Celtic fans put up with a lot from the mainstream media, but whereas fans can ignore the national papers and rely on the blogs for information and analysis the same does not apply to the way the game is covered live.
Whether it’s on radio or TV we are pretty much stuck with what’s already out there.
That is bad in many ways.
Today’s game at Dens was covered by Sky.
They recently won the TV contract for exclusive rights to SPL football far into the future.
As everyone is aware, that is a decision that has not gone down terribly well with fans, who would have given their overwhelming support to BT. Their coverage of Scottish football is vastly superior to that of the EPL obsessed network.
It’s almost over, though, and we’re stuck with Sky. Which means, unfortunately, that we are stuck with the general contempt they show towards our national game. Much worse is that we are stuck with one of the worst commentary teams in the business.
The English games get a decent shake of it. They have professionals doing the analysis.
What do we get?
Andy Walker, a man who has made an entire career out of stating the obvious as if it were blinding insight.
And very often, he gets even the easy stuff wrong.
Today he was woeful.
His sycophancy when the Ibrox NewCo is playing really is irksome.
His commentary on Celtic games, where he errs on the side of the opposition every time one of our players wins a 50/50 ball, is worse.
He is unbearable on days like that, days when he calls every decision against us, when he criticises every player, when he second guesses the manager and the tactical approach Brendan takes to the game. He regurgitates rumours and negative stories.
And he gets so excited whenever it looks as if we’re going to drop points or something that you’d swear he was ready to burst.
Walker played for us. But I don’t know a single Celtic fan who can stand him. It’s not even the apparent anti-Celtic bias that we find hard to take, it’s his absolute cluelessness. Does he even know the rules of the game he’s spent the better part of his life in?
On top of not appearing to get the basics, he’s also spoken in defence of diving, which he says is a part of the game which he finds perfectly acceptable. That, alone, makes his commentary hard to stomach, in particular when he condemns the behaviour of players for some things whilst excusing one of the most egregious forms of cheating in the sport.
The idea that we will need to endure this well into the future is almost as disheartening as the news that BT had lost the contract. Celtic fans need to keep making our distaste for Walker plain, lest Sky believe we want to hear from him.
He’s one of many reasons why a lot of people aren’t going to bother renewing their subscriptions.
He is just awful.
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