The start of the 2013/14 Premier League season is now within spitting distance. Good times. I am excited, but I’m also concerned about a couple of things…
Will BT Sport and Sky Sports be fit to broadcast?
One of my concerns is whether BT Sport and Sky Sports will actually be fit to broadcast in time for the opening day of the season proper, August 17.
Plenty of dust needs to settle first. Indeed, so busy are BT Sport and Sky Sports, part of BSkyB, slugging it out for consumer attention – with marketing hyperbole being frivolously splattered across billboards here, there and everywhere – that they may actually lose sight of their primary purpose: broadcasting.
BSkyB has successfully defended its territory against the likes of Setanta and ESPN in the past – like a demented Jack Russell with a bone twice its body size – and the Isleworth-based organisation still possesses the rights to the majority of Premier League matches, with BT Sport’s £738m outlay entitling them to televise 38 matches from the English top-flight over the next three seasons.
However, the folk at Sky Sports have shown signs that they’re a bit rattled by the emergence of BT Sport. An example being the 92 Live initiative undertaken by Sky Sports News, whereby they visited each of the 92 league clubs all in one day. What is that point in that? Who is interested? There’s no point and frankly no one is interested. Give us free beer instead. Or raw meat. Or a calendar of the female presenters. Anything else, in fact!
A mediator needs to intervene and treat BT Sport and Sky Sports as though they are children in the playground…”Make up now boys”… “Go on, shake hands and play nicely together”. Just don’t ask them to play football nicely together – that’ll set ‘em off again!
He bites, you know!
I’m also concerned about the Luis Suarez situation, deeply concerned, in fact.
Now, Brendan Rodgers doesn’t look like the type of guy that you want you’d want to get into a scrap with unless one of your mates is Bain, and that he’s willing to jump in if, as is likely, things aren’t going your way.
However, someone should remind Rodgers of something before he gets drawn even deeper into this on-going, somewhat laborious feud with Suarez, and decides that he still wants to keep the Uruguayan hostage.
The guy bites.
In fact, quite a few individuals are skating on thin ice with regard to player hostage situations at present. Indeed, I actually fear that, one morning soon, my copy of the currant bun will land on the door mat and I will be faced with one of the following horrifying back-page headlines:
“Rodgers fails to show up at Melwood after being bitten during the night!”
“David Moyes assaulted by Shrek look-a-like near the Trafford Centre!”
“Daniel Levy slips on banana skin outside Miami holiday home”
Stranger things have happened.
Paddy Power Premier League Specials!
The subject of biting takes me nicely on to the cracking array of Premier League Specials that Paddy Power has put together.
The first is an offer of 33/1 about any Premier League player to be sent off for biting another player. Hopefully this won’t happen, as, before long, players will be taking to the pitch sporting muzzles if vampire-like behaviour resurfaces on the field of play.
The Irish firm also go 33s about Jose Mourinho to be sent off for poking someone in the eye (watch out Messrs Moyes and Pellegrini). And the same price about any Premier League player to be sent off for kicking a ballboy. Punters will be rooting for you Mr Hazard!
There are, however, some pretty decent bets to be had in these novel markets: Craig Bellamy to be sent off for punching another player (7/2); Mourinho to get a touchline ban (5/2); and, the best bet of the lot in my opinion, Ian Holloway to be fined by the FA for post-match comments (7/2).
Now, let’s be honest, Mr Holloway simply can’t help himself. His enthusiasm and passion overflows in waves. A slip of the tongue is a cert in my opinion – lap up the 7/2 people!
Ian Holloway to be fined by the FA for post-match comments – 7/2 Paddy Power