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 Post subject: BUGLE No.11
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 45
FOOTBALL FOR THE MANY

Watching football can be an expensive pastime these days. My season ticket at Maine Road during season 1994/95 cost £195 - just over £10 per game. It costs twice that much now, admittedly twenty odd years later, to watch Hartlepool United avoid another relegation. I was lucky - the entertainment was fantastic. City won their opening league games 3-0 and 4-0 against West Ham and Everton respectively. Other highlights included a 5-2 win against Spurs - the papers were full of it beforehand... Uwe Rosler v Jurgen Klinsmann. City didn’t even need the injured Rosler as Niall Quinn and Paul Walsh ran riot. 3-3 draws against Notts Forrest and Southampton were other notable matches. In the modern era, ticket pricing has almost wiped out the younger generation. Take a look at the age group watching Chelsea games - it adds another dimension to the term ‘Chelsea Pensioners’. For if the youth of today are losing out at the ground, conversely the older generation are now being priced out of televised football. Sky & BT, once ardent enemies are now business buddies in an attempt to fend off new challengers such as Amazon, Facebook, and even NBC from across the pond. Sky are feeling the pinch and look set to lose the rights for La Liga after giving up the ghost for Champions League games. Every year, Sky hikes up the prices, forcing many viewers to find other options to get their fix. Mine used to be via a huge satellite dish, tuned into some obscure channel in Albania until the Premier League cottoned on, forcing the TV companies to reduce the signal strength leaving brits with blank screens on a Saturday afternoon! It’s also getting harder to find reliable and quality feeds on the internet. There is some light at the end of the tunnel and it’s the non league clubs who should look to benefit from the situation. One channel has gone in another direction completely - Freesports. Although their schedule can be unreliable, they have started to delve into the lower echelons of UK sport. At the moment, focus has been on lower level rugby league and a few weeks back, Durham’s ground beamed live on a cold Friday night for a schools rugby union match. The opportunity is there for either the evo stik leagues or even the Northern League to sell their product on National TV. It may sound optimistic at the moment, but throw in bookmaking advertising and live betting then the potential is there. The only caveat I would have, is the integrity of the sport and the opportunity for skullduggery. The last thing the Northern League would want is negative exposure, if say a substitute goalkeeper is seen eating a pie at half time at odds of 9/2! I have no idea what the business model is at Freesports HQ but those who follow the FA Vase across the country will be aware of the pulling power the north east sides bring to the table. Fixtures such as West Auckland v Bishop Auckland, Morpeth v North Shields or dare I say it, the Billingham derby could be of interest, particularly in an age where costs dictate. I’m surprised Made in Tyne & Wear or Made in Teesside haven’t looked into this already, given the lack of regional content on offer. With Stockton Town’s remarkable Vase run and Marske United well placed to win the league title, should these stations be doing more for local sport? In Mallorca, the island has its own tv channel and on a Sunday teatime they broadcast highlights from the tercera division. The standard of football made decent viewing, helped by the Spanish technical approach to the game. Now this would be a problem in this country, with many observers believing the non league game to have a less cultured approach than our Iberian friends. It would be a challenge to change mentalities.... but it wouldn’t cost much in trying!

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