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.
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 livesoccertv.com (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???
BUT FOX NEVER SHOWED THE ARSENAL GOAL!!
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:
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.