Has The Split Hit The Fan ?Date: Friday, 24th Jul 2020
How important to our enjoyment of watching a football match are
A) The Commentary or
B) The Crowd Noise ?
In May 2008 I was enjoying the Champions League Final, not at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, but in the town square of Bugibba in Malta. For those who do not know God`s own country, Bugibba and Qawra are Malta`s second largest seaside resort.
In the square were erected three large cinema type screens for the 2000 crowd to view the game. One was from SKY Sports, one from TVM ( the national TV station) and the third from Radiotelevisione Italiana RAI from Italy.
Manchester United,run by former Dunfermline star Alex Ferguson, defeated Chelsea on pens after a 1-1 draw. I had my cold award-winning Cisk lager and my Maltese cheesepie pastizzi and soon noticed how very different the three commentaries were as I moved from one screen to the next.
Sky told you "the bleeding obvious" in the way a superb radio commentary like BBC "Sportsound" does eg "Ferdinand passes the ball back to Van Der Sar".
RAI had welcome long silences but sprung into action to explain a change in tactics or formation or substitution.
Maltese has far fewer words than English so TVM said most shots were good but Sky differentiated between the special, fantastic, wonderful, superb, incredible etc.
Celtic are lobbying hard behind the scenes for a pilot scheme to allow fans back into Parkhead.
They are clearly miffed that Boris Johnson is allowing that in August in England and (don`t mention Cricket:ED) there will be pilot projects at the World Snooker Championship, Goodwood Horse Racing and County Cricket (You have been warned:ED).
Willie Miller was BBC Radio Scotland analyst on 3rd August 2019 when Celtic crushed St Johnstone 7-0.Attendance: 58,877. Miller says there was not much wrong with the Perth team (as the season proved) but, 30minutes in, you could see the panic etched on their faces as the third goal went in.
The Old Firm are very reliant on their intimidating noisy support and he speculates how big a loss they may be in the opening weeks. The Scottish Government has poured cold water on any imminent return despite initial optimistic comments by Jason Leitch, who said he was pencilling in October.
We have our own interests as Ross McArthur has reiterated that half Dunfermline`s income is match day. Iain McMenemy (Stenhousemuir) has called for clarity so clubs can make contingency arrangements. The SFA and SPFL Joint Response Group meet the Sports Minister regularly .
We all know what crowd noise signifies. If you ever have to leave East End Park early eg to catch the No 19 bus; you know if a goal has been scored, or a bad foul or a penalty claim. Watching English matches at present is decidedly spooky ie I watched my English team, Pompey, miss out in the League 1 play off as two stonewall pens went ignored as Fratton Park was empty. An 18,000 crowd could have influenced the Ref !
For some, the sound of a fake crowd is worse eg if there is a time delay after a goal is scored. Silent football means we can hear praise, encouragement, warnings, blame, and even contact.
We also hear naughty words though they pale into insignificance compared to the Old Firm`s community singing which shames Scotland.
Other sports have their moments of silence (Don`t You Dare: ED) eg a Test Innings at a deserted Mumbai with England on top; horse racing till the last two furlongs, during play at Wimbledon, Formula 1 you don`t notice the crowd till the end, a vital putt in the Golf Open.
With no crowd we become more aware what our players are actually experiencing on the hallowed turf and we may be more sympathetic.