You can always tell a good soccer show but how many things you learn or how many times you laugh. With Setanta’s The Friday Football Show, there are few of either but the show definitely has potential.
Featuring James Richardson as the presenter (best known Stateside as the host of the Football Weekly podcast from The Guardian), the Englishman is more subdued and less humorous in the studio but he does slip in a few wisecracks here and there.
In the episode I watched, joining Richardson in the studio were former England greats Viv Anderson and Les Ferdinand. For the most part, Ferdinand and Anderson didn’t add much of interest but they both livened up when there was subject matter they could relate to such as their response to the Graham Poll interview where Ferdinand, especially, provided exceptional insight into the relationship between players and referees. Ferdinand explained how he used to know Poll from their days in non-league football.
Speaking of interviews, the show is full of them. In the same episode, Steve McManaman provided his analysis. Boxer Ricky Hatton shared his thoughts on the new Manchester City. Newcastle’s Steven Taylor recounted how he used to sit in St James’s Park and tried to be a ballboy for the club so he could get closer to the action.
There were also interviews with representatives from Northern Ireland who are involved in the game there and could share their thoughts regarding how former Northern Ireland manager (and now Fulham boss) Lawrie Sanchez was. Getting the insight from several people painted quite an interesting picture of Sanchez (shame he couldn’t be interviewed too).
In addition to the interviews, there was the obligatory roundup of midweek match highlights and a focus on the current league table (a poor decision especially this early in the season).
The show rounded out with a couple of humorous moments. The first were some clips of funny moments caught on tape including club trainers, who were very overweight, running on the pitch, and the finale which featured the “Match Day Minstrel” playing acoustic guitar and singing songs about football. The glory days are coming back for Man City, indeed.
The Friday Football Show airs on Setanta Sports in the United States at 6:30pm ET and is shown again at 11pm ET.