Date: 14th September 2007 at 2:24pm
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United will play Everton at noon – possibly the worst possible time.

The clash at Goodison Park tomorrow is bad for the fans and bad for the TV, too – a rare combination I daresay, usually the TV gets the benefit of the fans’ sacrifice.

Now it’s not the case and the noon kick-off time raised a few eyebrows. Fortunately, in terms of travelling United fans are still better off than Liverpool’s who must travel to Portsmouth for a 12.45 kick-off…

But the atmosphere is never quite the same at these games (one might say it benefits the away team so I should not complain but I don’t like soulless matches) and at noon, it’s not even on TV so it must be explained.

Well, most of you are probably aware of this (away tickets have arrived with a warning from the Merseyside police) but it is because of the mass brawl that erupted on February 9, 2005. That FA Cup game – its kick-off was at 17.30 – was won by United (2-0) and it was the first time Rooney returned to Goodison after his controversial move.

Last season’s equivalent fixture went without trouble but the police are concerned that the 2005 events might be repeated and they want to avoid that at all costs.