ONE of life's less gripping mysteries is the strange case of Channel 4 and its peculiar evolution.
LET'S suspend reality and indulge in a bout of shameless make believe. Imagine a situation in which Scottish football boasts such a lofty global reputation that our coaches and players are lauded from Caracas to Copenhagen, and in which possession of a Scottish identity wins instant respect from the football community.
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YESTERDAY'S qualifier at Hampden rightly grabbed most of the weekend's column inches, but the corresponding Under-21 fixture at Firhill 24 hours earlier was not without interest of its own.
TWO events of contrasting significance, one looking to the future, the other commemorating the past, made the past week thoroughly compelling for armchair football fans.
ONE of the most dispiriting developments of the past year or so has been BBC Radio Five Live’s transition from cutting edge broadcaster to downmarket talking shop. Presumably alarmed by Talksport’s increasing share of the listening pie, Five Live has opted to ape its commercial rival’s tabloid approach, rather than persevere with its own hitherto winning blend of sophisticated and stimulating programming. The result is not pretty, but hardly surprising.
MOMENTS after Sporting Lisbon dumped Newcastle out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday night, Five’s broadcast suffered one of those minor gaffes that afflicts live television every now and then.
CHARITY has a lot to answer for. Or rather, television entertainment in the name of charitable causes has, because the annals of broadcasting are littered with efforts as woeful as they were well-intentioned.
AN IMPORTANT week for those concerned about the state of British broadcasting culminated in the publication of the government’s green paper on the future of the BBC, a document that contained few surprises, but was welcome nonetheless.
THERE is a group of lucky and opportunistic football coaches who always seem to find employment at this or that club, regardless of how unconvincingly they have performed during previous managerial tenures. Their trick, and it is a shrewd one, is to remain in the public eye when they are between coaching jobs by moonlighting as television or radio pundits.
GARY LINEKER clucked: "Whether you prefer your balls round or egg shaped, there’s something for everyone on BBC," as anchor for Match of the Day Live (BBC1, Wednesday).
JUST when you thought that all those corpulent, perspiring oche merchants would be off-screen for 12 months until the next World Darts Championships, up popped Sky with a daring new idea for even more coverage.
CALL it a happy accident, or a strategic attempt to rehabilitate a soiled reputation, but Ron Atkinson’s first interview on UK Television since his dismissal from ITV was nicely timed to coincide with the Seasonal sentiments of forgive and forget. You know, goodwill to all men, even blundering old fools, and all that.
AT LEAST one viewer almost fell off his armchair on Monday night when Berti Vogts popped up on Lord of the Wing (BBC1).
WE know that suspensions usually have a negative impact on a team’s performance, a change of personnel upsetting the balance and continuity of an otherwise successful side. The last thing a coach needs is one of his star performers sidelined for such an important occasion as the Champions League semi-final tie, particularly if a global audience are tuning in and examining the absentee’s replacement, not to mention casting a critical eye over the team’s enforced tactical changes.
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