I read a news report yesterday which summed up the utter half-wittery of the BBC, and it ought to give us all food for thought.
The BBC is to screen the 12 July Orange Walks in Belfast, live, for viewers on BBC Northern Ireland. Anyone with a Sky subscription will be able to able to watch it basically, if that’s what takes your fancy.
This is what your license payer’s money is getting spent on, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends and comrades. On screening naked bigotry and its disgusting, backward adherents. At the same time, they’re in competition with Sky, BT and Premier Sports for the rights to broadcast the Linfield game, which would go some way towards chilling out those in our support who otherwise wouldn’t get to see the game.
If they miss out on that you can console yourselves with the knowledge that the more scummy Linfield fans (and a lot of their Scottish brethren) at least got to sit on their fat arses and watch the parades from home. That much has already been solidified on the schedule.
For the rest of us, tough.
It’s no surprise. The national broadcaster couldn’t give a damn about football fans in Scotland. We’re the one niche community that doesn’t get its own TV channel. Sevco may well wind up on the small screen; the BBC was well on board with the Great Adventure, and they even elevated the Pawnbrokers Cup to a prime spot whilst that mob were in it, but Celtic games? Hell, no. Too much cost to bring us sport.
This time they have a chance to do it properly.
A lot of our fans would have gone over there had tickets been available; the peculiar, rancid nature of the “cultural significance” of the date makes that impossible. It’s not the fault of our fans. It’s not, by the way, the fault of Linfield either who have no control over when these ties are played. It’s just what happened, and whether you agree with our not taking tickets or not we have to deal with the reality of it.
Our supporters won’t be there. It would be scandalous to disenfranchise them. Any kind of deal which limits the audience to those who can, or will, pay a satellite subscription fee does exactly that. Again, the peculiar nature of this game means there will be a higher TV audience than a Champions League qualifier would get … I expect BBC to take advantage of that, bring this tie to terrestrial TV and give people who want to watch it the chance to see it.
If they can show a bigot fest they can find the money for this game. Anything else will be seen, rightly, as selling our fans short and ask the question of why we bother to pay a license fee at all. We don’t all want to watch Eastenders and sectarian marches.