Older readers in the UK will remember what sports porgrammes used to be like. Frank Bough or Dickie Davies would sit in front of cheap sets, look directly to camera and have you contemplating suicide until they showed some goals. SKY and Soccer AM changed all that with bright, fresh ideas, tons of proper celebs talking football all along with a nod to the American type of sports coverage.
All this makes what Channel 67 do all the more bizarre.
One of the things that has hamstrung Celtic over the years is the constant need to put square pegs in round holes. Folk who do announcing also write columns, folk who edit magazines also do commentary and so on. In the past I have totally slaughtered the Celtic Media Team, perhaps too vitriolic at times, but I feel that they still are not getting it. Have a look at what Paul Brennan at CQN has managed to create with his new CQ magazine and CQN TV. We in America pay $400 a year for a service that last night was a repeat followed by the game followed by nothing.
That's not good enough.
Jim Craig had his faults but the decision to let him go and then put in Gregor Kyle was absolute madness. Apart from being an ex player, Jim encouraged folk to email in from all over the world and it gave you a sense there were thousands just like you at their computers. He also took time to read out and reply to comments as well. A nice personal touch that goes down well at 7am on a Sunday morning. Now, when we don't get repeats, we get a pre-match show with Gregor and someone like Mark Henderson and Laura Brannan. All seem like nice people but this is 2011, I'm no interested in hearing why Mark Wilson is such a valuable asset to Celtic cause he's always available for an interview. If you're going to be a pundit, who hasn't played the game, you have to have a personality that people either really hate or really love, and there's nothing like that at Channel 67.
Another thing that strikes me as bizarre is that one week Paul Cuddihy is commentator, the next he is a pundit. Does that happen anywhere else? I have to confess, I like Paul Cuddihy on it as a commentator, he can do the job and can insighttful but he absolutely must have an ex player beside him at all times.
The is also the ridiculous aspects of Channel 67 when before the St Johnstone game they show five minutes of highlights of Dunfermline v St Johnstone for reasons I cannot begin to even fathom.
Tony Hamilton will often do commentary for away games or punditry for The Online Huddle and again this does not work. Tony is surrounded by players and will have wee tit-bits and so on but it is impossible for him to be objective because of this. There is no possibility of him saying "Actually, Loovens was pish today" and we need to move beyond that because fans are more aware than they have ever been. Tony, I'm sure, has the power to change things, he must,
I do hear a couple of supporters have been approached to get more involved, not really sure of that from a supporter sense as it's a lose-lose for the supporter, but hopefully it means they have recognised that it's not working.
My own format idea would be a proper presenter every week pre and post match, with one ex player in every week to talk us over the game. Pre and post match interviews from the tunnel and maybe one half time feature, preferably one that we haven't seen 12 times already.
Look around the net, the supporters are not just leaving Celtic behind in these kind of things, they are actually so far ahead of them it is no longer a race.