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Falling In Love With Half Time of

Call me crazy, but during half-time of the FA Cup goal fest today between West Ham United and Burnley on, I remembered something I’ve been meaning to tell you. I like, with a capital L, the unique experience of watching and listening to the raw feed beamed by the TV producers during half-time of mid-week matches. While TV networks around the world are breaking to much-needed TV commercials, we sit and watch what is happening at the ground when the TV cameras are off.

During half-time, you get to hear things you normally wouldn’t. The loudspeaker booming as the stadium announcer introduces a half-time penalty contest. Or the murmur of the crowd, distinctly quieter than during the game but there’s still a buzz about it as people continue to chat about the first half they just saw. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can hear the TV presenters preparing for the next segment so you hear them have a chat between themselves or with their producer.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s not Academy Award winning content. Sometimes it can be boring if nothing much happens, but I often find it a pleasing thing to have on in the background when I’m checking e-mail and updating the EPL Talk site at the same time that I have on.

But still, I enjoy having it on. It’s comforting. It feels like you’re almost there. Or at least a lot more connected with the football club and the ground. I’m sure, with plugged into a large screen TV (thanks to the magic of HDMI cables) accompanied by a great sound system, that the game comes even more alive as the atmosphere drifts into your living room.

As a bonus, there are also half-time news shows with plenty of archive footage of great players and great Premier League games from the past couple of decades.

To me, watching the halftime broadcast is a great feeling. It makes me imagine that I’m there at the ground with beer in one hand, a pie in another as I talk with fellow die-hard supporters who eat, love and breathe in the game, just like me.

Don’t worry, though. I’m not addicted* to it, but I’ll leave it on whenever I get a chance (unless of course there are games being played at the same time or when I want to check the highlights of a Saturday 3pm GMT kickoff also shown on

Thinking more deeply about this, I love half-time at soccer matches. It’s the perfect length (typically 15 minutes) and gives you enough time to get a drink, a bite to eat, a trip to the rest room and a stretch before you’re ready for the game to kick off again. There’s a chance to ponder your team’s performance. There’s time to debate hotly contested referee decisions or how crap the new goalkeeper is. There’s time to talk with strangers about our chances of winning a title or getting promoted. There’s time to let the whole soccer experience soak in.

So, don’t look at me in a strange way if you see me peeking at the half-time raw feed.

* Many of you readers may not have tried watching it before, so if you haven’t, give it a try a few times and you can see if you enjoy it or not. And before I forget, if you haven’t signed up for a free trial to, you still have time. If you sign up now, you’ll have free access until end-of-day Wednesday so you can watch the Premier League, Champions League and have access to all of the archives. Those matches include Arsenal against Stoke City on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur against Blackpool on Tuesday and Marseilles versus Manchester United in the Champions League. The Arsenal and Tottenham matches are live. The Man United one is available on demand after 5pm ET on Wednesday. Sign up today for the free trial to

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  1. William

    February 24, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Hi gaffer!

    I 100 percent agree with your posts, i too love the half time during im a stats guy so i love seeing all the stats during premier league half time and also ligue 1. I just recently subscribed last week on the 13th, im paying the monthly btw and it looks like i wont be cancelling anytime soon because im really satisfied so far. i need to get me one of them hdmi cables you mentioned too!

  2. NotTheNoob

    February 22, 2011 at 5:09 am

    As a Dish Network subscriber, I get Fox Soccer Channel HD. On top of that, I pay a $15 monthly premium for Fox Soccer Plus. Other than the above described halftime “content”, is there anything I’m missing by not giving Fox another $15 a month for

    From what I’ve read recently in the comments here on EPLTalk,’s stream quality isn’t always up to par.

    • The Gaffer

      February 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

      NTN, the biggest thing you’re missing are the average of 3-4 Premier League games that are being shown at the same time on as the one Premier League match that is shown on Fox Soccer Plus. With it being an online broadband channel, they have a lot more bandwidth to make several games available at once.

      The Gaffer

  3. lucky bamboo

    February 22, 2011 at 12:21 am

    It’s rattling nice article. Thanks for conversation about it as I am curious in this subject.

  4. eplnfl

    February 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    It is an interesting thought Chris. Most American viewers miss the being there feel. We have no experience base with it. Knowing what goes on at a halftime of a NFL or NBA game allows me to be comfortable in leaving the tv and getting on to other halftime activities, like getting something to eat.

    One of the great things of recent coverage of the EPL since ESPN came on board has been the bumper coverage of pre-and post game activities from the venue. FSC has tried to improve in this area and Super Sunday has become a much better show. When FSC used to go right to a nameless announcer on a international feed of the match you felt a bit lost at sea as a viewer.

    The raw feed of the field is better than a cold studio production of halftime highlights from the FSC studio in LA but not as good as a full production out of Bristol with cut ins to the field announcers.

  5. interested observer.

    February 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    gaffer, your site is wonderful, glorious, amazing.

    but if you’re in any way benefiting from providing glowing reviews of soccer-delivery services (i.e., you got that radio from sirius), then PLEASE say so. it will make your site all the more respectable.

    i too enjoy the halftime chatter. you’re right on.

    • The Gaffer

      February 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      EPL Talk is an independent site. And I write what I believe in and what interests me (and what I think interests my readers). Yes, I have an affiliate agreement with As do many other sites out there such as 101 Great Goals. But thanks to you, the readers, and the advertisers and affiliates, we can continue to grow the site by taking the little of what revenue is generated to pay the hosting costs, dedicated server maintenance, accounting costs, podcast hosting and all of the other costs that are associated with keeping this site online.

      The Gaffer

    • trickybrkn

      February 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      He does tighten the screws on Fox Soccer when they get it wrong as well..

  6. trickybrkn

    February 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    the Old Setanta extra game on Directv was also a direct feed.

    I remember once a producer was scolded for not providing stat/personal info on a player… and I wish I remembered who the announcer was, but he kept saying it made me look stupid over and over. and he also kept saying you sure we are clear… Not in America on Setanta Extra.

  7. Joe

    February 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I enjoyed this effect until last Wednesday, when the half time loudspeaker at the Emirates informed me of Shaktar’s 3-1 lead over Roma (I was planning to watch that game right after Arsenal-Barcelona). Of course Arsenal would play double spoiler to a Spurs fan by beating Barcelona AND announcing a result I was actively avoiding.

  8. sucka99

    February 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I also liked that on the Champions League/Europa League broadcasts on DirecTV’s feed.

    I also think FSC has been stepping up their Super Sunday coverage with phone interviews from England as well as brief discussions of other leagues (like Germany, France and Spain). Hell they had an interview with the Leyton Orient chairman 10 mins before kickoff at Brisbane Road. You could hear the stadium noise in the back.

    And with Martino there it has more of a Fox NFL Sunday feel to it.

  9. che

    February 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    if there was enough live match of Liverpool on I would definitely pay 15 dollars per month. But there’s not enough matches and most of them were on demand so i cancelled my subscription.

    it would be great if i choose only 1 team matches to watch. Not random matches that offer me.

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