There may be a credit crunch on but that hasn’t stopped Setanta Sport from splashing out a record amount to secure live broadcast rights for the Scottish Premier League. The TV company has paid out a whopping £125 million for a four year deal, taking them up to 2014. It’s the biggest ever TV deal in Scottish football history and dwarfs the present contract, worth a paltry £54.5m. You have to say well done to the SPL for securing such a sensational agreement and at the same time, wonder why Setanta are willing to pay out such a ridiculous amount of money, particularly in the current financial climate, for a 2 horse race.
Manchester United’s Gary Neville may not have given up on his playing career just yet but at 33 and having missed almost the whole of last season with injury, it’s going to be hard for the England full back to force his way back in to proceedings at Old Trafford. However, Neville can at least rest easy that another career is beckoning after his performances as a studio pundit with ITV at Euro 2008. Neville was a breath of fresh air – telling it like it was, opinionated, forceful and pretty erudite too. Over on the other side, Alan Hansen did his normal trick of churning out his stock sentences' to suit whatever game he was watching (grit and determination being the most used), Alan Shearer was no where near as bad as too many media reports would have you believe and Martin O’Neill, when not away with the fairies, was his usual interesting but slightly barmy self. Neville though probably made the biggest impact of the ‘sofa boys’ and a long career in front of the cameras awaits.
Let’s agree that Euro 2008 was one of England’s finest hours. Nearly 3 weeks of football and not one goal conceded, not one player booked or sent off, no dodgy headlines involving dentist chairs or WAGS and no crowd trouble. Way to Fabio, way to go.
How Low can you go
Talking of finest hours, you have to hand it to the German coach Joachim Low for getting his side so far in the competition. They were average in the group stages where they even suffered defeat at the hands of Croatia, admittedly had a purple patch against Portugal in the quarter finals and then struggled to overcome a makeshift Turkey side missing half a dozen regulars in the last four. But the fact is that Germany always do enough to give themselves a chance and with players who, man for man, would struggle to break in to other international outfits. Interestingly, many pundits have named their ‘Team of the Tournament’ over the past few days and Michael Ballack is about the only German player who merits a mention. Perhaps Herr Low motivated his charges by promising them a few of his tight fitting, hand made white shirts that he modelled with such style on the touchline. Whatever it was, he should bottle it and sell it, perhaps to a few higher paid but lesser successful coaches.