Sky To Make All Leeds Games Start After 9pm Due to Pre-Watershed Sweariness? – by Rob Atkinson

Sky needs Leeds, but not the naughty language

Regular viewers of the various Sky Sports channels may have noticed a certain primness creeping into the satellite broadcaster’s football coverage of late. They’re coming across a bit like a stern Victorian maiden aunt, the type who, on hearing any form of profanity, will purse her lips and call upon high heaven to hurl a lightning bolt or two at the profaner.

Time was when sound effects microphones would pick up all sorts of four-letter naughtiness, and hardly even twitch by way of reaction. Not an eyelid would be batted in the commentary box, there would be no blushes mantling the cheeks of the presenters, no placatory words of apology for a TV audience possibly rendered rigid with shock at such audibly blue language.

Truth be told, those viewers at home didn’t give a toss anyway. They would sit there unbothered by any amount of effing and jeffing from the terraces, intent on watching the game and enjoying the atmosphere that was, let’s face it, generated in no small measure by the ripe and ribald chanting of the deeply partisan sets of opposing supporters. It’s how football is meant to be, and this nanny-like tendency to worry out loud that viewers may be offended is as annoying as it is deeply unnecessary.

But, it does seem to be the way that Sky’s football coverage is going. Time without number, just lately, I’ve heard the commentator intoning “We apologise if you were offended by any bad language you may have heard”, and I for one find it embarrassingly paternalistic and patronising.

As for their approach to Leeds United games, regular readers may well have guessed, correctly, that the headline to this piece is tongue-in-cheek. But any satire has its roots in things that could conceivably happen without any great tide of shock or surprise ensuing and, already, Sky’s attitude towards the vocal contributions of the massed Leeds support has been one of summary censorship, as we witnessed after a mere 10 seconds of United’s last TV fixture at Wigan last weekend.

At the first hint of “language likely to offend” – and particularly because it was, from Sky’s point of view, damagingly anti-corporate in its intent, the sound engineers pounced, the audio dampers were applied, and the United chants were largely muffled. With them went most of the atmosphere, but that’s seemingly a trade Sky are willing to make, rather than allowing any neat and raucous summary of their coverage and underlying philosophy to be heard by thousands of customers.

At the moment, and for as long as Sky’s suppression of audible protest continues, this is an upsettingly lop-sided commercial relationship. Sky’s Championship coverage needs Leeds United far more than United needs Sky, with the viewing figures for Whites games far outstripping the rest of the field. And yet the most televised club in this league receives a sum which is but a fraction of what the bottom-placed Premier League club trousers – now, that’s not a good deal, that’s blatant exploitation. Add to that the continuing smattering of snide remarks and unflattering reportage, and you wonder why we bother – except that, for many fans, live TV is their best and only chance of seeing their chosen team in action.

So, don’t expect to see Leeds United games kicking off exclusively at post-watershed times of the day – not just yet, anyway. But there are rumblings of discontent about Sky’s attitude in several aspects of their coverage, both from within the club and without, among the massive broader support at home and overseas.

Let’s not forget that United owner Andrea Radrizzani is a TV mogul in his own right, and has publicly expressed strong views not wholly supportive of the status quo. It may well be – fingers crossed – that Leeds will ascend to the top flight sooner rather than later, and feast on the financial bounty now denied them. But that doesn’t make the existing situation fair or right, especially for the clubs left outside in the cold, noses pressed to the window, drooling at the banquet within. That kind of inequality sows the seeds of revolution, which is something the fat cats in the Sky boardrooms would do well to reflect upon.

33 responses to “Sky To Make All Leeds Games Start After 9pm Due to Pre-Watershed Sweariness? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Victor Stephenson

    I prefer not to hear bad language on TV be it from a football match or any other TV programme. I do not like the general lowering of standards that is prevailing today. Surely as a intelligent and educated man you should not pander to the lowest common denominator but acknowledge that in this instance Sky TV are acting correctly.


