Fan Diary – 15 August, 2010: Avoiding The Result (Part 2)

Okay. A late night rant (to be posted in the morning).

Before we berate the dubious intentions of a prominent Stateside soccer broadcaster, we should probably first go through that bit where we say that the opinions of Mr Ethan Armstrong don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of EPLTalk etc etc.

There. Done.

And now…

Fail Fox Soccer Channel… What. The. Hell.

What is this Fox Soccer Tonight crap?

Okay. Granted: I could have done better research. When I realized I couldn’t watch the live match, I went to (as usual) to search for the replay broadcast and I found it was at eleven pm. I assumed this meant the match would be shown in its entirety. My mistake. I had avoided sports channels and ignored text messages for the entire day so I could watch the full Liverpool/Arsenal match with an untarnished mind only to find that Fox Soccer Channel was compressing the match into an hour in a format called Fox Soccer Tonight.


I put a lot of energy into avoiding the match result all day so I could watch the match in its entirety tonight. I am a football fan. I am not tuning in for a summary. I’m not here for highlights. I am here to watch two full hours of sport (not a large amount of time when you consider I am an American and I’ll spend four hours watching Baseball or that other thing we call football).

Ok. Whatever. I’ve waited for this. I guess I’ll take what I can get…

Going into this broadcasting travesty, I told myself that it’s like watching a bad satellite feed. If  I ignore the useless Fox graphic that pops in between the jumps in play, I can simply imagine that the signal has kicked out and that is why I am missing the vital action.

I will say, since Fox kept the final outcome out of my grasp until the very end, I was able to enjoy the normal amount of angst and suspense that I demand of an important football match. That’s about all I can say positively about the late presentation of this fixture.

Okay, it was a gripping match in its own right. Chances were there both ways. Liverpool kept a good shape throughout the match even after Joe Cole’s dubious and very painful sending-off.

Even down to ten men (and even with the limited information provided by Fox), I could see Liverpool’s intent and drive were pure and hearty. There were some problems here and there but we can iron out those wrinkles as the new players get to know the veterans. Good signs for the season to come.

Then Arsenal briefly lost their defensive footing and young David N’Gog latched on to a juicy ball. He was almost Torres-like: the angle and the distance from which he took his shot. Ker! Pow! And then the ball was bouncing around the back of the net. I leapt and shouted silent praise as if I were there at Anfield. (My roommate was sleeping in the next room, so I had to mute myself.) Ooh: we had it!!!, I thought loudly. Victory!

More things happened. Torres came on. Hope abounded.

Then another jump in the action from FSC. The final minutes. Suddenly the scoreline is 1-1. What???


We saw many substitutions in real time. We saw replays of attacks that came to nothing. But FSC couldn’t be arsed (pun intended) to show the equalizer. Thanks.

So my frustrations at the final result aside…

Here’s my real gripe this evening: Fox Soccer Channel was willing to show the Fox Soccer Report twice within four hours (when this program basically repeats itself halfway through – that’s one hour of repetition) and also aired Dream Team – a crappy soccer soap opera that’s about as useful to serious sports fans as a David Beckham fragrance line – but it couldn’t bother to show either the Liverpool/Arsenal or the Bolton/Fulham match in its entirety. (Both were compressed into an hour each. The latter is airing as I type this.)

So here it is…

Fox Soccer Channel: you do not understand your own demographic. Nobody needs the extraneous garbage.

When I first heard of you, I dreamed of watching countless matches – live and on tape-delay – and soaking up dozens of classic matches weekly. You came through somewhat this summer (giving into the ubiquitous World Cup frenzy no doubt) with great English Premier League replays and terse documentaries on legendary rivalries and players. But as we slip into the regular season, you’ve let us all down.

