There was a big response to Monday morning’s mails. Keep them coming by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You Have Forced Us To Go Illegal…
Could not agree more with Charlie, THFC, Somerset this morning, and not being given the opportunity to watch the matches I want to watch is a real big bugbear of mine.
I’m an ex-pat living in Germany, and whilst there are PL matches available over here, where I live prevents me from having a satellite dish (no line of sight), so that option is unavailable to me – not that they show them all anyway.
However, this has not stopped me from watching all but four or five of Man City matches over the last half dozen years, including pointless friendlies. I watch them because I am a fan and because I want to. The PL, in their infinite wisdom, decided that I should not be able to do this, because they want to maximise their profits.
What they fail to understand is that their are millions upon millions of people all over the world who they could make money out of, yet because they are largely ignored, we turn to the illegal streaming option. And, yes, I am not naive enough to think that everyone would (could) pay if the option was there, but certainly more than enough would do.
VPNs, streaming sites, and the likes of Kodi are what I use when I could be paying for an ‘online ST’ allowing me to watch all of City’s games. If they are being broadcast by just a single channel anywhere in the World, I will find it and I will watch it.
In fact, I know of many in the UK who, because of ever increasing monthly fees with SKY and BT, have dropped their subscriptions and turned to what I do to watch matches instead. “Too expensive and not enough of my team to warrant me paying anymore,” is usually the complaint. Perhaps if every club had every single game they play available to watch online or on TV they would get even more money than they do now – particularly if they included everyone on the planet.
So until then I shall continue to do what I do now. You created this mess Premier League, so deal with it.
Football On TV Ruined My Life
Charlie, THFC, Somerset Oh, how I agree with you.
I’m a United fan, born three miles from the ground but now live in London. Years ago a bunch of us used to drive up and back on Saturdays to watch home games and we went all over the country. Older now, with congested roads, other commitments and the impossibility of getting in at the turnstile, I’ve largely given up. My son offered to buy us season tickets but, with matches scheduled at all sorts of times and days, we realised we’d struggle to use them regularly. The cost for two of us going is getting increasingly higher each year.
So, TV scheduling has stopped me going to see my team. But now the cost has got so prohibitive for the number of games broadcast, I’ve given up subscribing. Sorry, but I have no interest in paying for a Super Sunday of West Brom v Newcastle. I suppose I could find a pub to watch the United games, but that would end up costing me even more!
Even a die-hard like me is losing interest in the stupid amounts of money being poured into the game. Either give me MUTV which shows all the games, or make the ground free-entry (surely they need a crowd for atmosphere?), but something has to give. Like you Charlie, I wouldn’t mind at all if the whole thing collapsed. I don’t want to get all ‘jumpers for goalposts’, but it really was more fun when you could get in to see your team, which was made up of people who really looked like they cared.
Duckman, Man United, London
…I fully agree with Charlie, THFC, Somerset. I used to live is South Africa where I would watch as much footy as I could handle but unlike Charlie there is hardly any time difference. I complained constantly about DSTV. I regret this now. Compared to your Sky and BT bull it was heavenly. DSTV has the monopoly on satellite television in the region and so it really is your, forced, one stop shop for all the footy you needs.
I used to watch five games per weekend. Heaven. My wife hated it. DSTV spoilt us with a huge choice matches on the Saturday (normally the early kick-off, a choice of 3 maybe 4 at the 3pm kick off and maybe a choice of two of the late evening kick-off), on the Sunday it would be the two big games and an alternative channel if there was a third game on and of course the Monday game was on too. All in one place.
Champions League? Of course. I want to say all of the matches but might be wrong. Always the ones I wanted to watch. Europa? Yep, the most obscure fixtures. Euros? Yes. Euro qualifiers?…no, you got me there and they got a lot of flak for not getting that sorted out. Pretty sure I accounted for a large portion of the complaints because I would forget that they hadn’t bid for them every single time a scheduled date came along and go on a Twitter rant, email them about increasing their premiums and reducing their coverage as they had it in previous years, call their call centre to let them know my footy international break had been ruined, etc. I am joy to be around.
