Tag Archives: BSkyB

5 Facts About Sky’s Leeds Utd Hater Don Goodman Ahead of QPR Away   –   by Rob Atkinson

Saint Don Goodman the Blinkered

Saint Don Goodman the Blinkered

After a couple of hundred times since last season watching the highlights of Sky’s Huddersfield Town versus Leeds United coverage, mainly to enjoy the Whites’ 3-0 victory over and over again, but also in the spirit of earnest research, this blogger is now able to reveal five hitherto unknown facts about co-commentator Don Goodman, who is also, incidentally, due to provide his pearls of non-wisdom for today’s United fixture at QPR

  1. Don Goodman never made a cynical challenge in his life. We can clearly tell this from the contemptuous and disgusted tone of his voice in proclaiming the cynicism of Scott Wootton‘s challenge on Huddersfield’s Harry Bunn. Clearly, Mr. Goodman would never contemplate such a base action, preferring to stand aside politely applauding when beaten by an opponent.
  2. Similarly, Don Goodman has never ever complained about a bang to rights refereeing decision against him in the whole of his football career. This must be so, because he clearly stated “I really don’t know why players complain about receiving yellow cards when it’s that blatant.” Any other case would leave Goodman open to a charge of being a rank hypocrite.
  3. Goodman never, ever formed part of a group of players clustering around a referee in order to try and influence his decision. As he virtuously points out, “the referee doesn’t need that, he needs to decide for himself.” With such strongly-held convictions as these about the sanctity of match officials’ decision-making, it is blindingly obvious, save for the hypocrisy provision mentioned above, that Goodman could never have transgressed in such an unhelpful manner.
  4. The best way to shut Don Goodman up is undoubtedly for Leeds United to score a goal. From the time of Wootton’s unpunished second foul at Huddersfield, right up until Mirco Antenucci scored United’s opener, Goodman had been bemoaning the lack of a second yellow card and subsequent dismissal for United’s defender. When the ball hit the back of the net, though, Goodman lapsed into a stunned silence lasting a full 18.25 seconds, before glumly observing: “Football isn’t fair sometimes – life isn’t fair sometimes,” adding that “Huddersfield will feel absolutely fuming”.
  5. Don Goodman in the course of his playing career always, but always, took in good part any studs over the ball challenges against him, that he now tends to describe as bearing “no malice” – as well as any sly kicks to the back of the legs late in the game, which can, apparently, be put down to “frustration”. It would have been incongruous for him to have complained about such challenges on himself, given his airy dismissal of the fouls perpetrated on Leeds players by their Huddersfield opponents.

These five new and telling facts about Don Goodman might, perhaps, shed some light on what might otherwise be described as inconsistencies in his co-commentary performance. Whether anyone with Leeds United sympathies, or indeed anyone with a more general ability to distinguish the relative locations of arse and elbow, will be mollified by such revelations, has to be a moot point. 

It may in fact be that Leeds fans as well as other people of intellect and discernment would tend to dismiss the “facts” enumerated above, in favour of a more general principle, as follows:

Don Goodman, from Leeds but never good enough to play for United, is an embittered has-been who is all too happy to accept BSkyB’s coin along with the privilege of jumping on their rabidly anti-Leeds United bandwagon. 

On the whole, that really does seem rather more likely. And doubtless, we can expect more of Mr. Goodman’s unprofessional rubbish live and exclusive from Loftus Road in an hour or so.

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Blatant Leeds-Bashing Exposes Amateur Face of Sky Sports   –   by Rob Atkinson

Sky Sports resident has-been Don Goodman

Sky Sports resident has-been Don Goodman

No writer worth his salt – not even a humble blogger such as yours truly – rushes into print with a knee-jerk conclusion based upon sketchy evidence. So you may take it as read that I have ample justification for what I’m about to say. I can point to instance without number of the kind of thing that most recently happened in the live transmission of Huddersfield Town‘s home game against my beloved Leeds United – indeed, I’ve had occasion to mention it before in the course of this season so far.

