Sky TV, brand affinity, masquerading insight


Do you remember the early days of Sky Sports?  They raised the bar for football coverage on television, which had been limited in the scope of cameras deployed, production skills and incident analysis.  When Sky arrived, the number of cameras at a game went from two to 12.  Time was dedicated to the pre-match build-up and you were learning things about the game from analysts, who knew more than you.

We liked Sky, they put money into our game and gave us a more enjoyable viewing experience.  There was what media people call brand affinity with the broadcaster.  Let’s remember where we were before that time.  As recently as 1995, Charlie Nicholas co-commentated for 15 minutes telling us the score was Rangers 1-1 Celtic, when the Rangers goal had been disallowed for offside.  An entire match production team at Ibrox didn’t know the score.

While Sky continued to improve the quality of their premium output, their efforts at delivering Scottish football content has dropped off a cliff.  Even those who work with the broadcaster tell me they are not interested in our game, an insight that scarcely needs to be stated.

Yesterday’s announcement by Sky that they secured rights to the SPFL for five seasons, pushing out BT Sport in the process, was Ratner-esque in the delivery of a business message.  The graphic featured Brendan Rodgers, a Celtic crest, Steven Gerrard and a Newco crest.  The message was clear: there are only two teams in this league we care about.  Even I was offended, despite my team featuring.  Consider where brand affinity is now.

We will all miss BT Sport, especially big Chris, but I’m not sharing the love with them.  Their production standards were excellent, but if they were not prepared to pay for the product, they cannot retain the rights.  The League only has discretion on these matters if the difference in bids is marginal, which it was not on this occasion.

So we are left with Sky, who still employ Charlie Nicholas, and who has never been short of a word (unless asked to contribute to a cause by Celtic), but has never provided insight into anything. Ever.  And there’s Andy Walker, who sent viewers off air telling them Celtic still had work to do to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite the whole of Europe knowing they secured just that.  People who do not know the score of a game they are commentating on, and do not know why 60,000 people are celebrating a result!  This is their business, and they know less about it than you.

I hope the money Sky have put in means they will take us more seriously but I remain to be convinced.  Stay tuned for five long years of mindless stating of the obvious, or ill-informed speculation about schisms masquerading as value-added insight.  Is it any wonder the new media find such a fertile audience?  Andy Gray must be spinning in his misogynist-bordello-themed 7am pub.

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  1. mike in toronto on




    I was just having a bit of fun.



    As HS says, it is very nice of you to do so.








    You have the paitience of a saint, man. Why I could never have done what you do.



    Actually, pretty soon, I think the saints themselves might changes the expression to ‘you have the paitience of an auldheid’!




  2. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    if your no that S, then you can sling yer hook, aye a mighty fine gesture indeed.




  3. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    it nice to be nice all the time :) but sometimes is good as well :)


    not that I’d know :)

  4. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Dutch hero Van Dijk consoles tearful referee moments after scoring late equalizer vs Germany (VIDEO)


    Published time: 20 Nov, 2018 10:46 Edited time: 20 Nov, 2018 15:08



    Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk provided a touching moment by consoling the recently bereaved referee in his team’s game against Germany, just minutes after netting a late equalizer to book a spot in the Nations League semi-finals.


    Van Dijk volleyed home in the 90th minute to seal a Netherlands comeback from 2-0 down in Germany, at the same time securing the point the Dutch needed to top their UEFA Nations League group and progress to next year’s semi-finals.



    The Liverpool defender continued to show his class after the final whistle when he was seen comforting Romanian official Ovidiu Hategan, who recently lost his mother.



    Footage showed Van Dijk embracing a tearful Hategan and putting his hand on the back of his head.



    Referee Ovidiu Hategan recently lost his mother. Right after the FT whistle Virgil van Dijk went towards him to comfort him, while crying. This is beautiful.



    After the game, the Dutch skipper said modestly that the gesture was just “a small thing” to help the official through his bereavement.



    “That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother,” said the 27-year-old defender.



    “I wished him strength and said that he had done well. It’s a small thing, but maybe it helps him,” he added.



    It is reported that Hategan had opted to proceed with the game despite his recent loss, although his grief was evident as he blew up for full-time at the Veltins-Arena.



    Germany took an early lead in Gelsenkirchen through goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane inside the first 20 minutes.



    However, they paid for not capitalizing further on their dominance as the Dutch struck twice inside the last five minutes, the first coming from an edge-of-the-box strike from Quincey Promes, before Van Dijk scored a majestic volley past Manuel Neuer at the back post.