I have never felt more distanced from the game I love to watch than being in the land where it all happens. The main problem is that the coverage here is so disjointed. The international Barclays Premier League package/coverage is brilliant. I even miss John Dykes leading the show.
My point is…we need a monopoly here as this current free to bid bull is only costing the customers twice as much and isn’t working for anyone but those two corporations.
This probably wont get printed but at least someone read it even if it was just to discard it. There is a problem here and an properly researched and well articulated article by you guys would be brilliant to read some time soon.
James (more than just friendly)
It’s Just Too Expensive
The mail from Charlie, THFC, Somerset struck a chord with me. Like a lot of people, I’d love to have all the Sky Sports channels and be able to watch Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on a regular basis, not to mention James Richardson and co on BT Sport, but the trouble is, I can’t afford it, unless I go without something like car insurance, or hot water.
To compound the misery of those of us unable to justify paying for something better, let’s just throw this into the mix:
* Sky Sports have Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, who are streets ahead of most other ex-pro pundits.
* BT Sport has James Richardson and co, proving that writers who are comfortable on screen are good value as pundits.
* BBC have just announced that Ian Wright will be joining the Match of the Day team.
Kick us while we’re down, why don’t you.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven, CPFC the Glaziers, Notts
…Charlie says ‘What the Premier League has utterly failed to understand, in its quest for ever-bigger TV deals, is that football fans support teams and want to watch those teams’.
They haven’t failed to understand this. And for that you should be grateful. If clubs were allowed to sell the rights to their own games, then it would work well for me as a Man Utd fan. Instead of paying a blanket fee, I could pay that money straight to my club, watch all their games, the same as many millions globally. My club would get significantly richer for it (this is similar to the model La Liga sells its rights on – Barca and Real getting the lion’s share of the money…”because they’re the ones people are paying to see”).
Any clubs outside of Chelsea, Man Utd…dare I say it, Liverpool would lose out. Overseas viewers would pay to watch these clubs. Would they pay to watch Spurs? Maybe. Would they pay to watch Leicester? I’ll leave that for you to decide.
This is one of the things that the Premier League have got bang on. And it is to their credit and to the benefit of the whole league.
‘NBA TV allows any match to be seen at any time.’
NBA play 82 games, and that’s just in the regular season. It’s an entirely different business model, with virtually no away support. Go away and read up on the NFL blackout rule and get back to us.
‘…if the money went…Has the standard really gone up in the last decade?’
If we didn’t have the money and the ability to attract overseas players, we would truly be an utterly irrelevant league. You might be looking at Spurs not being in a better position than they were 10 years ago and thinking that the money hasn’t got you anywhere, but I can assure you, without the money you really wouldn’t be in the same position.
‘The FA rules protecting 3pm kick-offs are anachronistic.’
Totally with you on that. Completely out of date in today’s world.
Generally, the big problem as I see it has been the law of unintended consequences. Or to put it another way, the utter incompetence of organisations such as OFCOM/CMA (I think). When Sky had all the games, I paid one subscription. But this wasn’t good enough, it didn’t offer the consumer choice. The monopoly Sky held meant that in theory they could charge whatever they liked and people would have no choice but to stump up. In principle – this is bad. However, in practise what it now means is that instead of paying one subscription, I have to pay for 2. If I want to watch Copa America, 3.
Has Sky lowered their costs to account for the fewer games they show?
Have they f…
So thanks for that Ofcom or the CMA or whoever’s fault it is. I now have to pay significantly more than I did before, all in the name of competition.
It’s enough to turn one commie.
Defending The Limited TV Coverage
In response to Charlie, THFC, Somerset, I’m sure I won’t be the only one responding to his email with this point. There is a specific reason that not all games are available on TV (Sky, BT or whichever) and that is to preserve participation of lower-league games. Saturday 3pm is the holy grail of football and all games throughout the league appear at this time unless they strike up a deal to appear outside of this slot and therefore on TV. This means that fans of Premier League teams who have a local team (like me, AFC Wimbledon) can go see live football in their locality without the temptation to sit on arses at home and watch telly. It actually makes a lot of sense and doesn’t apply to somewhere like Hong Kong as the local broadcaster can pick and chose whatever they think will appeal to the local audience. All of the Premier League effectively.