So I am absolutely entitled to say without fear of contradiction that Sky Sports‘ coverage of Leeds is characterised by shoddy amateurism, blatant prejudice and a naked desire to cater, not to fans of the Whites, but to the large anti-Leeds constituency out there, who pay their subscriptions and want to see their most-disliked team properly hammered, on the pitch, off it, or ideally both. It’s a huge market of clueless haters – and BSkyB evidently know which side their bread is buttered.

The Huddersfield game contained all the usual ingredients; an undertone of desperate desire for United’s opposition to do well (typified by the rising cadence of anticipatory excitement if the home side managed a shot on goal or a dive for a penalty appeal); a less than sympathetic interpretation of the refereeing decisions on the day, the over-riding assumption being that Leeds got all of the breaks; last but not least, the presence of Sky Sports’ very own anti-Leeds hatchet man in Don Goodman, someone who can always be relied upon to see every facet of any game in a distinctly anti-Leeds light.

The game’s most notable early incident was a clash of heads between Leeds defenders Scott Wootton and Liam Cooper prior to a United corner. The incident was serious enough for Cooper to be knocked unconscious; Wootton fared better, but can hardly have been unaffected by such a harsh meeting of minds. Once Cooper had been replaced by Sol Bamba, with Wootton able to continue, the game proceeded. Over the remaining time in the first half, Wootton committed two challenges which were definitely late and inaccurate – not something we’re unfamiliar with, even when the lad’s head is as clear as it ever gets. Goodman was quick to criticise after the first foul, for which Wootton was booked. “Cynical”, he pronounced, making no allowances for Wootton’s legendary clumsiness or the quite probable after-effects of the Cooper incident. It was noticeable that a couple of studs over the ball challenges on Leeds by Huddersfield drew no criticism, just something bland along the lines of “no malice in that”.

Wootton’s second badly-timed challenge in quick succession had both commentators calling for a second yellow and United down to ten men. Technically, they had a point; the ref could easily have booked Wootton for a second time. But it’s just as possible that he was making allowances for the clash of heads incident, as well as the fact that, on both occasions, Wootton might be said to have been going for the ball, but simply not good enough to get anywhere near it. And the fact is that, seconds prior to Wootton’s second foul, there was a blatant push on Lewis Cook that went unremarked by the commentators and unpunished by the officials. Anyway, these things happen in football and the talking heads are extremely choosy about what they pick up on. Several agricultural Huddersfield challenges during the game passed by with no action from the ref and no adverse comment from Goodman. Late in the game, there was a blatant kick out at a Leeds player by one of the Tesco carrier bags – Goodman just mumbled something about frustration.

The biggest single example of frustration on the day, though, was Goodman himself. He was still whinging about Wootton’s presence on the pitch as the United defender played a long ball down the line, for Stuart Dallas and Chris Wood to combine before Dallas crossed brilliantly to put the first goal on a plate for Mirco Antenucci. A fine goal, which lacked any description of the build-up as Goodman was still riding his hobby-horse. When he recovered from the disappointment of seeing Leeds score, Goodman could only bemoan the fact that “Football is unfair, life is unfair.” So it is, and the very best of hard cheese. The fact is that this embittered ex-footballer only seems to see injustice when Leeds benefit from it.

For the rest of the game, the resentment about Wootton remained a theme, with the only variety provided by snide remarks about United manager Steve Evans being unable to predict his own future beyond the final whistle. Don Goodman’s contribution to a great day for Leeds and for the long-suffering United fans was to carp, moan, bitch and ultimately resort to needless speculation about the prospects of a man who seems to be relishing his task in the Elland Road hot-seat, as well as getting stuck into that task in his own inimitable style.

