Soapbox: tedium galore on Brands Manchester, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool

Want to hear about ALL that’s going on in football? Then don’t bother with 5Live, TalkSport, Sky and much of the national press, says Pete Sixsmith. Oh, and the headline writer inexplicably overlooked Arsenal, which at least spares us 100 indignant comments from hypersensitive Gooners …

One of my Philosophy Football T-shirts says “Bored By The Big Four”.

Add Manchester City to that and you have my feelings towards the Premier League a month before a ball has been kicked.

Billy The Fish has smartly tabled the number of times certain clubs appear on TV and, surprise, surprise, it features the clubs that Sky and ESPN consider to have the biggest drawing power. At the top, we have Liverpool and Tottenham with seven appearances each. Seven!! How’s that for fair shares and neither of them are in the Champions League? In fact, Liverpool aren’t even in Europe (except geographically, Mr Geog Teacher!- ed) .

It clearly reflects the BSkyB view that there are those whose faces fit and there are those whose don’t. And it’s not just them. I spent yesterday evening listening to The Monday Club on 5Live. It’s a good show, hosted by Mark Chapman, who is one of the best presenters in the 5Live canon.

He had Ian McGarry (formerly of the News of the World), Steve Claridge and Craig Burley with him and they had a wide ranging conversation about … Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. And that was it. An interview with Stoke City’s chairman, Peter Coates, hadn’t materialised before I tuned out at 8.50 in preparation for New Tricks.

McGarry spoke about his contacts (presumably not hacked into) and how they had told him that so and so would be at Stamford Bridge and what’s is name would be at the Etihad Stadium and how Arsène had told him this and Harry had said that, and that Jordan Henderson was overpriced. The usual stuff that you get from a journalist who is blissfully unaware that there is life outside the top group.

No mention of the difficulties that the three promoted clubs are having in attracting decent players. No mention of how we have spent the Henderson money on revamping the side or how Newcastle are eschewing British players and trawling the French market. I fully expect to see Joey Barton sold soon and replaced by either Jacques Tati, Charles de Gaulle or Johnny Hallyday (David Bellion maybe? – ed).

No mention of how a depleted Villa may cope without Young and, possibly, Downing but plenty on how Liverpool or Arsenal might utilise the latter. They did speak to Steve McClaren about him and he said that he came back from his loan at Sunderland a far, far better player than when he left. Thanks Steve, always had you down as a decent bloke.

Basically, the whole programme was about the group of seven who dominate the media to an increasingly absurd extent. 5Live may argue that that is what people want to hear about, but if they ignore 60 per cent of the Premier League, then what chance do other clubs have of being regarded as anything other than makeweights?

The print media are no better. This morning’s Guardian has the transcript of Arsène Wenger’s latest mutterings in Kuala Lumpar, which is of great interest to those who follow Everton, Stoke, Sunderland etc and probably of limited interest to Arsenal fans, a piece on Michael Essien’s latest injury (would they have done the same had it been Steed Malbranque? Thought not) and fragments of other news from the PL plus the regular updates on Peter Ridsdale and the situation at Plymouth (not good, I fear).

The more access we have to news, the less interesting it appears to be. 5Live annoys me at times and I can’t bear to listen to TalkSport and it’s Londoncentric presenters. I was delighted when Sky Sports News moved off FreeView and I was no longer able to watch men talking about things which might or might not happen. Chat, chat, chat, talk, talk, talk. That’s all we seem to do – and it all seems to be about the same old clubs.

I can see the T-shirt being worn quite a bit over the summer.

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10 thoughts on “Soapbox: tedium galore on Brands Manchester, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool”

  1. And yet if SAFC were featured more often you would doubtless complain the kick off times were changed too often. You like to have a good old moan.

  2. Spurs fanbase a million worldwide? Where is that documented? Whatever it is, I seriously doubt that it’s any bigger than Sunderland’s. Christ, it was reported that one million people turned out on the route from Carrville to Roker Park to see Sunderland bring the cup home. And that was in 1973. Cue who’s the bigger club debate.

  3. Sunderland where featured a lot when they walloped Chelsea. Spurs are in the media for the wrong reasons and Chelski with stolen oil money and SHEIKSY with British explored oil money from a dictated Kingdom. So you should know what its like to have your players poached by Amercans Russians and Arabs Utd we stand Sky we divide.

  4. Pretty sure I counted Liverpool’s combined Sky & ESPN appearances at 9 in the fixtures that were released? Maybe I mis-counted though?

    And the press can be stuck between a rock and a hard place at times, although generally through their own fault. We have to complain as we hear the same “Tevez had some toast for breakfast today, last time he has toast he left his team” being shovelled down our throats so we want other teams. Then when we are involved it’s them telling us how a previously average player was suddenly “Defensive midfield wonderkid Jordan Henderson has moved to Liverpool”. Defensive midfield, of course, because that’s where Capello played him against France for no logical reason unless it was for fans to come to the conclusion he’s rubbish because, shock horror, a right midfielder can’t play defensive midfield very well.

    I’m not annoyed Sunderland don’t really get mentioned, I like us being rather unassuming. Whether we were the seventh best team in the country or the seventy-seventh most knuckle-dragging fans would still think we were absolutely rubbish.

    I am, however, quite annoyed with the blatant lack of knowledge and professionalism from anyone who writes or speaks about football. Ignoring a few: James Richardson, Jonathan Wilson, etc. – I’m talking about you guys. Who try and push the boundaries a bit.

  5. I know where your coming from I’m a spurs fan and was saying the same thing a few years back.but if your team (Sunderland were in the top 5 they would be impossible to ignore and you wouldn’t be moaning about it.

  6. Fair comment, Paul. I have no problem with the clubs, just the TV companies who don’t seem to realise that there is a lot more to the PL than the group I am chuntering on about. Maybe it’s my parochialism; I follow a club, steeped in history, with as loyal a fan base as you will find, yet we are given a single slot on the schedules. It ain’t fair play,but there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.
    If, by any chance, we are a real surprise packet, watch the TV vultures drop on us in the New Year and begin to switch our games all over the weekend. Then there will be a similar piece from me chuntering on about how we have been selected too many times.

  7. I’m a Spurs fan and I have to totally agree with you. The bias shown to the top 6 teams is embarrassing. Their live feeds from outside the training ground with nothing to report other than a man walking his dog are ridiculous. Their comments of “SkySports News understands…” are pathetic and flimsy at best.

  8. Leaving aside the sarcastic comments about how I can see your bottom lip quivering from here, I don;t think you should be surprised about the amount of news about the ‘big 4’ (or chould that be big 6 now ?) there is.

    As stated by Paul at 1.33pm, Spurs have a fairly big fanbase, and I expect Man City will get a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon now they are minted.

    As for the usual suspects, they all have a huge fanbase – with worldwide appeal, and that is all the media outlets are geared up to do – cater for the majority

  9. Hi from a Spurs fan, i actually agree with you.The press love chelski,man utd and now man city .I think that some reporters may be on the payroll of some football clubs as they do the tapping up for them in the press.Youhave been busier than most clubs but hardly get a mention.The talksport presenter (adrian durham) especialy gets on my nerves,incites fans Especially Spurs fans and we don’t bother listening any more.Notice how they brown nose chelski? doing their best to get modric to move.

  10. Spurs have a fan base of over a million and it stretches across the world so its not a surprise they get featured a lot yet again.

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