When SPL chief Lex Gold hailed the last-minute
TV deal, he said that radio and internet rights would be sorted
out soon. Well, the new season is now under way and nothing
has happened. Ten days ago the BBC was proudly claiming that EVERY
SPL match could be heard live via the net. Today, they are asking
listeners to tune in to Sportsound on a Saturday where
all they will receive are regular updates, half-time and full-time
This is just not good enough. Once again, the Old Firm
are holding everybody back from a deal. As a result supporters
around the globe are denied the live coverage they have enjoyed
for the past two seasons. What was all that nonsense being spouted
about moving into the future?
Meanwhile, the Setanta TV coverage is as as clear as mud.
The Irish satellite sports channel is still advertising GAA programmes
for the coming weekend with no mention of the Hearts v Hibs
match it is supposed to be covering. I asked Setanta what was
happening. Here's their reply in full:
"All detail is yet to be confirmed"
That was received 75 hours before Sunday's game!
The bad news is that once Setanta do get their act together, then
watching Scottish football could prove to be an expensive business.
They charged almost £8 for the Rangers-Leeds
friendly, PLUS a £1-50 booking fee!
As the cost of the sports element of Sky is between £10-£18
per month depending on the package, this is NOT a good
move by the SPL and Setanta. Apart from Old Firm diehards who
will be able to see their teams in action almost every week, this
sort of pricing means that fans will only take out pay-per-view
when their own team is in action against one of the big two.
And it's not simply a case of replacing Sky with Setanta. If you
want to watch Scotland full and under-21 games or live
Scottish Cup action, then you'll have to subscribe
Certainly if Setanta intend to charge £8 per game for the
44 matches they're scheduled to show, then there are going to
be precious few takers. That equates to £352 (before
booking fees) for those matches only whereas Sky's Sportsworld
package costs £360 per annum for ALL their
sports channels PLUS the family package too.
No wonder they say the detail is yet to be confirmed!
Scotland games will be shown live on Sky
Let's get this straight. Hibs have taken in a massive
amount of cash in the past few months. Compensation for Alex
McLeish plus the transfers of Ulises De La Cruz and
Ulrik Laursen must come to around £4M. So
why haven't they settled with Franck Sauzee yet? Pay the
man what he's due and be done with it.
Another dotcom bites the dust. Scottishfootball.com
closed down the day before the start of the season. Sad that the
parent company - scotlandonline.com - has pulled the plug while
keeping their dedicated golf site open.
It had its critics and wasn't the quickest in the world at providing
news and scores but it was a site dedicated to the game and was
independent not just of the Old Firm but of traditional media
too. Bill Ferret provided incisive comment and Heinz
Ravioli raised the odd laugh. It's sad to see it go but here
at scottishleague.net we'll continue to fight Scottish football's
corner as an independent website.
The PFA's Gordon Taylor wants the SPL to
merge with the Nationwide League. Is it just me who can't remember
him making the same offer when the English clubs thought they
were oozing ITV cash out of every pore?
The Henrik Larsson air freshener is getting
less fresh by the week. But after a drop in price to £3
and with the offer of free postage, one brave soul has finally
put in a bid on eBay. That's only another 23 to get rid
As one dotcom goes, another arrives. Scottishfootball.net
is a new website, based in Inverness, which is behind a new Scottish
football magazine. We wish them well but the history of football
magazines aimed solely at Scotland is littered with the corpses
of the well-intentioned, going back to the legendary 'Football
Scot' in the 1970s. The most recent was Scottish Football
Today which folded while its Rugby stablemate is still available.
The best was 'The Punter.' Those with long memories may
think I'm a bit biased here as I covered the North-East of England
for the magazine. Even the fanzines have suffered as The Absolute
Game has appeared only intermittently in recent years.
It may seem strange that in a country with such a strong football
culture as Scotland that dedicated magazines fail to flourish.
This is mainly down to two counts. Firstly, other countries don't
provide football with the same amount of publicity in the daily
press, radio and TV. Secondly, while supporters of the Old Firm
happily lap up the official line in the Rangers News and
the Celtic View, they aren't happy to buy anything which
challenges their assumptions and makes them think for a change.
New boys make their debut
All the recent upheavals have prevented us from
outlining our predictions for the season so far but we hope this
will feature next week. That is, if you don't think its cheating
to issue predictions after two games have already been played.
In the meantime we'd just like to welcome Airdrie back
into the fold (it wasn't their fans or players who were responsible
for the death of Clydebank) and also extend a welcome to Gretna.
Old ground. Old colours. New name