Save Manish and lower league football coverage!

Manish Bhasin

Alan Hansen

First published in View from the Chapel Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Digital Editor

Entering 2012, the feeling has to be one of promise for all Saints fans.

Top of the league for most of the season so far - even despite a slight wobble - and a superlative home record all point towards a mouthwatering 2012.

For all the comments over the last six years or so about the Football League being more competitive, more exciting and more honest than the Premier League (and it is all those things in my opinion), the top flight is where all supporters of the 72 want to be.

Now, it looks like it could well be the only place to be if you want to see your team on terrestrial TV.

As part of the BBC's cutbacks, spending on sport programming is under massive threat and rumours this week suggest the Football League show is in the firing line.

Presenter Manish Bhasin, one of the best sport presenters on TV if you ask me, went on Twitter after a number of complaints about the show not being shown on Boxing Day, despite a full quota of games.

He said he was as frustrated as anyone but the deal between the Beeb and the Football League means the show will be on until at least May. Beyond that, however, is anyone's guess, as neither the BBC or ITV have taken up the option of terrestrial TV rights for highlights and a smattering of Championship matches.

Match of the Day has long been the flagship of the BBC's footballing coverage, but it seems ridiculous that the entire coverage of the Football League could be in jeopardy, when you consider wages paid to some of the pundits on MotD - Alan Hansen gets paid £40,000 per show according to BBC figures and Lineker and Shearer are both believed to earn in excess of £1m a year.

I appreciate that even if you were to get them to work for free, the savings would not be anywhere enough to raise the money expected by the Football League to purchase rights to show highlights of the three divisions and the League Cup, but can it really be considered that Alan Shearer's insights into a football match are that worthwhile? If cuts need to be made - what would be missed more by the average fan - the match highlights or Shearer telling us that Luis Suarez is quite good?

I've got nothing against the MotD presenters - I actually quite like them - but if the BBC thinks talent is more important than content then there is a problem.

Now, hopefully, Saints fans won't be needing Football League highlight packages next season. We'll be busy watching our team in the Premier League with any luck, but that doesn't mean it is not an important issue all the same.

In an ideal world, the money expected for TV rights would not be so ridiculously high but at the same time, it would help if the BBC (and ITV, although as a commercial broadcaster this applies less to them) spent their money a little more wisely in the first place.

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Comments (8)

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6:47pm Fri 30 Dec 11

Condor Man says...

No doubt someone will pick up the rights next season but it's bad form for the BBC to cut the show over Christmas. Match Of The Day is on constantly this weekend, we won't get a Football League Show for another 2 weeks.
No doubt someone will pick up the rights next season but it's bad form for the BBC to cut the show over Christmas. Match Of The Day is on constantly this weekend, we won't get a Football League Show for another 2 weeks. Condor Man
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5:13pm Sat 31 Dec 11

rachie66 says...

Most disappointed no coverage over the festive period of any Championship football on BBC1. Sky seem to have the monopoly of it all!
Most disappointed no coverage over the festive period of any Championship football on BBC1. Sky seem to have the monopoly of it all! rachie66
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4:46pm Sun 1 Jan 12

sarfhamton says...

BBC only has Saturday contracts and this is why it was not done Xmas eve as for NY, there was not a full programme
BBC only has Saturday contracts and this is why it was not done Xmas eve as for NY, there was not a full programme sarfhamton
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1:33pm Tue 3 Jan 12

Shoong says...

The BBC aren't contracted apart from Saturday night so that's why we didn't get one over the Xmas period.

The BBC just don't take the Football League seriously. Compare MOTD to the FL Show.

All the money goes on MOTD while the FL Show is like some kind of kids show, complete with silly opening sequences of actors dancing around like mugs.
The BBC aren't contracted apart from Saturday night so that's why we didn't get one over the Xmas period. The BBC just don't take the Football League seriously. Compare MOTD to the FL Show. All the money goes on MOTD while the FL Show is like some kind of kids show, complete with silly opening sequences of actors dancing around like mugs. Shoong
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3:26pm Thu 5 Jan 12

redsnapper says...

Good article Dan, the FL show is a much superior program than MOTD. Shearer, Lawrenson and Co pick up mega salaries for saying the same week in week out

Lets get some campaign going or at the very least all fans should write to the BBC and try and save this excellent and unique show



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Good article Dan, the FL show is a much superior program than MOTD. Shearer, Lawrenson and Co pick up mega salaries for saying the same week in week out Lets get some campaign going or at the very least all fans should write to the BBC and try and save this excellent and unique show https://faq.external .bbc.co.uk/templates /bbcfaqs/emailstatic /emailPage redsnapper
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10:40am Thu 12 Jan 12

St Retford says...

Looking at the bigger picture, MOTD itself is a question mark for next season as the BBC's rights to show highlights expire and the organisation is cutting costs left, right and centre. This could spell the terrifying prospect of a return to ITV's 'The Premiership', with Adrian Chiles quizzing Andy Townsend and 19 ad breaks per show. It would be literally awful.
Looking at the bigger picture, MOTD itself is a question mark for next season as the BBC's rights to show highlights expire and the organisation is cutting costs left, right and centre. This could spell the terrifying prospect of a return to ITV's 'The Premiership', with Adrian Chiles quizzing Andy Townsend and 19 ad breaks per show. It would be literally awful. St Retford
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8:00pm Tue 17 Jan 12

Saintade says...

Every Saints fan probably hates having to suffer Steve 'Skate' Claridge every week anyway, although many will miss the programme I guess. Oh well, get Sky - infinitely superior football coverage than any other channel anyway, and you can see the Champ goals at 7pm so you don't have to wait until a ridiculous hour to watch it on BBC.
Every Saints fan probably hates having to suffer Steve 'Skate' Claridge every week anyway, although many will miss the programme I guess. Oh well, get Sky - infinitely superior football coverage than any other channel anyway, and you can see the Champ goals at 7pm so you don't have to wait until a ridiculous hour to watch it on BBC. Saintade
  • Score: 0

7:52pm Wed 18 Jan 12

flashhart2000 says...

I don't want a Sky zit on the side of my gaff.

So if it must be ITV then so be it!
I won't miss Mr 40k per week Hansen for that amount of money I'd make the Beggar work by doing the dam weather as well!
I don't want a Sky zit on the side of my gaff. So if it must be ITV then so be it! I won't miss Mr 40k per week Hansen for that amount of money I'd make the Beggar work by doing the dam weather as well! flashhart2000
  • Score: 0

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