  2. Spot on. They need us more than we them. Unfortunately the tv deal is ‘negotiated’ via the wonderful FL as part of a collective agreement with all the FL clubs. So we’re stuck with it. This even hacked Cellino off and he was right.
    I agree with the principal of a collective agreement but I’m sure that Radz is aware that we could be worth much more if we could negotiate our own deal. This could be with another provider or even in house via LUFC tv etc. Sky’s days are numbered.
    Mind you it could be embarrassing if Eleven sports gets the rights and the chant goes up ‘Eleven Sports F&*king Sh&te’ etc.MOT.


  3. Victor Stephenson

    You know nothing about working class and as for earthy roots, no decent working class man of the old school would ever condone such bad language and behaviour and especially in front of women and children.


    • I know nothing about working class? Don’t be so damned silly, you ridiculous person.


    • Dan Deeney

      I’ve known every member of the Atkinson family at different times since approximately 1970, Victor luv. Rest assured they is well working class, innit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not in the biblical sense, I hasten to add.


      • Victor Stephenson

        Dear Dan,
        Thank you for the information and thank you for not slagging me off for having a different viewpoint. Sorry for the delay in replying, I ain’t fully worked out how to use these I pads yet..
        I hope that you enjoy the game today, I feel quite confident about the result. Victor


    • Leeds Bjorn

      my Dad was a stickler for good manners when we were kids , ex soldier , long time miner , old school you may say . but you get him to a football match on a Saturday afternoon (3pm) he was manic , every swear word in the book and a few he made up , its a release for the masses thats why we go , watch a game have a rant , whats up with that. if you dont like it ,stay away.


  4. Fuggin’ fuggers!


  5. Karl Major

    My first game, not sure if it was 69 or 70 but we beat Man City 1-0, Alan Clarke scored and John Giles missed a pen. I was at the front of the Lowfields looking up at the Kop in Awe and the chant started.
    Summer Summer Summer Summer Summerbee, Who the effing hell is he, he’s a T…T like Francis Lee.
    This working class lad loved it and still does, you can’t beat a bit of ribald football banter.
    The fans are right though, Sky is Sh..e, I gave it up years ago.
    That Victor just has to be a wind up, Surely.
    We are top of the league


  6. Robert Parr

    The more that is made of this, the more the Leeds faithful will continue to torment Sky. My wife and I would have attended more games this season had they been at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon ( when I’m not at work!), Instead of when it makes them the most money and they throw a few shekels at Mr Radrizzani. Shame on them


  7. Ilkleywhite

    I don’t have a problem with swearing apart from the “C” word, but then we don’t say Chelsea THAT much in Leeds.


  8. Reality Cheque

    Surely, the simplest solution, Rob, would be for Sky TV to immediately stop being so F****** S***. I appreciate it will not be easy for them as they are still struggling to come to terms with Citeh being far more amazing than scumchester each year.


  9. Alan Flint

    I don’t suppose for a moment that it’s got anything at all with Radz nicking La Liga from under S*y’s noses?? Now they have the PL and the FL and FA else 🙂


  10. Dare I suggest Rob Leeds are the most televised team in the country which makes the pittance we get paid even more laughable. As one of those fans who can’t regularly get to games it’s great to see so many games but often they are better watched with the volume turned off as I can’t stand Sky’s biased anti Leeds commentary.
    I do feel for season ticket holders though who a starved of the traditional 3pmSaturday kick offs.
    Hopefully Andrea may be the person to change things for the better and bloody Sky’s nose again, but hopefully we will be back in our rightful place in the PL


  11. Life is LUFC

    How about the Leeds fans lull Sky into a false sense of security. Keep it very prim for a few games and let rip when it is least expected……other than that pick the ball up and go home, leave them recording and empty pitch for 90 minutes.
    Now there’s an idea, set up a match get Sky signed up to televise and no one shows up but them and a very big poster with a swear word of choice written on it.
    Well it’s all so damn silly we might as well join them in their silly games and have a good laugh at them. I am avoiding the use of swear words because I do not want you to be offended and turn the volume down.
    I’m still sticking with my own plan, volume off on the Sky channel and volume up on LUTV.


Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.