Ironically, there was scope for some really informed comment if the amateurs behind the microphones had only identified and acted upon it. Some robust challenges went unpunished in the game and, yes, Scott Wootton could easily have seen red before half-time. Most of the officials’ energies seemed devoted to off-field transgressions of the mildest variety. Antenucci got himself booked by taking off his shirt after the first goal, revealing a yellow undershirt with a birthday message on it. Players keep doing this, and they keep getting daft bookings for it. There’s little discretion for refs to do otherwise, and that’s a cause for concern, being ridiculous overkill on the part of the powers that be.

Similarly, the fourth official‘s  main preoccupation, so it seemed, was to stop Steve Evans celebrating after each goal. What a joyless, clueless, ignorant approach to running a game full of passion, commitment and occasional explosive joy. So what if Evans cavorts on the touchline? So what if Antenucci, or any other player, dispenses with his shirt after scoring? Nobody died, after all – and I’d rather see some of the studs-up thugs getting their rightful bookings than this pettifogging, spoilsport obsession with punishing people, simply for celebrating. These annoyingly-beige people might one day succeed in taking all the spontaneity and all the passion out of the game – and where, pray, will we be then?

This sort of arse-about-face set of priorities was and is something that commentators would do well to highlight, given their prominent public platform. But, no. They’d rather take the easy road of showing their true colours – i.e. anything but yellow blue and white when Leeds United are in town. It reflects poorly on Sky and their hatchet-men of choice; it shows them up in a distinctly amateurish and prejudiced light – and it’s happened so many times now that many Leeds fans I know have stopped even laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. They’re rightly annoyed that Leeds are singled out for such treatment – especially from a has-been nonentity like Don Goodman.

It would be wonderfully surprising and uplifting if BSkyB could eliminate this shoddy flaw in their production values, so that the commentary at Championship games might perhaps approach the quality and sheer professionalism that characterises most of their excellent football coverage. But I won’t be holding my breath. Leeds-bashing has long been a national sport, in the media and among rival fans – and Sky all too clearly have their markets to cater to, including that rather large anti-Leeds contingent I mentioned earlier. Still, it’s annoying for those of us who keep the faith and know that Leeds United is a proud and historic name still. And it’s a great pity that Sky, for all their glitz and gloss, continue to employ bitter little men with bitter little minds to sully that name where and when they can.

‘Twas ever thus though, way back to the days of the Don’s Super Leeds. It’s much more “in yer face” now, that’s the thing, with cameras at every game and Leeds-haters well infiltrated into every branch of the media. They should be aware though, that we know the bitter whys and the commercial wherefores of what goes on – and we won’t put up with it in silence. Certainly not on this blog – so think on, Goodman & Co. We’re watching you, so just mind your step.

Live TV Incentive for Huddersfield Town’s Cup Final – by Rob Atkinson

Huddersfield fans - a different breed

Huddersfield fans – a different breed

Excitement levels were rising today in the avenues, alleyways, streets and kennels of Huddersfield, with the news that their seasonal Cup Final against the club they’re utterly obsessed with, big brother from down the road, Leeds United, will be televised live by the Sky cameras.

Local boy Jack Russell was almost beside himself with gleeful anticipation as he gave his reaction to the momentous news. “It’s momentous news, this,” he yapped eagerly. “We have a bone to pick with Leeds after their two lucky wins against us last season. And it’s a bone that I’m off to dig up right now,” he added, before scampering off to cock his leg against the gas-lit street-lamp outside his owner’s ramshackle two-up, two-down.

Elsewhere, anticipation reached fever pitch amid a positive orgy of excited yelping and bottom-sniffing. The dark, satanic charity shops of West Yorkshire‘s most 19th Century spot were being stocked with Big Match merchandise: Town v Leeds collars, baskets and feeding bowls were flying out of the door as trade became brisk a few short hours after the news broke that the locals’ Cup Final would indeed be screened before the whole nation.

Huddersfield fans have mixed feelings about the comparatively long wait for their season’s high-point; the match does not take place until November 7th, with a lunchtime kick-off. But the feeling among the majority is that the league games leading up to the Final will enable Town to prepare adequately for a challenge they failed to meet twice last season. “It’s not abart results in t’other games afore t’Coop Final,” insisted local character Al Sation. “It’s all abart t’proper preparation, like, cos t’most impooortant thing is to beat Leeds, or at least gerra draw, or at t’very least keep it darn under three this time.”

