A Message to you - Rupert.

Posted by nige on August 11, 2007, 01:08:15 PM

No, this message isn’t  a critique of some clueless twerp in the Anfield Road End called Rupert, with his Soccer a.m. 'Who are Ya ?' mentality – painful though his presence at the match is – that would be too ironic coming from a supporter with a name like mine !

No, this little rant’s for you Mr. Murdoch.  I doubt you’ll be losing much sleep over it, but it makes me feel great to write this, so here goes.

Well, Mr. Murdoch I did it - I held out through your monopoly. I’ve opened a beer, the rest of the crate is in the fridge and I’m all set for a start-of-season barbecue with my mates. There've been many such parties since I moved in here exactly ten years ago, but this one's not to celebrate that anniversary, nor even to celebrate the fact that twenty years ago this week me and one of those same mates were at Highbury to see the debut of Barnes, Beardsley and Aldridge... No, it's not even to celebrate the fact that thirty years ago yesterday King Kenny signed for Liverpool ...

No, it's a FIFTEEN year thing, this little personal celebration of mine today. For the first time in 15 years I can watch league footy at home. I'll be watching a channel called Setanta and celebrating the fact that I got through 15 years of your monopoly on live league football without  ever getting your channels, without ever paying you a penny. I’ve just raised my first glass of fine cold beer to that - and it's not the piss that gets advertised on your channel either !

I suppose someone was always to steal our game in the nineties and gentrify and  americanise it - it was always going to happen as Britain got richer, and everything that moved was made into a privatised and commercialised commodity; football’s obvious  problems were there to be exploited by the likes of you in oh-so-many ways. Yes, someone had to do it - I was just sick that it had to be you, Rupert. You and your dynasty may be despicable, but I have to admire your nose for an opportunity. To quote this month’s When Saturday Comes magazine:

“Football is a game played by 22 men- and then Germany win. Substitute Sky in for Germany and you have a reasonable summary of televised football – until now.”

It was always scandalous that you won the monopoly so easily and so cheaply from your friends in the establishment and that it carried on so long, especially after the government got involved and at first promised to change things in 2003 – but then changed their minds - I wonder what promises you had to give Mr. Blair to survive that one, Rupert ?  You’ve had governments in your pocket (and return been in theirs) for a quarter of a century, so you thought nobody could do anything about it. Then along comes the European Commission (I'm drinking a toast to them too - oh how you must hate their inconvenient penchant for fairness and transparency eh Rup ?), and in the name of good old competition. That’s com-pet-it-ion, Rupert – surely you recognise the concept, you being the arch Thatcherite and all ? 

So suddenly you have  a rival, a company named Setanta.  Named after the boyhood title of that great hero of Irish mythology, Cúchulainn, who acquired his later name from the evil hound he slew with a hurling ball rammed down its throat – a David  and Goliath story, if you like. Well here’s one in the eye for you, Rupert, from a company that started as an upstart, showing the upstart Irish team at the 1990 Mondiali to the upstart Irish community in London. Cuchulainn's original name was Setanta "the little one".

"When we went international, we thought at first that we should change the name," their joint founder Michael O'Rourke said, in an interview earlier this year. "But it's part of where we came from, and we're quite fond of it now."

To use some appropriate sports broadcasting clichés, they have become the dark horse of broadcasting, the minow that is now a shark, the outsider that has come from nowhere to secure some of the UK's most coveted premium sports rights: the US PGA Tour golf, the Scottish Premier League and 46 live FA Premier League games per season, effective from today : Aston Villa v. the Mighty Reds of Europe. So it's  toast to Setanta for having the balls ! I think I’d better crack open another bottle already …

Now I’m sure Setanta aren’t perfect - in fact some of their new employees inevitably used to work for you - and I doubt that all of the half a billion quid they’ve had to raise for their league, FA Cup and international bids has come from purer-than-pure sources, but at least they aren’t you, Mr. Murdoch !  In this case, for now at least, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. At least they haven’t built and empire based on a business plan of telling lies – constant, endless lies, to support the establishment, to play on prejudice, and to fight any restraint of the excesses of men like you.

Yes, you’ve peddled lies to support the establishment of the UK and latterly various other countries and make yourself indispensable, stories like the Hillsborough  ‘Truth’  lies, on a daily basis, for 30 years now, hiring yes-man editors like Mackezie, the arch-vermin, to do it for you. I accept that it would never have worked for the Hillsborough groups and  Liverpudlians to extend their ‘official’ boycott of the Sun to all Murdoch products, because that way the boycott would have been considerably diluted and have had far less chance of holding, but nevertheless I have long been surprised that more individual  Liverpudlians do not personally shun all things Murdoch, namely: the Times, NoTW, News International, Sky, Fox TV productions, My Space - the lot.  It seems odd, for example, that people not giving Murdoch his 40p a day for one lot of lies would subscribe to another lot for £1 a day … but there you go, people are inconsistent.

Anyway, at least some of them can fight you now by giving money to your rivals every month, and hopefully many will be cancelling their direct debit to you. Like I say, I doubt you’ll be losing any sleep. But it certainly makes me feel better and I’ll drink to that.

Of course it’s just a coincidence that the era of your monopoly of the televised game coincided with that of the Manchester United PLC on the pitch, but it made such symbolic sense when you tried to buy them a few years back and link your two evil empires together into one great malignant entity … so I just can’t help associating you together. Sky loves Man U ... because real football, of course, began in 1992 …and I hate you both.  Now that your monopoly has ended I just feel …well I’ve made it clear what I feel - this could the beginning of a whole new era on and off the pitch! There’s even a new LFC TV channel to help Setanta in its rivalry with Sky, and it seems like one more step in us catching back up with the Mancs…

So Setanta has finally motivated me to get cable, and I live in an area with no digital coverage, so it’s brought with it all the freeview  TV channels & digital radio reception,  and I’m in love with it all right away ! Can’t wait for the LFC TV channel to start, and to be able to watch and analyse all the Reds’ games the day after… with Serie A thrown in too …and all of that for £8 a month if you're already a Virgin customer (yes Mr. Murdoch, I hate you that much you’ve turned me into a salesman for your rivals). Yes, that's a total £18 for broadband and all the telly you really need, Virgin customers.

Could this be a new dawn, along with the new dawns of hope offered by the new signings, the new youth policy, the new ground  and  the new efforts to improve atmosphere on the Kop ? I certainly hope so ! I’ve not been so excited about a new season since I was a kid. Now I’ve just got to try not to drink all the beer before my mates get here …


This article is in the ‘Opinion’ section because it’s personal opinion.  Yes it’s self-righteous - sorry about that - but I held out for 15 years and I think I deserve to celebrate  being  able to watch the live league footy again.

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