Being a man of limited hobbies, I have spent an unnatural amount of time watching Sky Sports News over Christmas, an experience I would liken to watching an advertising hoarding for a product you have little or no interest, in the vain hope it might suddenly burst into life and dish out free chocolate bars or a holiday.
Everton coverage is typically extremely limited. Besides the (very) occasional signing, or news from the training ground on the eve of a game, the inner workings of Everton Football Club are generally tumbled together in the homogenous mass of teams outside the ?Big Four? ? itself a Sky Sports created moniker, presumably invented to describe any team who requires more than one sweatshop in Cambodia to fulfil their replica shirt quotas, or whose own self importance has inflated to such an extent that they require Gangsta? Rap style prefixes to feel important amongst their peers. As the current league table attests, the name has absolutely no relation to league position.
Although other areas of the press are equally culpable, Sky Sports seems to epitomise the trend of giving a disproportionate amount of airtime to this self-styled elite. It seems every time Alex Ferguson makes a passing remark about the state of education in this country, or his favourite place to buy scotch pies, his horrible creaking features are beamed in a never-ending loop heralding another world exclusive: ?Fergie: Rio Ferdinand is the working man?s Jane Austen,? ?Sir Alex: All young men over the age of sixteen should be made to visit Manchester United?s megastore,? etc, etc, etc?
Fabio Capello?s recent comments about ?Grand Slam Sunday?, when the four teams met, was further shocking proof of Sky?s dominance over our footballing psyches. The Italian?s next squad selection should be painfully easy, given that all English football was so neatly packaged into a single day's viewing. Makes you wonder why the other teams bother?
This could be construed as a mild annoyance. Why don?t I just simply turn the television off and do something less boring instead? But the importance the media places on these teams has created a separate, far more devastating phenomenon, that came into being a few Januarys ago and has since become the norm ever since the transfer window came into being: The January smash and grab.
The phenomenon may or may not have started in Spain, but has been adopted by the ?big four? to mesmerising effect. It starts with mild rumblings around September in some of the less desirable red top newspapers, hinting that your star player may be unsettled in the area or on the lookout for a ?fresh challenge.? A month later the stories are appearing in all the newspapers, broadsheets and tabloids alike, though are quickly quashed by the players themselves: ?I love the team, I couldn?t be happier.? In November quotes appear from the player?s agent saying he is ?flattered? by the interest and come December the snowball is uncontrollable, with terms being agreed with the player despite no ?direct contact? and mock ups being made of what he might look like when he makes his Chelsea debut.
These stories must come from somewhere, yet ?tapping-up?, which they effectively are, remains illegal and an unwanted crisis in a game already haunted by corruption. Who can ever forget the transfer window when that fat kid went to Manchester United? Stories had appeared as early as the summer although no official offer was made until the day before. At the time we blamed the agent. Scumbag though he was, aren?t the media partly responsible? If they didn?t broadcast this speculation, if transfer stories were confined to official press releases and the nonsense was isolated to their rightful place ? the internet forums ? would this not immediately end the shady business of poaching? Players move clubs, but why do we need all the deceit? Played out in a media that should never be partisan, but appears nothing more than the lap dog of a few megalomaniacal clubs.
Today, on none other than Sky Sports News, I watched a shell-shocked Juande Ramos batter back questions about how long it would be before his contracted player went to a ?bigger? club. This came at the end of weeks of incessant speculation about Berbatov moving despite no bid being tabled or any interest officially stated. The machine has already begun to do the job on our own Mikel Arteta. The signs are already looking painfully familiar. How can you fight when you don?t know what you?re fighting?
In two weeks, or at best, the end of the season, Dimitar Berbatov will be playing for one of the self-styled ?Big Four.? Every Evertonian must be praying the same fate does not await our own. Let?s nip this speculation in the bud and ask for a bit more transparency from our players, clubs, agents and reporters alike. Football will be all the better for it?
