"Better for you, better for all of us ...", or so Des Lynam said as
I settled in to ITV1's new peak-time football coverage The Premiership
early on Saturday evening. Sandwiched between You've Been Framed and
This Is My Moment, Saturday football highlights have finally been given
an airing at a time when all the family are around to enjoy them.
This 75-minute show had promised much - comprehensive highlights, expert
analysis, bags of new technology, a great theme song and all at 7pm.
Ironically, though, the scheduling is the show's biggest problem. We're
in valuable airtime land here and boy, did they cram it in. There were
three centre breaks reducing the real time of the show to around an hour
- Match Of The Day usually ran for 75 minutes without interruption. Even
worse, The Premiership felt disjointed, as if it was put together in a
hurry, which of course it was, given the matches only finished two hours
So what of the content? My heart sank as Des announced that the first
game would feature Arsenal, including the treacherous Sol Campbell. To
my relief they only inflicted nine minutes of highlights and four
minutes of analysis on us. The analysis included the "Tactics Truck".
Quite what this was about I don't know - plenty of quirky camera angles
for the teenagers and that nice Andy Townsend for Mum, perhaps.
We then shot up to Sunderland's Stadium Of Light for ten minutes,
including a "live" interview with Peter Reid, before making a fleeting
visit to the Leeds versus Southampton game and finally resting at
Anfield for a while for Liverpool versus West Ham. All of this was
interspersed with the goals and key moments of the remaining four games
along with a feature on Derby's Fabrizio Ravanelli.
Back in the studio, Terry Venables and Ally McCoist were their usual
selves, ending every comment with a cheeky (and presumably rehearsed)
aside, including a bizarre reference to Prozac by El Tel. This was his
way of introducing another gizmo, Prozone. A piece of computer kit used
by all the top coaches, apparently. Maybe we'll get to learn why over
the forthcoming weeks.
And that was pretty much it. That is unless you took Des' advice to "do
it twice on Saturday nights" and watched the extended re-run later in
Interesting time for a football show, late on a Saturday night. Not a
bad idea, actually. Gives you a chance to show extended highlights.
Maybe a goal of the month competition too? How about getting in Gary
Lineker, Alan Hansen and Trevor Brooking to front it? Now there's a
Time broadcast: 7pm, Saturday 18 August
Average audience figure: 4.3 million
Advertisers during first ad break: Coca-Cola (idents), Ford, Kit Kat,
IBM, Strongbow, Nike