    The result put the Netherlands top of Nations League Group A1 on seven points, the same number as France but ahead by virtue of a better head-to-head record.



    Progress to next year’s semi-finals of the inaugural UEFA event – where they will meet England, Switzerland or Portugal – will come as some solace for a nation that failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia this summer.



    The Netherlands have rebuilt under Ronald Koeman and are starting to display some of swagger for which the men in orange have been renowned down the years.



    For Germany, who were already relegated from the group before last night’s game, the late Dutch drama is yet another blow in what has been a year to forget.



    Joachim Low’s men were dumped out at the group stage of the World Cup, and have lost six games in a single calendar year for the first time ever.



    Speaking about the late Dutch comeback, Low said: “This kind of thing seems to be the story of our entire year.”




    A fine choon from 64 . Sleeve features a scrawl declaring Celtic 3– Leixoes 0 .: I have must have bought the choon around the time we played them . They were dreadful . Dive /dive / dive/ hassle the ref / hassle the ref /hassle the ref for 90 minutes . Worse than Porto !!. A Fairs Cup thingy



  6. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    It was once the top English division who raided Scottish clubs, armed with their cheque books.



    Now with the money that is diverting to Championship and League 1 clubs, more than the SPFL pittance, those lower league clubs can also trawl Scottish football for players.



    It would appear that Sky are wreaking their revenge for the time that a previous bid was rejected.



    A revenge designed to completely wreck the Scottish game.

  7. And to think the Television was invented by a man from Helensburgh. An economic oligarchy run Sky Sports as a business and the studio commentators tell us what we see. Celtic have had to joust with the media ( yer bbc scoatland etc..) and stood up to them, refusing to allow crucial matches to be shown live if it would in some way jeopardise the fortunes of the club.For example the 4- 2 game when Celtic won the league. And one of those concerns was saturation of football gates went down in the eighties and it took a lot of struggle to get Celtic back in shape. With all the access to football now there is saturation looming again. Celtic should try to develop Celtic TV but in order to do that you have to think outside the box.

  8. traditionalist88 on

    thomthethim for Oscar OK on 20th November 2018 3:44 pm



    It would appear that Sky are wreaking their revenge for the time that a previous bid was rejected.





    Begs the question…so what on earth were BT doing, in this scenario?!




  9. Awe sweetheart, sorry to disappoint but it turns out S is my erstwhile golfing buddy and will now be attending the final.



    Still your unsolicited interventions reveal all the munificence and altruism that you bring to the CQN community. Thank you for that.







  10. From JohnJames



    A Very Bad Taste In The Mouth



    In yesterday’s piece I revisited William Nimmo-Smith, which is a name now synonymous with whitewash. I also introduced the name of Rod McKenzie to my hall of shame. McKenzie’s subversive influence on Scottish football governance should never be understated. When the fix is in and cigars are being lit at Hampden, his smoking gun is easily concealed. In mitigation I should add that Mr. McKenzie represented Celtic at the tribunal which effectively ended Jim Farry’s tenure at the SFA.



    This piece is presented as the letter ‘M’ in my A-Z of Scottish football malfeasance. In one of my more widely read exclusives I published the confidential minutes and e-mail correspondence pertaining to an SPL board’s conference call, which addressed the findings of the Commission and discussed the feasibility of an appeal by said board to the SFA.



    Aberdeen FC’s Chief Executive, Duncan Fraser, wrote the following:



    From: Duncan Fraser Sent: 07 March 2013 16:26 To: Ralph Topping; Iain Blair; Neil Doncaster; Stephen Thompson; Eric Riley Cc: Rod McKenzie


    Subject: RE: Appeal to SFA







    I wish to put on record to you all my position.


    The circumstances we find ourselves in is that we have been unable to get together to discuss the outcome of the commission findings face to face, which is most unfortunate as we would all have benefitted from that. I am and never would pretend to understand the way the law works let alone pass comment. Ralph “Clapham Bus” being as far as I would go.




    I am at pains to point out that I, like Ralph, find the size of the fine and therefore the punishment to be disproportionate to the scale of the actions undertaken.



    Although the EBT Tax case has been appealed it would be fair to assume that the somewhat surprising Tax Tribunal outcome, that these undeclared payments fell out with PAYE and NIC and therefore were “legal” had an effect on the Commission. It seems that they viewed the use of the EBT as resulting in no sporting advantage that Rangers would have received if they had been declared. In which case why were they not declared?