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 03/01/2008 at 23:42:21
Of course, there was no mention made except for the scoreline and group table in the looping information block on the right-hand side of the screen. Now, granted we’d already won the group before kicking a ball that evening but had Manchester United’s second string achieved such a feat, you can be sure Sky would have been all over it.
You’re right; it shouldn’t be as annoying as it is but the whole direction in which football is heading is very worrying. The vast expanses of empty seats every fortnight at The Riverside, the JJB Stadium and Ewood Park — none of which are big stadia to begin with — are incredibly distressing. It just sometimes feels as though those clubs don’t matter as long as they’re making up the numbers... and were it not for a certain Mr Moyes and our famously masochistic fans, we’d be in the same boat.
2 Posted 03/01/2008 at 23:58:39
3 Posted 04/01/2008 at 00:12:08
4 Posted 04/01/2008 at 04:50:05
5 Posted 04/01/2008 at 04:41:22
6 Posted 04/01/2008 at 07:01:20
Further to this brain washing we are seeing; I live in New Zealand and in this Rugby obsessed nation we rely heavily on Sky for premiership football and ESPN for C/L Uefa Cup, from the beginning of the season until the new year starts there is a fair spread of football, I may watch Everton every week for a month and then miss two weeks and we get them again three weeks on the trot. After New Year though its the Sky big four and the only way we get to see Everton is if we play one of them.
Television New Zealand carries Premiership news highlights on its flagship One News program, this is during the sport section, however unless its big four (or Ryan Nelson winning the game for Blackburn Rovers) forget it.
The rot is spreading, I compare this to the fanfare Everton received in new Zealand on their historic visit to New Zealand as champions in 1987 and it sickens me.
I was asked by an admittedly rugby fanatic which English team I support, expecting Man U or the RS I replied Everton, he said and what division do they play.
7 Posted 04/01/2008 at 07:48:03
Even the other football shows on the channel focus mainly on these teams and have mainly offensive things to say about Everton(if they even mention us!).The highlights of the games also show us for like 10 seconds.I deal with it coz i have no choice but it sickens me each time i see it.
8 Posted 04/01/2008 at 07:51:42
Here in Australia we get EVERY Everton game every week on Fox sports. Because they are trying to promote the sport in this country.Just about every game is viewed on digital cable with individual choice of match to watch. Now, this service comes FROM Sky Sports in the UK, so tell me, Why it isn’t available in the UK?
Because they don’t wish to do it. Because that might mean not as many fans watch the "Big Four" and marketing revenue will fall. Cynical? no, just plain power and greed.
On a little note though, what happens WHEN Everton break the dominance, will we be a club " Punching above its weight?" Or lucky? or will it suddenly be the Top Six..
9 Posted 04/01/2008 at 08:50:13
It is after all supposed to be called Sky Sports NEWS not Sky Sports Rumours - hell could we take a class action against them under the trade descriptions act? ;)
10 Posted 04/01/2008 at 09:08:14
Sport 1 here is brilliant. ALL Premiership games to choose from EVERY week. No pseudo-future graphics, no endless stats, and get this... NO ADVERTS!
The commentators actually say the name of the player who has the ball instead of rabbiting on about nothing, then they’ll bring out a quote in english like "it’s a game of 2 halves" or "there’s nothing wrong with you" and it’s classic.
Half times are just chock full of other football highlights that you may have missed.
So every single Everton game, I get to watch, in full, with no sky self-obsessed bullshit accompanying it. So no bias, no "big four" crap, just equal coverage throughout. I recommend it
11 Posted 04/01/2008 at 09:17:42
SKY show extended highlights of these games in an evening when you can pick the game of your choice.
As for the ’Big 4’ well I hate to point this out but over the last 10 years or so, no one else has one any major trophies & that is what attracts supporters & media coverage. They are called the big 4 because (with 1 very notable exception) they have finished in the top 4 of the prem consistently for the last few years and are the teams competing for the major trophies.