Now, if we allow that the information in the Fox Soccer Report is valuable (this involves pretending that we can’t get most of this news more succinctly in the Sky Sports hour, also shown on FSC), we still do not need to see it twice within the same hour. So that show can be cut in half. At least. And if Dream Team is valuable to any serious football fan, it could only be that to those stuck on transatlantic flights with nothing else to watch but the animated version of Garfield  or the latest installment to the Twilight saga (assuming they forgot to bring a book).

There. That’s two hours cleared from this evening’s schedule alone. You are welcome.

Am I bitter about the Joe Cole sending off and the two dropped points? Yes. Very much.

But am I wrong about this programming disaster? No. I am not.

So, I present a brief open letter to FSC:

Dear Fox,

Please show the day’s matches in their entirety later on in the day. Please show classic matches in their entirety all the time. Please show more profiles on players we care about. Cut out the garbage. Cut out the garbage. (I am repetitive on purpose to appeal to your program director’s repetitive nature.) Show football. Show it in its full glory and it its full time allotted by time and tradition.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to forgive and move on. After all: I am a junkie and you have my fix. But let’s work on this together. I promise to soak up as much unadulterated football as you are willing to show. So please show more football. 

Keep in mind I come from an age when MTV played music videos and Comedy Central played comedians that were actually funny. So my standards are high. Help me out.



P.S. – Alright. I think I’m stuck working again for Liverpool’s match against Manchester City. I won’t get to see it live. So please try to have all this sorted out by then.



22 thoughts on “Fan Diary – 15 August, 2010: Avoiding The Result (Part 2)”

  1. Nice summary, Ethan, and I’m sorry you had to deal with an inferior wrap-up rather than the full match. I watched an hour wrap-up on Fox online for the Everton match, since I couldn’t watch it live online and it wasn’t televised for me to DVR it. I just try to tell myself that in the past, we had to live with a minute or so of highlights, so having all the matches available to us — even if compressed — is a step forward.

    Having said that, I can’t believe they didn’t even include the Arsenal goal. Seriously?! That’s just horrible. I think if Fox is going to charge $15 a month for the “privilege” of watching compressed replays, that those replays have to be edited with better care. Which means including all goals and shots on goal.

  2. The Liverpool-Man City match is on ESPN, so you can watch that in its entirety on

    Also, you should really consider either purchasing a DVR or becoming close friends with someone who already has one.

    1. I was glad that match was on ESPN, the picture quality, the presentation, everything was top class, I mean can’t FOX learn from ESPN? We do not see players come out of the tunnel, we do not see them shaking hands and we ALWAYS get a freaking 2-3 minutes delay too, no thanks to 15 mins brought to you by GEICO!

  3. once again I hate fsc, its a disgrace of a channel, that FOX soccer tonight is a good idea but poorly implemented, i mean whats the point of watching highlights of a match for an hr when you can add 30 more minutes and we watch a full game? I mean whose idea was this anyway? Who makes these decisions at FOX? The person probably has no idea what soccer means to fans like us. All they care about is commercials, commercials and commercials, acura, geico, verizon, world soccer shop, blah blah blah. I mean they do not give a f**k about us! Oh yea this was brought to you ‘in glorious HD’

    1. Watched the match this morning on (52 minute version). They showed the equalizer and the replay many times, I assume it was the same feed as on the tv.

      Personally I loved the format since I only had an hour free to watch.

    2. Do you really have to ask that question, “why don’t they add 30 minutes more?” because that would be 30 minutes more. This saves them time and allows them to show the re-plays of more games during the day.

      If you need to see the whole things, DVR it.

  4. The show is for people to catch up on games they missed…not for people wanting to watch the entire game. It allows me to see game I wouldn’t have watched. This is your error, not fsc’s

    1. Yeah, I agree with this. I’m not sure of the execution of it — and if they skipped the Arsenal goal that is simply not acceptable.

      However, I would guess that this is modeled heavily on what ESPN did this Summer with its evening World Cup Prime Time show which had ample portions of the game edited down.

