What I object strongly too is the exposure of English sides on Scottish television. I can watch coverage of every single English league game on a Saturday night from the EPL on Match of the Day to the lower leagues on the championship show. Yet I can’t sit with my eight year old son and watch Celtic or the other SPL games until late Sunday night at a time when most parents will rightly forbid kids from watching as the next day is a school day.
Most of us have happy memories on a Saturday evening watching Sportscene with Archie McPherson and latterly, Rob McLean. They always showed highlights of English games but the focus of the programme was to show case the match of the day from the Scottish leagues.
If the SPL is serious about better exposure of the game then it should look at the following proposals:
1. Insist that highlights of all Saturday SPL games are shown on Sportscene on a Saturday evening and not on a Sunday. Sky can’t object because they already allow coverage of the EPL on the same night on Match of the Day. This will definitely lead to better viewing figures. Scots fans also pay a TV licence and we are entitled to have coverage of our teams on a level par with the English.
2. Have one of the terrestrial channels (BBC/STV) show highlights of any Sunday SPL games early on a Sunday evening. Perhaps STV would consider resurrecting Scotsport ?
3 . Campaign to have goals from SPL games shown on Match of the Day for the benefit of English and Irish based fans. Without becoming too political we are still part of the UK and a Celtic fan in London has the same right to see coverage of his side as a Man Utd fan has staying in Glasgow.
4. If Sky/ESPN don’t make a decent offer for the new SPL contract then give it to the BBC on the insistence that games are shown UK wide to maximise coverage of the Scottish game. This would be a big bargaining tool with future sponsors who would see a greater coverage of their product than they would receive on satellite channels.
I do realise BBC show internet highlights of SPL games but that’s not good enough. Not everyone owns a computer and older people in particular rely on the TV as their main medium for football.
The obsession with English football is not new. When I was younger the main teams were Leeds, Liverpool and Notts Forest and as kids we used to pretend to be Billy Bremner, Kevin Keegan and John Robertson.
But we have to start marketing our product properly and it can’t all be down to money. The football authorities in Scotland are doing the country a disservice and it’s about time they started new initiatives such as I have suggested.
Scots football fans are being short changed and brainwashed with English football.
We deserve better.