Meanwhile, large areas of Huddersfield are expected to subscribe to mains electricity for the first time, in order to be able to use their new Sky TV subscriptions for The Big Day. Others have stated that they don’t hold with such new-fangled nonsense, and will attempt instead to run reconditioned Sky HD boxes off the gas supply or perhaps by steam. “If we gerrall this leccy nonsense tekkin’ a foot’old in t’Tarn, it’ll be t’beginning o’ t’end,” barked octogenarian rat-catcher Fred Bassett. “T’place’d go to t’dogs. Not that that’s a bad thing, tha knos…”

Leeds fans groups declined to comment specifically on the Huddersfield game, merely expressing mild surprise that the local derby against Sheffield Wendies had not been selected for live coverage. “We’re that used to being on the box,” said one world-weary Whites fan. “It’s getting to the point that we’re always on – but I suppose it is nice for the smaller clubs to have their time in the spotlight. Even Huddersfield!”, he added, chortling merrily.

The Leeds game will, in fact, be Huddersfield’s second live TV date of the season, in addition to Wolves away in October. But the John Smith’s Stadium outfit have admitted that the trip to Wanderers will now be treated as just another warm-up game in preparation for the real thing. Talk of fixtures against Leeds being treated as Cup Finals has long been a bone of contention among Terriers fans – but it certainly remains the case that this is the fixture that means more to them than any other. The televised Leeds game is set to gain the highest viewing figures of any TV event among Huddersfield viewers – with the possible exception of Crufts.

Premier League Set to Make Life Easier for Man U and Moyes – by Rob Atkinson

Man U line up reluctantly before having to play Man City

Man U line up reluctantly before having to play Man City

After a lengthy period of consideration following the remarks of Man U boss David Moyes on the eve of the season, the FA Premier League are set to act in recognition that the Biggest Club in the Universe have, after all, been unfairly treated.

Moyes had been annoyed that the Greater Manchester club, often fondly known by enemies and foes alike as the “Pride of Devon”, had been “dealt with as if we were just any club.” His complaint concerned the opening five games of the season, with Man U facing three clubs that they were scared of in the first five fixtures. “It was plainly unfair,” said the irate Scum boss. “Historically, this club deserve better than the treatment just any old club gets. Don’t listen to me, ask the gentlemen that edit the Mirror, Sun and Mail. Ask Sky TV. They’re all horrified at how we’ve just been lumped in with all the rest, let me tell you.”

Now the FA are set to take decisive action in the face of what are being seen as compelling arguments. “Mr Moyes has a point,” an ashen spokesperson said, yesterday. “We’ve perhaps taken our eye off the ball here, and maybe we’ve forgotten just who we’re dealing with.”

Unfortunately, it has been thought “too controversial” to expunge the results of the games concerned – Man U lost to Liverpool and Man City and could only just scrape a draw at home to Chelsea. “Unsatisfactory though it may be,” the FA announced, “these results will have to stand. However, we have ruled that it wouldn’t be fair to ask Man U to play these clubs again this season. We have decided therefore that we – ahem, they – will play Bury at home instead of City, Tranmere at home instead of Liverpool and Barnet away instead of Chelsea. The two scheduled Arsenal games will feature Arsenal Ladies, and instead of playing Spurs home and away, Man U will face a Showbiz XI captained by Mick Hucknall.”

David Moyes has cautiously welcomed what some may see as quite a generous gesture on the part of the game’s ruling body. “I can’t really agree it’s generous,” he snapped. “We dropped 8 points in those three games, and it seems we’re not getting them back. That’s nothing short of scandalous. We’ll just get on with it though as we always do at this club. At least it’s given us some scope to redress the balance a bit. We might have only got a point or two from that unfair run of fixtures if something hadn’t been done – now I’m confident we’ll get three or four. We at Man U will just hope the game’s authorities get it right first time in the future. All we ask is for our own way in everything.”