  5. I had the game on dvr waiting to watch and then I find the result of the L v A game on MSNBC website. ON THE FRONT PAGE!!! They have never done this that I know of. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they are getting on the bandwagon but this wasn’t a ManU game or a US friendly so why did they cover it? Just to ruin my Sunday afternoon. I knew MSNBC was run by commies and now I have proof!!!

  6. Decided to watch the Chelsea – West Brom condensed game on Fox Soccer Tonight and they actually showed the FINAL SCORE on the ticker during the broadcast, which effectively spoiled the point of watching the rest of the program since I knew the result.

    Did they actually fix this and not include the Liverpool – Aresenal score on the ticker during this match? I had written off Fox Soccer Tonight because of that.

  7. Isn’t the Liv-Ars game being shown in its entirety about 15 times in the next 72 hours, both on FSC as well as regular FSN channels?

    As for Bolton-Fulham, I do believe they only broadcast it in its entirety once, right after the Chelsea match. Everything else was condensed.

    I, too, would love to see FULL matches from earlier years. I’d gladly take one 2 hour match from the ’80s or ’90s than four 30 minute versions.

  8. I’m afraid I’m in the “user error” camp too here. Plenty of full replays available. Plus you sound like a big enough fan to get yourself some type of DVR. There are cheap DIY options too if you don’t want to pay monthly fees.

    Having said that, I’m going to have to check out Fox Soccer Tonight tonight (9-10 pm Eastern) to see for myself if it’s really conceivable that they would have condensed out the goal! Now, my memory of watching live yesterday was that Fox/Sky were in the midst of showing a replay when the ball came in, though we did see Reina fumble the ball into the net. Is that what you are referring to? Or did they truly just skip the most important play of the match, and show the final 2 minutes after 1-1 equalized? I just find that completely unfathomable that any editor could have possibly made that decision. WIll check it out tonight.

  9. There seems to be a strange attitude on some of the comments here, which seems to betray a pretty sloppy idea of what proper football/soccer coverage should be. It seems that people here think that a one hour program on a major national channel, a program which specifically makes a big shout about being the all-action highlights of a particular game, somehow doesn’t have any obligation to be a professional presentation. Particularly because people should ‘get a DVR’ and watch the live replay instead. I don’t agree. If I want to watch three or four games in a weekend, then a decent 1 hour highlights program would be a very useful vehicle. But Fox Soccer Tonight is not a decent program. On the basis of the Liverpool-Arsenal coverage last night it’s absolutely dreadful. The smarmy used-car salesman anchorman style was completely lightweight. But the worst part was the editing. As stated above, though for some reason questioned by various subsequent comments , FST decided to completely edit out the Arsenal goal. And more than once a highlights chunk started with a corner-kick. How the corner came about you could only guess. I had a visitor from England watching the coverage with me and I was embarrassed.
    I’m grateful for all of the HD coverage now though, so am living in hope that this particular summary program will improve (and I’ll continue to watch the live games wherever possible).

  10. They certainly missed the Arsenal goal, for better or worse, the highlight of the entire match. The timing of the editing was just off, it felt like the person that did it had little or no experience editing soccer matches. Also, the half second filler of dead silence between edits is a bit awkward. The PL review show or even FSR match of the week does a far better job.

  11. Well FSC does suck, as of this weekend i can no longer DVD games on FSC they have now put a copy protected signal on the channel, I can still DVD the games on ESPN but man this is stupid, People will say well why not DVR but i usually DVD games to give to my friends to watch mid week and just like to have great games for my personal collection..well its back to VHS thanks alot FSC! also the 1 hour nightime replay on the same day blows, i can see during the week the hour replay but there should be a same day replay..FSC just keeps getting worse, atleast though we dont have to pay 15 dollars a game on pay per view like in the old days

  12. Is it a new dvd recorder?Or is it Sony because either of those might be your problem. Also you can buy an adapter for it that will overide that.

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