A protest is planned outside the Aston Villa ground today but it won’t be their fans protesting about their precarious position in the table. It is Aston Parish Church that is protesting against the timing of the match. The 1.30 pm kickoff means that members of churches in Aston will have to battle through crowds of supporters to celebrate the most important date in the Christian calendar.
The protest will be ‘generous’, giving out hot cross buns and Easter eggs, because the church realises that the timing is not the fault of the club or the fans. Many of the people attending the game would prefer it not to be at lunch time on Easter Sunday. The church said that it seems that the only people who want games at that time are the TV companies but “despite Sky’s best efforts, Easter in Aston will not be cancelled!”
Across at St Andrews there’s a happier story about a church and a football club; a church will be holding their Easter Sunday service there. Connect Church, formerly Kings Christian Centre, has been looking for a new place to hold services for some time. They originally planned to build on land close to St Andrews and have been raising money by using that land for match day parking. However they have now decided to use facilities at the Birmingham City ground instead. The report of this in the Birmingham Mail notes that “Other venues may have to be found if a Sunday service clashes with a Blues home match.” Sadly, when it comes to a choice between serving the local community or a TV company, it is no contest. Football is all about money these days and the demands of rich TV companies take precedence over the interests of supporters or local communities.