BT Sport is the most annoying thing so far this season
Hunter Davies' "The Fan" column
“You. You are. You are football. You. Thank you.”
(William McGoogle, official provider of bollocks for Barclays Premier League hoardings)
These pointless perimeter advertisements that Barclays now insists on flashing at all Premiership grounds are so irritating. I do wish football pitches would stick to sensible, simple advertising slogans such as the one at Swansea: “Are your leaves blocking your gutters? Gutterblock.” Although it could be a code whose meaning I am missing.
But the most annoying thing so far this season is BT Sport. We are still in the Lake District, so I tried to order it just for one month. It took for ever, cost a fortune, and then they cut it off. Said I had to start again, cancel the first payment, start a new one. Gawd, I was screaming! Their coverage is shite. They have only the rubbish games. And few of them.
Thank goodness for Sky. They do try so hard. Having at last given up their mantra of the past 20 years – “Best League in the World, Best Players in the World, Best Clubs in Europe blah blah” – which has been so patently untrue for two seasons, they have a new one.
A ball went out of play, both sides claimed it was their throw-in, the linesman gave it one way and the cameras proved it was the correct decision. “We do have the best assistants in the world,” purred the Sky commentator.
“You want football. We got football. Loads of footballers.”
(Carlos Kickaball Jr, official supplier of expensive players you’ve never heard of, all much the same, for Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Lots of new things to welcome, including new managers. Yes, I know, José Mourinho is an old manager, but he has returned, in old clothing – charity-shop pullies, by the look of it. Get a grip, José.
Manuel Pellegrini at Man City has already made his mark with that gorgeous hair, so thick, so lush, so very Seventies.
Jamie Carragher is a welcome recruit to the studio. Glad he turned down the offer of elocution lessons. That Scouse accent is so thick you could roll it out and carpet the hallway.
New away strip for Aston Villa, sort of old-fashioned quarters, like what Blackburn Rovers used to wear.
Spurs’ new shirt, nice neck, very Chariots of Fire – but yet another shirt sponsor with incomprehensible letters. What does AIA stand for? Were those the only letters of the alphabet they had left lying around from last season’s sponsor?
“You Pay. You Are Fans. You Pay Most, You Arsenal Fans. Thank You.”
(Carlos Kickaball Sr, official provider of free transfers to Arsenal FC)
Well, it paid off against Spurs, not spending money on new players. All of whom seem to be foreign – and so many with beards. The reason English players are also growing them is obvious: they want to look foreign, otherwise they won’t get picked. Or be noticed on the bench.
Paul Ince’s neck – what has happened to it? He did have one when he played for Man United. Fortunately his son Tom has a fine, slim one. Keep an eye on it in the dressing room, Tom. I do like Wayne when he’s had a good clean shave and looks smooth and glowing, none of this stubble nonsense. It gets reflected in his smooth play. The only trouble is, he’s beginning to look like Mussolini’s lovechild.
That stupid plinth that’s plonked down at the side of the pitch from whence the referee has to pluck the ball as he walks past. What is the point? Presumably yet more advertising opportunities. The hordes of official partners, suppliers and providers of services which every Premier Club now has will be able to buy space and see themselves credited.
“You. You Make This Column. You Fans.”
(Reader’s Digest, official provider of clichés for The Fan