Friday, May 7, 2010

The first legs of the Scottish League playoff semi-finals took place on Wednesday, thankfully without East Fife being part of the relegation aspect. They all seemed like good games, on paper at least, and the second legs tomorrow are mostly delicately poised.

It’s a pity that there’s no longer national TV coverage of the three lower divisions. Would make for better viewing at home than some of the SPL games we’ve had this season. Of course the TV companies think that any game not involving Rangers or Celtic, or one that features smaller sides, isn’t worthy of getting an audience. I think the amazing six all draw between Motherwell and Hibs on Wednesday shows otherwise.

I appreciate that BBC Alba has been groundbreaking in televising First Division games and they’re apparently going to be showing both legs of the First/Second Division promotion playoff final. As good as this is, it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough for what I want to see on our screens.

Yes, I am very aware I’m going to be in the small minority in this with regards to the general television watching Scottish public!

I watched a pile of old videos the other week of loads of East Fife games from the 80’s and 90’s. A time when both the BBC and STV maybe still didn’t care about the lower leagues, but at least paid them lip service by showing highlights/goals from every game in every division.

It was great to settle down in front of your TV at the weekend and watch the likes of Dougie Hope in action, whilst trying to spot yourself in the crowd. No HD, 3D or 56” screens for that, which is probably a good thing.

Nowadays you can’t even get a Scottish Cup semi final shown live if it doesn’t feature big enough teams.

This season the Beeb in England has done all four leagues there proud. Saturday night viewing of BBC1 is now a must for football fans. First Match of the Day and then the Football League Show. They even launched their “Late Kick Off” programme regionally in England, to round up local action from all the leagues along with behind the scenes news and interviews and archive footage of area greats from the past. Great stuff and hats off to them for what they’ve done. And all on council telly too!

That’s how football should be covered. Locally and in depth. How come Scotland misses out on such things? Where’s our regional round up?

The Scottish Football League really need to take a long, hard, serious look at how they market the game in Scotland. They should be trying to get their product out there and not just on bizarre gaelic channels. Even if it’s for free and without the networks paying for the footage. What have they got to lose? It can only promote the game and hopefully every club would benefit from new punters coming through the turnstiles.

We might want to make sure the television gantry at Bayview is facing the stand though, so as not to frighten poor unsuspecting newbies away with the bleak, desolate look. I don’t think HD will make that view look any better.

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