It is a shame but now that you’re in the UK and have left Hong Kong (like I too did many years ago) then find your local team (Yeovil Town?) and go see them play and watch Match of the Day in the evening like the rest of us have to. I do however agree with you that the whole thing has become more expensive and that is a mega shame.
JazGooner (or support Arsenal and see more televised games than Spurs get – zing!)
…I’m sure Charlie from the morning mailbox isn’t the only whiny, entitled and ignorant fan of an established premier league side, but since he wrote in, I’ll address this response to him. Charlie – I have no doubt that at some point the 3pm TV blackout will get lifted, and you’ll get your way. And you’ll probably declare that it’s a good thing for fans, and Sky will bollock on about consumer choice. A decade or so later, as the number of professional clubs dwindles to around the 60 mark, and what’s left of the clubs outside the top two divisions are playing Friday night games, you might just realise that we had a unique and rather wonderful football pyramid, and without the foundations, the Premier League is an empire built on sand. You say you’d be happy watching Spurs in League Two….firstly, no you wouldn’t – it’s rubbish, and secondly, you don’t seem to realise that what you suggest could well ensure that there’s no such thing as League Two.
Lower-league clubs get screwed over quite enough thanks (see youth recruitment rules), without your help.
Watching What We Want, When We Want…
I think that Charlie, THFC, Somerset has hit the nail partially on the head with his mail. I generally only ever watch my team play, and then a couple of ‘big games’ a year.
He complains about the cost of packages. We all hate it, but I don’t see a solution unless we challenge the idea of how modern capitalism works (maybe when Corbyn is Prime Minister!).
But about being able to watch every game we want – I can’t see that not happening in the near future. Illegal streams are getting better (there’s ones you can pay for, which are pretty good – and if you use a Linux OS you don’t need to worry about viruses), but as important is the rise of video on demand (Netflix etc.). We’re getting used to watching what we want when we want.
I suppose it’s a couple of years away!
Richie Weng, AVFC, Glossop
The Community Shield: A Chelsea View
As I watched the game yesterday, I was genuinely happy that football is back but have not felt this concerned about an upcoming season in quite a while. With Chelsea recently, normally everything seems to go perfectly according to plan over the summer and in pre-season and the club rock up either in the Community Shield or in day one of the league season in fine fettle. In recent times when implosions occur, such as the AVB disaster, they are at least a little bit of the way into the season. Now, I am not saying that the team has imploded after an average pre-season and a poor friendly against our rivals (sorry Arsenal fans – it really is a friendly with a pointless trophy attached), but the warning signs are all there. My take on this is as follows :
Goalkeeper: Courtois is obviously superb, but still very young and will take time to develop into the leader that Cech is and has none of his experience yet. Cleary a fantastic goalkeeper, but young goalkeepers are prone to losses of form and he is not the same commanding presence as Cech yet. Begovic is an excellent goalkeeper, but not in Cech’s league, so it is hard to argue that our goalkeeping options have been improved.
Defence: Five senior players covering four positions, one of them who is 34. The other ages for our centre-backs are 29 and 31, so this is not a young defence. Losing Filip Luis is a blow – he offers a more going forward that Azpilcueta and is a reliable deputy when Azpi covers at right-back for Ivanovic. Bringing in a young, unproven LB is not an upgrade. Again, it is hard to argue that the defence has been improved and both Cahill and Ivanovic suffered losses of form last season. An ageing defence which is one injury away from being very stretched – you can see why we’re desperate to get Stones.
Midfield: Two clear first-choice options in Matic and Fabregas but they desperately need help. Ramires brings energy but not much else. Mikel is fine to send on for 10 mins to close out a game but has always struggled at the top level. Playing the whole season relying on the steel of Matic and craft of Fabregas will, again, burn the two of them out. Another centre midfielder is a priority, either that or get more out of Oscar.
Wingers/Att Mid : Losing De Bruyne, Salah and Schurle over the last year and replacing them with Cuadrado has been a disaster. Cuadrado may yet discover his form but at the moment a painfully average Moses looks ahead of him in the pecking order. An over-reliance on Hazard remains with the depth behind him and Willian painfully weak. We need to offer at least one youngster game time and experience and probably another squad player to upgrade Cuadrado.
