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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Chris Beesley

Everton irritated for being highlighted over Premier League clubs 'setting a very bad example'

Everton have been left annoyed that the BBC chose to use them in the introduction of a video about Premier League clubs “setting a very bad example” by using short-haul domestic flights given there was no adequate rail alternative for the fixture in question.

An article on the BBC Sport’s website states that their research has found evidence of 81 individual short-haul domestic flights made by Premier League teams to and from 100 matches during a two-month sample period this year and quotes Dale Vince, chairman of League One Forest Green Rovers as saying: "You've got Premier League teams setting a very bad example for the rest of the country."

In the accompanying video which has been shared on social media, BBC News’ Sports Editor Dan Roan is filmed at John Lennon Airport watching Everton’s team board their flight for their Premier League fixture at Chelsea last Saturday while the footage begins by showing Sean Dyche and his players, including Ellis Simms whose late goal earned them a 2-2 draw, making their way into the stadium with the commentary: “Everton arriving by coach for their match against Chelsea at the weekend but this was just the final step of their journey to Stamford Bridge having flown to London for the fixture 24 hours earlier.”

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On January 7 this year, Nottingham Forest flew to an FA Cup tie at Blackpool, just a 123-mile road journey away and the ECHO understands Everton are irritated that the BBC chose to highlight them in this package as they could not have got back from London that day by train for what was a 5:30pm kick-off.

Everton have to reserve a full first class carriage for first team matches and it was impossible on this date with Avanti West Coast only making tickets and confirmed timetables available three days in advance rather than the long-standing 12-week period.

Everton usually travel by rail to their fixtures in London unless it’s a more extensive trip across the capital to the likes of West Ham United and it is not believed that their use of domestic flights is any greater than the other three Premier League clubs in the North West region.

Although the video shows that Bournemouth made the shorter trip to Aston Villa by air when playing on the same day, it is also understood that Everton were picked out because they were the only Premier League team travelling any significant distance last Saturday when the BBC had a crew available to film as Fulham would have been at Liverpool, Manchester United would have played at Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham were due to be away at Manchester City – games in which all three away sides might have flown – but these fixtures were postponed due to FA Cup quarter-finals.


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