight days, with Albion travelling to Chelsea on Wednesday before making the trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton on Sunday.

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Of course, covid-19 implications may yet throw a spanner in the works, with multiple fixtures being cancelled as the number of cases continue to rise across the country.

Potter offered his thoughts on the scheduling of the match, as well as showing his gratitude towards the efforts of the club in easing travel implications for attendees. 

"I'm not sure it is the best time, if I am polite."

"It is a lot for them in terms of the challenges they will have in getting to the ground. I understand the club has done a really good job in terms of help in trying to help get them there, travel plans.

"But clearly it is not the best. As a supporter you want to be there at 3pm or midday. Get a bit of air, have a day at the football but it is not to be.

"But I'm sure that the guys that are there are the ones that will support us, they always do. They will get behind the team but it's not a great time and I feel for them in terms of the time of the kick-off."

Fixture congestion is indeed a testing issue that managers and players are beset with come the Christmas period each year, and Potter highlighted the concern that arises with matches so close together. 

Prominent figures have made comment in recent weeks over the lack of emphasis on player welfare, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson demanding reforms to in order to protect players. 

Potter resonated with these claims, saying, "Traditionally, since I’ve played, we’ve played on the 26th and the 28th, I don’t think we’re playing anymore games than that this year, but what we’ve got this year is a pandemic which means the squads and players are even more under pressure, already you’ve got an issue and then it’s compounded by a virus that is spreading through the population quite quickly.

"Then you’ve got the issues of isolation and trying to be fit. There is more and more pressure on the players, so in an ideal world we probably haven’t got the balance right, but we’re not in an ideal world."

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