In a joint expression of regret and apology, BSkyB and the FA have asked Man U for their forgiveness in this sorry episode. “We are fully aware of the commercial implications of Man U failing to do well,” says the statement, in part. “We’ve seen the sales projections for Man U tat and Sky dishes in hotbeds like Cornwall and Kent and how business drops off if our heroes lose. Believe us, we’ll be extending the hand of friendship and help to Man U at every opportunity. As part of this, we can give assurances that the latest “New George Best”, Adnan Januzaj will not face any disciplinary action for his future dives to win penalties. Yesterday’s incident was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and the officials concerned have been disciplined.”

In a further gesture of support, the FA have agreed to expunge all Title records prior to 1993, send their referees on refresher courses at Man U’s Carrington Training Complex and deduct 15 league points from Leeds United with immediate effect.

Sky Sports Football Coverage Crisis Looms – by Rob Atkinson

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In the wake of this week’s Capital One Cup 3rd Round ties and the draw for the 4th round of the competition, a looming crisis for the BSkyB organisation – rights holders for live TV coverage – has been revealed.  The draw has thrown up ties between Newcastle and Manchester City, clearly a glamour tie – and also, before the determination of the West Bromwich versus Arsenal 3rd round game, the winners of that were pitted against Chelsea.  Arsenal duly went on to knock West Brom out on penalties, to confirm a London derby against Chelsea at the Emirates – and Sky TV were thrown into immediate crisis.

The problem lies in the unacknowledged Sky protocol known within the organisation by the secret code-phrase “Some Clubs Ultimately Matter” (SCUM).  The origin of this protocol goes back at least eight years in the case of the FA Cup.  Statistics for the secondary League Cup competition are not available owing to its comparative lack of importance. However, a Sky TV spokesperson admitted that the last Man U game not to have been broadcast live was “a bloody long time ago, like when Noah was a lad”.

The SCUM protocol is of such importance to Sky TV’s marketing and commercial departments that it is regarded as the prime reference document when live TV games are chosen.  Hence the dilemma now being faced by decision-makers, who normally at least attempt to put up some sort of justification for selecting yet another tedious Man U stroll at an embarrassingly quiet Theatre of Hollow Myths.  Off the record, a Sky commentator remarked, “We’ve got a problem this time.  People are going to want to see the two obvious stand-out ties in the next round.  Newcastle v City and Arsenal v Chelsea are both huge.  We’ll struggle to justify leaving one of those out to cover Man U reserves diving for penalties against a pallid side like Norwich”.

There was some glimmer of hope for the Sky executives in the short time between the draw being made and the end of the West Brom v Arsenal tie.  Sky Sports News covered the penalty shoot-out at the Hawthorns by remote reporting, and it would appear that pundit Alan McInally had failed to read the SCUM script.  Executives and studio presenters alike cringed as the Scot egged on Arsenal’s collection of spotty pubescent junior footballers to convert the penalties needed for victory.  It is expected that McInally may be carpeted and reminded of his responsibilities to shareholders.

“The problem is,” confirmed Sky’s un-named spokesperson, “if we failed to show a Man U cup game, we’d get flooded with complaints from Devon, Cornwall, the Home Counties – all over the south of England really.  That’s a lot of Sky subscriptions – we have to take our commercial survival seriously.  That’s why the SCUM protocol is so important to us.”

A high-level meeting is expected in the next few days to try and thrash out some acceptable fiction whereby either the game at Newcastle or the one at Arsenal can be omitted to allow the organisation to fulfill its obligations to SCUM and the Man U supporters, the bulk of whom live within easy travelling distance of Sky’s Isleworth HQ.  “We have to sort this out,” said one harrassed executive, “At the end of the day, SCUM is too vital to us all for considerations of mere football merit to prevail.”