Monday, August 16, 2010

Two of our staple Saturday morning and early afternoon pre game entertainment shows reached the grand old age of 15 on Saturday.

Before all these TV enforced early kick off games on a Saturday, the best pre-match warm up for East Fife's action on a Saturday was Soccer AM in the morning on TV followed by Off The Ball on the radio in the afternoon and, for a little while, post match as well.

Both are still going strong, but the quality of them has become markedly different from each other.

As soon as Tim Lovejoy, Fenners, Sheephead and Robbie Knox left Sky, Soccer AM has been rapidly going downhill fast. The best way to watch the show now is to record it and then fast forward through all the dross and dull guests, usually saving yourself about two hours in viewing time. Better this than to take your chances with the (not really) Best Bits show later on.

Back on Saturday for it's 16th season, Helen and Max have found themselves cut down to two hours. Clearly someone else has noticed that the quality isn't there any more to last the whole three hours.

Max has really grown on me over the past two seasons and has become a very likeable presenter but some of the "gags" and segments in the show last season were pretty poor. Hopefully the reduction in airtime can allow them to filter out the dross and just concentrate on the quality. There were some promising new sections on Saturday, but I still found myself quickly going through a lot of the show.

It's a shame, but of course we at AFTN will always hold the series in high regard following our two "Fancam" apearances on it in the early years. Both of which should be up on You Tube by the end of the year!

BBC Radio Scotland's Off The Ball on the other hand has stuck to their same winning formula over the years (although they had their airtime cut post match but extended pre match) and is still an entertaining listen. I really miss driving around Scotland listening to it pre-match now and especially after the game. SO much better than listening to the pish that is Jim Traynor's phone in.

It's a shame that many will now forego it in favour of catching the early kick off game in the pub, in their house or on the radio instead.

Those that do that and exiles the world over can still listen to the full two hour show via the BBC iPlayer on demand for a week after or catch the "best bits" via the weekly Podcast. Don't forget there's the Saturday and Sunday editions of the show now too!

If you've never heard it, then give it a listen. The humour's maybe not the sharpest out there but at least it's funny and Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove have been together with it from the start and are as amiable as ever. It's been a 15 happy years and I think a huge key to their success is that a lot of the show is fan driven and relies on emails and phone ins from the fans for a lot of the content and humour. That's what makes shows like Off The Ball and people like Danny Baker have continued success.

I'll always remember my first, and so far only, guest appearance on the show! It was the day East Fife won promotion at Clyde on April 13th 1996. It was Stevie Archibald's era and the 2-2 draw saw us go up with three games to spare. Stuart and Tam had me on as the show's guest that week pre-match, put a taxi on from Glasgow to Cumbernauld for me for the match and then back to the studio after the game for post game round-up, complete with champagne celebration, and then out for drinks in Glasgow afterwards. Great team and great hospitality.

Happy Birthdays guys. Here's to another 15 years at least. You're still showing the other bigger name shows how to keep popular. Don't ever change!

1 comment:

  1. Only good thing about Soccer AM was seeing a bit more of the Soccerette

    Can't wait until Danny Baker returns with his Saturday morning show.


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