Thursday, 11 September 2008

"We hate Setanta", England fans cry. And we do.

Last night England thrashed Croatia 4-1 in their World Cup qualifier, ending Croatia's undefeated home run of 35 games. The perfect result for Capello at a point when our patience with the national team has been wearing thin. Am I happy? Not one bit.

I am pleased with the result, of course, but something is stealing my joy. Actually it is not just stealing my joy. It is taking my joy, then slowly disemboweling it with a blunt instrument before my very eyes. And it is doing this wearing an England shirt, just to rub it in.

And who is doing this? The ugly giant of Setanta of course. Because of Setanta I couldn't watch the game, the highlights, or the goals.

Somehow Setanta has got all the rights. The game was not on terrestrial TV. There were no highlights on terrestrial TV. And there were not even any clips of the goals on the BBC sport website. There were a few photos from the game, but yeah, right, I'm really going to be satisfied by a handful of static shots of the game.

I don't have Sky, and I don't have Setanta, and I'm not going to get them. That's because on the whole I don't watch TV. The only TV I care about is football, news, a bit of comedy perhaps, and the odd program or series every now and then.

In this case, I was busy last night. I couldn't record the game, because I don't have Setanta. And I couldn't even watch any highlights, because through a disgusting display of selfish and greedy rights ownership there were not even any highlights on terrestrial. For a similar reason, there were not even any clips on the BBC sport website. Just seeing clips of the goals would probably have appeased me.

Of course, if England had lost I wouldn't have been bothered about this, which shows how shallow I am, but nevermind about that...

I now find out that they did show highlights on free view, but as they only announced it at 6pm yesterday nobody knew about it.

If I had been free, I could have gone and found a pub that had Setanta. That would have been nice, but it wasn't an option. But even then, there are further twists to this nightmare.

In a bullish and dog-ugly display of greed Setanta have apparently upped the pub license fee so much that some pubs can not afford it. A colleague tells me this fee is now as much as 15K a year, and his local pub can now longer show the football.

People at work are fed up. Friends are fed up. My colleague's pub's owner is fed up. And, I'll bet, the boy that walks the dog of the pub owner's mother is also fed up. And I'm fed up. In fact, a lot of the public are fed up to. Something needs to be done. During the Andorra game last week the fans sung "We hate Setanta", and we do.

Basically, if we want to watch our country play we have to be a Setanta subscriber. This is stupid. Our country's international games should be on our national television. Full stop.

I would suggest a simple solution. All international football should be shown on terrestrial, with highlights. Highlights and clips should also be available online. The rights situation should allow Setanta to also show the international games. And for the love of all things football, English, and sensible, this should be sorted out immediately.

Frustratingly though, there are two sides to the argument. Perhaps it is capitalism, but the general rule is that people will pay what they think something is worth. There are a lot of unhappy people because of this, but then, it is argued, Setanta have the right to buy rights.

Maybe there needs to be some sort of compromise - pay-per-view - so I could fork out a few quid to get the game, but wouldn't need to be a Setanta subscriber.

But NO I say, NO NO NO, it is one thing to pay for a movie, but completely different to have to pay for an international game, a "public" game, a game that should be broadcast on the public networks.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your opinions completely. I was warm to them as a brand, but after this I've got nothing but hatred for them. Here are my opinions: I hope that the fans of England club-together somehow and teach Setanta that this is not acceptable

badly dressed boy said...

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Setanta don't the have any right to buy rights when it is the National Team. Everyone should be able to watch the National team and preferably it should be shown on BBC where we can hear Hansen saying 'very very poor' and 'terrible defending' (which on Wednesday of course would have been directed at the Croatians). :D

It's a slippery slope. Sooner or later whole world cups will be priced out of the reach of the common man

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!