TO be globally succesful, you have to win things. Re- the guy who mentioned Everton’s visit to New Zealand - well at the time we had won the title twice in 3 years so we were one of the big clubs - that’s how you change the mentality - by winning things
12 Posted 04/01/2008 at 09:26:53
And Jip, I think Gerrard sued a paper for saying he wanted to move to Chelsea but I'm not sure.
13 Posted 04/01/2008 at 09:28:46
If ourselves or City rose to eminence as a club from outside the commercial 4 these firnge fans would be lead away from the breakthrough club. for example if we finish above Liverpool this season the campaign wouldn’t be based on Everton’s success but Liverpool’s demise. The media would portray it as a fluke, Liverpool throwing it away, Everton in the right place at the right time and so on.
It would be very unlikely for this to change, unless one of the "elite" fail consistently for 4 or 5 seasons pragmaticaly i can’t see it changing.
I’ve noticed Setanta have portrayed a more balanced view of the league and have decided to shy away from the nonsense of Sky, and i think true fans appreciate it.
I was at a friend’s house when we played United away. Imagine a stereotype of Sky’s target audience, well thats him. The sort to ring you for spares on derby day but he’s alright for the rest of the season because he’s got match choice. I asked him to put the match and he told me he didn’t have Setanta, I asked him why not? He replied " I’m not Paying for that they only put the shite matches on". I think that sums it up really. I know Setanta are a new channel but if they flashed the same commercial drivel as sky i’m sure they would be alot more popular...
14 Posted 04/01/2008 at 10:24:43
15 Posted 04/01/2008 at 11:03:41
Could you imagine though, if they all broke away, there would be uproar, but then again, we?d probably just be English - complain and then just pay the money anyway :-)
16 Posted 04/01/2008 at 11:24:34
17 Posted 04/01/2008 at 11:34:35
18 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:01:22
The Oldham game "might" be on here at the weekend http://livefooty.doctor-serv.com/
That?s the place I go if I can?t see the match on Sport 1 - not the best stream, but still watchable I reckon
19 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:05:10
20 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:24:12
21 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:37:14
If we did slice away, it would be a major test for us, as fans, and we’d all suffer short term probably. But at the same time I could happily do without this whole B4 crap.
And as we keep getting told by Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool (did I get it in the right order?) fans they don’t need us.
Bring it on, then.
22 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:39:59
23 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:42:59
Also to Arthur Jones RE Osmans Larissa goal - totally know where you’re coming from. It was truely one of the best worked goals I’ve seen from anyone let alone Everton and it was’t mentioned anywhere. Had the same discussion with my mates and it’s true, if it was Lampard, Gerrard, Ronaldo, Fabregas etc it would’ve been repeated on Sky for 4 days with quotes such as ’And Rooney(or the like) scores wondergoal, contender for goal of the season...’ makes me sick, some of my ardent football mates had not even seen it. Same could be said for his goal against Sunderland. He ran from the halfway line, beat 4/5 players easily, ran into the box and slotted a perfect goal!
24 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:52:20
25 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:41:47
26 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:21:22
27 Posted 04/01/2008 at 12:56:05
You are spot on the problem is SKY the idea that media globalisation of our national game is a good thing is wrong it is not even benign. I am sorry but for those of you watching unlimited choice of footie on the cheap in Iceland, OZ or wherever you should find a local team to support. If you are in exile then I have some empathy but you did choose to live there. The whole SKY bandwagon has priced many supporters out of the game and will make football increasingly become the preserve of the middle classes. Those at home and abroad rely upon the mugs who can still just afford to go, to provide the atmosphere and make it real! for the viewing millions. There is too much football on television, the model in the UK is not sustainable it has driven tickets prices, wages etc through the roof. I am not a luddite and expect some football to be televised globally and nationally but the illusion that it is good for the development of the game in the UK is a fallacy.It is corporate football predictable in its outcomes and rather bland. The Germans seem to have a more sustainable vision of football with appropriate ticket pricing and commensurate crowds and atmosphere.
Ferguson was moaning this week about a lack of noise at OT what does he expect it is a product no longer a passion.
Derby Game of the future?
