Additionally, in the first airing of the show, when Manchester United played Southampton, the panel took questions from supporters in a pub, while Chris Kamara, of Soccer Saturday fame, spent an uncomfortable amount of time explaining where Jose Mourinho would sit in the Old Trafford dugout.
Of course, at the end of the working week, it’s preferable to put something on the TV that’s not strenuous to concern. But the rudimentary take on such a significant contest in the Premier League dampened the enthusiasm that had been bristling for the game all day.
In an age when soccer coverage and broadcasting can be moribund and awash with tired cliches, Sky do deserve credit for trying something different with this fresh facet of the Premier League weekend. Just two shows in, there will naturally be some teething problems too, especially for a program with such a laissez-faire ethos.
Even so, the emphasis of the Friday night coverage is unlikely to shift; the program that follows FNF, Carling’s In Off the Bar is a jumble of ghastly gimmicks, guffaws and banter.
That’s unlikely to appease supporters. While there times throughout the week, especially on a Friday, when standards can be slackened in many aspects of life, one thing most followers of soccer are unbendingly serious about is the game itself.
Sky have a fine track record for stimulating their viewers and with so much at their disposal in terms of personalties, technology and access, have the potential to do so again with this new addition to the Premier League calendar. But for the time being, FNF feels a little forced and has left plenty longing for the traditional broadcasting style.