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.