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Month: January 2009

Another Three Years Of “Match Of The Day”

The news that the BBC has secured a further three years of Premier League highlights makes for a potentially intriguing situation. In August 2014, a year after their next contract ends, the BBC’s flagship (and, it’s probably fair to say now, only) football show will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, but the new contract will expire in May 2013. Will “Match Of The Day” live to see its golden jubilee? The BBC makes much of the programme’s heritage. Whilst other long running BBC shows such as “Grandstand” and “Top Of The Pops” have been axed in the name of modernisation, the BBC has stuck by the “Match Of The Day” name – a name that harks back to a forgotten era of grainy black and white footage, terraces and rattles. The game has moved on a long way since those days, and “Match Of The Day” has moved on with it. As with the modernisation of the game, it’s an open question whether all of these changes have been for the best. Certainly, the programme is unrecognisable from the “Match Of The Day” of the 1970s and 1980s. In an age in which every single match seems to be recorded for posterity, it’s worth remembering that, for many years, the Football League’s fear of television cameras meant that not even every match was recorded. Under the television rights package...

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Why England’s World Cup Is Far From Being In The Bag

When the English do something badly – and, let’s face it, this is not an uncommon appearance – it can be toe-curling. How many of you remember the bidding for the 2006 World Cup? The excrutiating sight of Manchester United being withdrawn from the World Cup to travel to Brazil for the World Club Cup and then finishing from their group. The FA reneging on their agreement to stand aside in bidding for the tournament in exchange for German support for Euro 96. The arrogance of it all was jaw-dropping, and the biggest surprise of all was that they got as far with as they did. We have, however, been led to believe that 2018 is our destiny. This is the fault of the Olympic Games. Five years ago no-one in England would have thought it possible that this country would be chosen for anything, but the amazingly successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games gave just enough people just enough “can do” attitude to think that it might be possible. Over the last couple of years, FIFA have sent out unsurprisingly conflicting messages about England’s suitability to host such a tournament, but the truth of the matter is that the decision has yet to be made. However, far from being the cake walk that some may have expected, nine other countries are likely to be tabling bids against...

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O Hell – Crisis At Leyton Orient?

It was only last week that we discussed Leyton Orient’s possible mooting of a move from their home at Brisbane Road to Harlow in Essex. It seemed likely at the time that this was an idea that was being, for the want of a better phrase, being run up the flagpole to see if it flew. This week, however, Orient shareholders received a letter which is worrying in the extreme. The main body of the letter is here. As you can see, it proposes the sale of the club’s Brisbane Road stadium to a company called Matchroom Sport. The details of the deal are pretty straightforward. Matchroom will purchase the stadium for £6m. For five years, Orient will stay there free of rent for five years. Then, the rent will increase to £180,000 per year for five years. Five years further on, the amount payable may be further reviewed, and then again five years after that. This, however, isn’t the only significant detail in the letter. In addition to this, Leyton Orient Football Club won’t actually receive the full £6m from the sale of the stadium. Over the years, Matchroom have lent Leyton Orient money, so £3.4m of the £6m paid for the stadium will not be paid to the club at all. It will, effectively, be kept by Matchroom in settlement of debts for loans already made to...

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Match Of The Midweek – Everton 1-1 Arsenal

Is there a more quintessentially English fixture in the football calendar than Everton against Arsenal on a Wednesday night at the end of January at Goodison Park? These are the two longest-serving members of the Premier League – Everton have been ever-presents in the top division for more than fifty years, and Arsenal have been there since Henry Norris and his dodgy dealings in 1919. These two clubs are at differing stages in their attempts to sever their links with their past. Arsenal left Highbury for the palatial glamour of The Emirates Stadium in 2006, but they haven’t yet festooned their new home with any silverware. Indeed, some would say that there is a distinct correlation between the move and the decline in their fortunes. These massive football stadia don’t build themselves, and Arsenal haven’t been able to spend the money that they would have wanted to on players over the last few seasons. They have slipped from being perennial title challengers to fighting for their lives for the fourth Champions League spot. This is a journey that Everton may be about to embark upon. The similarity to the situation that Arsenal found so intolerable is striking. Goodison Park is one of the few remaining traditional big English football grounds. It holds a shade over 40,000 at the moment, a capacity that the club seldom seems to fill, but...

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Football & The Internet: The Premier League Flexs Its Muscle

An official announcement this evening on the MyP2P site confirmed what has seemed more and more likely for the last few weeks or so. The Premier League is cracking down on the illegal streaming of its matches. The site confirms that will “once a judgement has been given, we will notify you of the outcome”, which would seem to indicate that proceedings have already been brought against them. We will await the outcome of it with interest. The biggest problem with the Premier League’s action against these organisations (apart from the somewhat obvious accusations of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut) is that is doesn’t actually affect the offenders. One suspects that the Premier League doesn’t fully understand peer to peer technology or, moreover, that it doesn’t really care that much about the technicalities of what it is dealing with. Ultimately, people are watching their “product” and they’re not paying for it, and that’s what it all boils down to. The biggest single problems with football by broadband are of delivery, access and quality. Broadband technology in this country still lags behind many in the world, and delivering streaming, high quality pictures is going to be a problem for any service providers. There is always going to be a reasonable chance that the stream will drop or that the picture will be of a poor quality. Because of...

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