Starbucks Rangers of Liverpool Vs Tesco Warriors of Knowsley
Laughable or is it? what Evertonian would have believed five years ago that we would ever left the city of liverpool,
The game of football has gone mad as have many of its supporters who desire success at any price
28 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:28:14
Instead of sharing rooms with prostitutes and snorting devils dandruff, they need to be making it fair for everyone. They should sell all the match rights to 1 channel and with todays technology that magic red button can be pressed to view whichever game the viewer wishes. Everyone would buy it, including all the pubs and many homes.
That has to be better than paying for Sky, Setanta and Aljazeera to see your match once every so often.
29 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:47:08
Manchester United do not sell a second choice defender to Newcastle.
Says it all.............
30 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:52:51
Sky/Setanta and the BBC have paid a king’s ransom for the exclusive right to show live games or first show of highlights (BBC). Why would they pay this money (which in turn is fed to clubs) if we could just tune in the free Scandinavian channel and watch any game for free! It’s not a fucking conspiracy!!
There is no doubt that there is generally more air time given to "The Big 4" and, like any other fan of a club outside of this "elite", it pisses me off. However, I understand that it is all about business and money. The Big 4 generally are the more widely supported clubs (not necessarily I know, but save a couple of exceptions) due to success, they are generally the ones winning things and they are generally the ones buying the big name players. We don’t want to hear about it, but many thousands do, and Sky don’t give a toss whether they are "real fans" or not.
I would have thought that there is a similar problem with UEFA Cup action. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but Sky do not cover UEFA Cup games. Therefore, I presume that they must pay to use other peoples coverage (ie Five). If this is correct then it is no wonder that we see more CL goals (which Sky have rights to) than UEFA Cup. All the Big 4 are in CL, so what a surprise that we see those goals over and over.
I agree with a lot of the points made above, but when you look at it logically it makes sense. I don’t like having to hear about it everytime Ferguson scratches his arse, but I do think that generally Sky have done a good job.
I also think that if people check into how often each team has appeared live on Sky they would be surprised. I want to see every Everton game (that I can’t go to) on TV, but I’d rather watch Man U vs Arsenel than Derby vs Fulham. Wouldn’t you?
31 Posted 04/01/2008 at 14:25:37
The ’big 4’ ar ethe big 4 because they win trophies and have more supporters than the other clubs. Therefore the media are going to show more of them because thats who the public want to see.
Similar to Eastenders etc - I may think its rubbish but a lot of people want to watch it hence its regularity on TV
32 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:53:38
Are you saying that because we are completely removed from the Sky monopoly and the blind loyalty that makes you pay all that money every week, that we are less of a blue than you?
Are we not allowed to move away from our towns just so that we remain a "true blue"?
You?ll be telling me to vote bnp soon :-)
33 Posted 04/01/2008 at 15:23:22
34 Posted 04/01/2008 at 15:21:11
I dont and wont pay for Sky for the reasons stated but I have paid for my season tickets for over thirty years and followed them away for the majoirity of those years when I can afford it. I also paid for my sons season ticket for twenty years, so yes I do think I have more of a right to talk about Everton than you do. I am not telling you to vote for anything. But to quote you from a different thread
Liverpool the most insular city in the UK
I am glad I dont live there
Jog your memory?
So Why the fuck I am going to listen to or value your views in comparison to Evertonians who turn up every single week.
35 Posted 04/01/2008 at 15:19:16
Another point about Sky, at least for your money you get a professional set up. I know you have to subscribe (and I haven’t had the pleasure of watching a game on Setanta yet) but at least you don’t get John Barnes dithering his way through the pre-match and constantly looking into the wrong camera, or "pitchside" with Townsend and McCoist. Amateur night!!
Don’t get me wrong, every chanel has its idiot pundits, especially Sky, but generally their reporting is slick, informative and professional and, as someone above mentioned, usually delivered by at least one good looking presenter.
£9.99 per month for the crap they are dishing up on Setanta is pathetic! Bring back Prem Plus.
