Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hooray for autumn

Summer is nice but, especially in odd-numbered years, June and July and the first part of August are sadly football free. But it's all back and this year I seem spoilt for choice. Not only has 'five' (Channel 5) started to show Serie A games on Sunday afternoon's in Football Italiano but I have suddenly acquired via the 'kind' people at Virgin media Setanta sports -- so I can miss Premier league games during the kids' tea time/In the night garden time, but may be able to catch the odd SPL fixture (why?) or even Bundesliga, Portuguese league, and -- when I'm really lucky -- live Conference (sorry, 'Blue Square Premier') games. They even had Cambridge United a few weeks ago. The five coverage is pretty poor, unfortunately, and they seem to lack the wit and fun of the old Channel 4 (and then Bravo) Gazzetta programmes. They don't have James Richardson, for a start. And the title is wrong. Do they think we won't understand 'calcio'?

But best of all is the BBC Radio Five commentary. It's a real saviour for parents who, let's face it, aren't going to be allowed 2 hours of TV during the weekend to devote to watching a game. You can be doing something else while it's on, and still feel the excitement. It's perhaps even better in the car. For me, it certainly evokes the relief of getting back to the car after fighting your way around the shops on a Saturday afternoon, particularly around Christmas. A few minutes of commentary sets you up for a cup of tea and the radio when you get home. Or it reminds me of driving home from visiting the parents on Boxing Day. Special times.

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