By Tony Attwood
I cancelled my Sky subscription just over a year ago, because of my ever growing frustration at their authoritarian approach of knowing what was right and what was wrong, what I thought and what I didn’t, their patronising of me as a viewer and paying customer, and my frustration at what they were doing to the football fixture list. After years of football on TV it was a bit of a shock at first, but ultimately, I quite got to like following away games I couldn’t go to on Arsenal.com with the two guys chattering and describing.
But I thought, for a change, I’d have a go for this game by using Now TV, an adjunct of Sky which allows one to buy match by match at £8 a time. And what a shock it was to be reminded of such an almighty biased commentary – biased not particularly anti-Arsenal and pro-Cardiff. It was that of course but also biased in terms of what the commentators were not allowed to say. Do they really think we are so moronic we don’t notice?
However if you are thinking of following me I would add a word of warning. I saw nothing to warn me that Now TV could only run through certain computers. Maybe it is there within the instructions, but not in any way that I saw and I was certainly looking. But no, not a word of this until I had paid my money, and tried to download the service.
And then I discovered only some computer types work with Now. Surely there should be a big message up to tell customers this shouldn’t there? Or maybe the government has got rid of Consumer Protection now. and hey, its only football and football consumers are morons – it says so in the selling manual.
So I had to ditch my Chromebook and try and rig the thing up on an old Windows running PC, which worked, but it took a long time to settle down, with sound loops and all sorts.
But I got there and found among other things there was no mention by the commentators for example of the swathes of empty seats we could see (and I don’t mean the block separating home and away fans.) And of course no mention of some referee decisions that should have been the topic of discussion. I am not going so far as to say the referee was against us (although it appeared that way to me – but I’m an Arsenal fan), but no, rather that he made odd decisions which were part of the game and so part of the discussion. And yet they were never discussed.
Indeed there wasn’t even a discussion or commentary about the fact that Arsenal’s four games have seen 16 goals. Now we might not like the fact that eight of them have been against us, but one could still consider this entertaining (since no club has had more goals in its four games). But mention it? I don’t think so. Because that would make Arsenal sound rather worth watching.
Did the TV commentary crew find it fun, exciting, enjoyable? I didn’t find that they did particularly, although to give them credit they did appreciate the quality of the final two goals. But what they really wanted was more jumping around by the Cardiff manager. He is, I am told, what is in the world of media to be called “a character”.
And characters are good. Allegedly.
Personally I was left wondering not for the first second or third time why Lacazette is not starting every game with Aubamayang, either with the two guys bearing down on frightened defenders as twin centre forwards, of with Auba on the wing as we had last season with Mkhitaryan on the other side.
Lacazette hit the post in the first half and scored a stunner in the second; what more do you want – well even the Guardian called the build up to the Auba goal a “lovely passage of play.” (That’s not a phrase you don’t hear that often at a football match unless it is from Liverpool! (It says so in the manual).
However here is a breakthrough. The Guardian’s post match commentary says, “Anthony Taylor’s decision to penalise Lacazette for a foul on Arter was questionable.” Wow.
Mind you they also say, “Incredibly, Morrison could have equalised in injury time but headed over from inside the six-yard box.” Well yes, and incredibly Arsenal could have scored four more. I am not sure where this takes us.
Anyway, with Now, if you have the right sort of computer, or you pay an extra £15 so you can plug it into your TV rather than watch it on what Now calls a device but I call a computer, and having paid my £8 I thought I’d take a peek at what Tottenham Nomads are doing. Seems they are losing. Can we stop that game now?
But it then struck me. Tottenham Nomads fans always call Arsenal a franchise club wandering from ground to ground. And yes it is true Arsenal have played at more grounds than Tottenham. But at least once we were there for a season we stayed there.
And here’s a thought. The journey from Plumstead, where Arsenal played in the Football League from 1893 to 1913, to Highbury, is 12.7 miles and takes these days about 45 minutes. White Hart Lane to MK Dons Stadium is 50 miles and takes 1 hour 10 minutes if the M1 is clear. Since I use the M1 part of that route getting home after Arsenal games, I can tell you that most of the time it takes 1 hour 30 mins or more.
Tottenham Nomads – it seems about right to me.
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