36 Posted 04/01/2008 at 15:47:31
37 Posted 04/01/2008 at 15:59:23
we didnt feature once on sky during december yet teams like blackburn and dervby were both on TWICE in the space of a week!
typical example,versus arsenal i listend to it on 5live and we were all over them as we all know.
SSN half time report....everton doing well to stifle arsenal and supress their passing game??!!! WTF.
i hate the way keys salivates about GRAND SLAM SUNDAY,strange how a random computer sets out the seasons fixtures...what are the odds that that really happens?
Sky despite great coverage irritate the hell out of me the way the league has been devalued by them
38 Posted 04/01/2008 at 13:23:38
I've just reading Andy Gray's analysis of the season so far. I've got to say that the blatant lack of even a mention of our club's good name got me so angry that I was compelled to comment in reply (something I'd never normally do on SkySports!). http://www.skysports.com/experts/expert_story/0,19793,12064_2995004,00.html The problem was that their website is horseshit and would allow me to post, so I'm afraid I'm burdening my good friends of Toffeeweb instead! What is it with the media's blatant refusal to acknowledge the resurgence of Everton under David Moyes? We're currently competing in four competitions. We're in 6th place in the league (3 points away from 4th), we've stormed through the group stages of the UEFA cup, taking maximum points along the way and beating an AZ Alkmaar side that hadn't been beaten at home in Europe for 31 games! We've a semi-final in the Carling Cup to look forward to and the 3rd round of the FA Cup this weekend. I believe we're playing the most attractive football I've seen from Everton since the 80s. Yet, certain pundits choose to ignore us. This isn't sour grapes. I don't mean to take anything away from the achievements of Sven, 'Arry and Sparky, who have all done particularly well this season - admittedly the team Sven inherited is not the one that we see now after heavy investment but he has done well to hang onto the star (Richards) and get them playing well as a team so quickly. Andy Gray, an ex-Everton player, must be aware that arguably the most horrific refereeing blunder came in the Merseyside Derby from a certain Mr Clattenburg yet feels it acceptable to say, "there are some very good ones (referees) in the Premier League - like Mark Clattenburg who is generally good. I find the lack of acknowledgment from certain people in the media flabbergasting to say the very least and wonder whether fans from other clubs have noticed this? After all, Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there not out to get you...
39 Posted 04/01/2008 at 16:02:58
I am sorry if I offend you but actually being there makes a difference. Our great club? who is the club? the supporters who turn up and pay, without the insane knobheads (Dean) like us, there is no club for you to view. The leadership and management at EFC treat the people who are its core support with contempt (ask anyone who deals with the box office). I know many Blues who do travel from across the UK and abroad to watch Everton so I have no issue of where you are from, but actually going to the match gives you an insight that watching at home does not. Do you disagree with this statement? Dont football clubs rely on the loyalty of their core support?
Dean I could respond to your stereotyping of me as a person with no hobbies and little intelligence, but I am not going to give you the satisfaction. What upset you ?Having your bigoted attitude towards the City of Liverpool being repeated? It is you that are insular because you presume that anyone who is passionate about their City and their football club must be a skinhead, lacking in education and nationalistic. The whole point of my response was that SKY are ruining the game of football for the supporter who attends. It is those of us who attend who have to endure crazy kick off times, hikes in prices structures.
Is the paying fan not allowed to object to changes?
Anyway Dean I had better get on with some work for my Doctoral thesis, rather than argue with you, I will leave it you whether i am taking the piss or not
40 Posted 04/01/2008 at 16:40:29
41 Posted 04/01/2008 at 17:41:49
42 Posted 04/01/2008 at 19:21:13
43 Posted 04/01/2008 at 20:17:16
44 Posted 05/01/2008 at 12:35:54
45 Posted 05/01/2008 at 20:37:45
If people stop buying it then they?ll have to address the nature of their product.
46 Posted 05/01/2008 at 22:00:01
If thats who the RS want promoting them, well, they’re beyond redemption.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.