Sport on the Sofa: Andy Murray, Amazon and Usain Bolt to yellow ties, Scotland games and football on the red carpet

The nights are fair drawing in these days, as your granny might say, and she has a point because football’s governing bodies have decided summer ends this week.

Usain Bolt of Soccer Aid World XI celebrates as he scores his team's first goal during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019 match between England and the Soccer Aid World XI at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In transfer trading terms at least.

Maybe they’re right. My Monday-night seven-a-side football has finished under the floodlights the past few weeks – and there will be much more sport under a cover of darkness as winter approaches.

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But the Scottish Football Association and their English counterparts have decreed that the summer transfer window is over come Tuesday night, and have those of us who stay up until it metaphorically slams shut, have been granted an extra hour in bed. It used to last until midnight but, one of the busiest nights of the football calendar as clubs aim to get their squads finalised, will see many eyeballs glued to media outlets for news, rumour and interviews conducted through car windows until 11pm.

Andy Murray of Great Britain returns the ball during a practice session prior to the start of the 2021 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Sky are market-leaders, having developed the yellow tie gimmick to match their on-screen news ticker and though it’ll be Jim White-less again, it’s still required viewing for football fans seeking new strikers or fantasy football team updates.

There’s further late night and overnight action this week too. The nights really are drawing in.

Hopefully you’ve still got those Saltires from the summer because the same sources give us cause to wave them at the TV again this week.

Steve Clarke’s side take on Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday night and are then playing in the south Glasgow sunset on Saturday with Moldova under the lights at Hampden. Both are on Sky Sports and both are important if we’re to reach a second consecutive major tournament.

Steve Clarke, Manager of Scotland looks on prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Scotland and Faroe Islands at Hampden Park on March 31, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Speaking of majors, Andy Murray’s in action again too. By the time you read this his US Open campaign will have begun. Hopefully, it’s not over but games will go on through the night and Wimbledon favourite Emma Raducanu headlines Tuesday at Flushing Meadow.

Amazon Prime have the rights to the competition and can screen games on-demand via their app on digital TV and online, for a monthly fee of £7.99.

Yes, another subscription, but there’s still sport on terrestrial TV too.

Saturday is shaping up to be a cracker. The second semi-final in shinty’s Camanachd cup is on BBC Alba at 4pm, while the Paralympics climax with a succession of returning champions in action – notably Libby Clegg – before Channel Four’s exhaustive coverage from Tokyo draws to a close on Sunday morning.

Usain Bolt of Soccer Aid World XI in action during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019 match between England and the Soccer Aid World XI at Stamford Bridge on June 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

And if all that’s a little too competitive then there’s always a bit of fun on Saturday night, raising money for UNICEF, in Soccer Aid the charity football match where people better known for other things, and often better suited to them, play some football (sounds like the Monday night seven-a-sides I mentioned earlier).

Sometimes you’re caught off guard. We’re not talking blind-sided like Boris Johnston’s rugby tackle on Germany’s Maurizio Gaudino – that was a different charity football event – but previous years have seen pleasant surprises and singer Olly Murs and sprinter Usain Bolt reveal reasonable football talents to complement plenty of the red carpet celeb-spotting that goes on along the sidelines.

Jamie Redknapp and Wayne Rooney will also don their boots again for a good cause and it all kicks off on STV at 6.30pm this Saturday.

David Oliver’s five to watch this week

US Open

Loads of tennis to watch this week, and it will be fascinating to see if Novak Djokovic completes a calendar slam. All the action this week is on Amazon Prime – the online TV subscription service offering on-demand matches from New York state. Monthly sign-up is £7.99.

Transfer window

The bi-annual clock-watch for football's administrators will see all eyes trained on Sky Sports News (Sky 409, Virgin 422) for updates of managers hanging out of car windows, players turning up for medicals and paperwork filing. The action comes to a climax at 11pm on Tuesday.

World Cup qualifiers

Scotland are in Copenhagen to face Denmark at 7.45pm on Wednesday with coverage beginning on Sky Sports Football at 7pm (Sky 403, Virgin 503). It’s back to Hampden on Saturday night too with Moldova the opposition on the same channel at the same time.


Coverage from Tokyo continues on Channel 4 with additional round-ups and a nightly Last Leg special to complement live action until Sunday’s closing ceremony at 11.30am (Sky 104, Virgin 104). Look out for ‘Super Saturday’ featuring various reigning champions from Team GB – including Scotland’s Libby Clegg.

Soccer Aid

Dermot O’Leary, Maya Jama and Alex Scott present the 10th star-studded fundraiser for UNICEF on STV (Sky 103, Virgin 103) from 6.30pm this Saturday, live from the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Olly Murs, Usain Bolt, Wayne Rooney and Fara Williams are among the team line-ups.


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