Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Romance of the Cup?

The SFA website was last week trumpeting how the weekend in Scottish football would be dominated by the exciting quarter finals of the Scottish Cup.

Can’t really argue with that I suppose. But only two games kicked off at 3pm on Saturday. To watch the Celtic game, if, like me, you live in the one area of the developed world that Rupert Murdoch can’t transmit to, you would have to have been of the opinion that the best way to get Saturday night out of your system was to be back in the pub by midday on Sunday. The Scottish Cup – football for alcoholics.

And the fourth fixture? Wednesday night in front of a crowd so paltry that I began to wonder if they’d all stayed at home to watch Relocation, Relocation on the TV. Because I’d wager that the BBC’s live coverage of the game wasn’t top of the TV pops last night.

(That, incidentally, could be down the truly awful combination of Paul Mitchell and Ian McCall in the TV gantry but that, as they, is another story.)

I find nothing remotely romantic about any game played on a Sunday. Midweek games I’ve always enjoyed but, unless it’s a replay, I think they ruin the feel of a Scottish Cup tie.

What about the draw? Even that is a television event (although one that is always fatally flawed by the people doing the draw. Is it just football people? Or would Helen Mirren look like a Woodentop picking numbers out of a Perspex bowl?) brought to us live by the BBC and Sky. Families up and down the country will no doubt be gathered round their sets for that!

Still I suppose football’s moved on. It’s just that on TV Scottish football always has the feel of an amateur dramatics group rehearsing Hamlet. All the ingredients are there but seem fatally undermined by a lack of professionalism. That’s not a dig at the players but from commentary to camera coverage to the complete disregard of the fans convenience we always seem to be trying to ape other people and failing miserably.

Money, alas, makes the world go round!