Strikers: Costa’s hamstrings are already causing problems and it is not even the first game of the season. Falcao is a gamble and Remy is a decent reserve, but not one to lead the line in any important game. He can be very effective against weaker opposition or as an impact sub but in big games, it is Costa or bust. I really do hope it works out with Falcao, but the form book would suggest that a season of toil will reap a handful of goals and a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ when it comes to renewing the loan.
At the moment I cannot help but feel this is a squad with an ageing defence, over-reliance on three players to deliver the goods (Matic/Fabregas and Hazard) and one world-class striker who will probably have fitness issues over the season. I cannot question Jose’s record but at the moment I really can’t help but feel that the squad needs at least three to four players to compete on two fronts in the league and Champions League both…ho hum…
Sterling > Di Maria? Shush
I have to hand it to Liverpool (much as it pains me to do so), in their handling of the Sterling fiasco and the eventual transfer fee that they received from Manchester City. They wouldn’t budge, stayed true to their principles and at the same time, made a princely sum from the sale of Sterling. Likewise, Spurs have a tendency to lose their players to ‘bigger’ clubs but they always get the fee that they demand for the player with Daniel Levy displaying appropriate stubbornness in always getting the fee that’s right for his club.
Then we move to United and in the space of 12 months, we are about to lose £15m on the Di Maria deal to PSG. Why? When will we stick to our principles and demand the fee that we want for a player to ensure at least that we don’t lose money? When we buy players, we pay a premium. When we sell them (usually when Madrid come calling) we appear to bend over and take the money without the stubbornness and astuteness of the previous two clubs mentioned in negotiating an appropriate fee. David De Gea may be the exception here, I really don’t know what the real circumstances are, but think about this; in what world is Raheem Sterling (a very decent player in my opinion) worth £5m more than Di Maria?
On a side issue, I still believe we need to buy a centre-alf and (given the loss of Falcao, van Persie and likely Hernandez) another striker. It’s looking unlikely currently, but if they do come, no doubt we will pay the usual premium on those players too.
I’m pleased with our transfers in so far this window but there’s still a niggling doubt in me that our ‘pull’ is diminished and our principles compromised.
Chris Wilkinson MUFC
Are There Only Two Important Trophies Left?
I must say I’m disappointed by (thoroughly unsurprising) play-down of the Community Shield’s importance as a trophy. Although I agree that it is by far the least prestigious of all the season’s trophies, it is trend that is eating into every trophy and semblance of success in the English game.
The League Cup, we are told, is a competition that is treated by the big clubs as a nuisance. Second stringers and promising youth players are all this competition is good for. The FA Cup is the one-time big occasion that has found itself being put into the shade by league and European forays, an unnecessary distraction. The infamous ‘top four is a trophy’ quote that Wenger provided us with was clearly a step far, but apparently you aren’t allowed to celebrate CL qualification.
Even the Europa League is treated with distain, although this is largely due to the competition’s ridiculous format change, with far many games to play to reach anywhere approaching glory.
This leave us with the Premier League and the Champions League. The PL can be won by four clubs, and that’s on a good season. The CL domination from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have further lessened English club side’s chances of winning a competition deemed prestigious enough to celebrate.
Why not enjoy the success when it comes? Should it be the Community Shield or whatever other trophy your club is mocked for celebrating. Success is fleeting in football, the lows for most clubs much more common that the highs. Enjoy it while you can.
Ryan Cameron, Norn Iron
PSG Bigger Than United? Really?
Now I realise I am biting but I was wondering what criteria Thiago is using to make the claim PSG are a bigger club than United? Is it their European pedigree of winning the Champions League zero times? The half-empty stadiums every week? or is it just the fact they pay a sh*t load of wages via their Qatari sugar daddy. I know footballers can be a bit cerebrally challenged but come on lad you sound like a right prat there. Like it or not United or one of if not the biggest football team on the planet and no amount of creative accounting/bullsh*t or rhetoric is going to change that fact, sorry to rain on your parade Thiago.
Paul Murphy, Manchester