    I truly struggle to understand that outcome but cannot see how that can be appealed.



    In summary the Tax Tribunal outcome has affected the outcome here to a huge extent.




    Rod’s point that we did not suggest a sanction and were clear in leaving it to the Commission rules out any appeal on the grounds of “the punishment fitting the crime”.



    In summary, I do not believe that the Commission came to the correct decision in terms of sporting advantage and we have no grounds for an appeal based on the punishment being too lenient or it appears sporting advantage given the narrow line they pursued. Therefore reluctantly I have to draw the conclusion that the process is at an end.


    This has left for me a very bad taste in the mouth. The ill informed, vitriolic comments of some suggest that this case was not worth pursuing. Although I was not on the Board at the time but I believe the case absolutely needed to be pursued. Unfortunately I perhaps naively assumed a different, more, in my view, appropriate outcome.


    Duncan Fraser


    Chief Executive






    Other than the addition of bold type I have reproduced Mr. Fraser’s email verbatim. The inclusion of hearsay from the First Tier Tribunal would not have been allowed in any court proceedings, and despite the best efforts of Nimmo-Smith, Stewart and Flint to add a legal veneer to their findings, their conclusions were fundamentally flawed.



    Mr. Fraser makes a number of salient point. If they had nothing to hide why did the Rangers board not declare the payments? The answer is simple. They were concerned that someone might leak their unlawful tax avoidance.



    Rod McKenzie’s response to Mr. Fraser, a mere twenty-seven minutes later, was as follows:



    From: Rod McKenzie Sent: 07 March 2013 16:53 To: Duncan Fraser; Ralph Topping; Iain Blair; Neil Doncaster; Stephen Thompson; Eric Riley


    Subject: RE: Appeal to SFA







    The primary argument advanced for non-disclosure to the SPL and SFA during the period form (sic) 2000 – 2011 was that all that required to be disclosed were ‘taxable emoluments’ i.e. payments and benefits made to Players by Clubs under and in terms of their contracts of employment in respect of which the Club was obliged to account for PAYE and NI to the Revenue.



    I argued, and the Commission agreed, that whilst the Rules of the SPL and the Articles and Regulations of the SFA did not explicitly say that disclosure was required in the case of benefit schemes where the payments to players came in the form of loans form third parties e.g. sub-trusts, that these provisions had to be construed as including such a requirement.




    Rangers in effect said that if the EBT details were required to be disclosed the reason they did not disclose them was because of an error by them in understanding what was required to be disclosed and that in any event they had secured no competitive advantage form (sic) not disclosing since the tax position would have been the same whether they disclosed to the SPL/SFA or not.




    Hope that provides some clarification.




    Rod McKenzie








    Mr. McKenzie evidently argued Rangers’ case much better than their appointed representative Mr Mure did. Messrs Nimmo-Smith/Stewart/Flint would like us to be believe that they were at loggerheads. We now discover that they were singing from the same hymn sheet.



    In a later email to the SPL board, Mr. McKenzie no longer saw the error in Rangers’ ways:



    Rangers argued that since the FTT had held that the benefits under the EBT scheme were not taxable emoluments and since the loans paid to Players were paid by the sub-trusts and not by the Club then the EBT details applying to each Player were not required to be disclosed and Rangers had been right to consider them as not being requiring of disclosure.



    The late Mr Kenneth Mure, QC was the chairman of the FTT Panel. Scott Rae, LLB, concurred with his perspective. Dr. Heidi Poon demurred. A month later Rangers was in administration. Mure and Rae provided the get out of jail free card to the cheating Rangers board and the architects of the 5WA. One had to wait until 2017 until justice at The Supreme Court would be seen to be done.



    Stewart Regan, who had staunchly defended Ogilvie’s EBT and Rangers’ decision to engage in unlawful tax avoidance, approved the following press release:


    Tuesday, 21 February 2012



    The Scottish FA can confirm that it has appointed as Chair The Right Honourable Lord William Nimmo Smith to inquire independently into Rangers FC. Stewart Regan, the Scottish FA chief executive, met with Lord Nimmo Smith today to define the terms of reference for the investigation.



    Regan excluded the unlawful DOS/VSS scheme from consideration and indubitably emphasised the FTT decision. The fix was in from the very beginning.



    Regan hired another silk in 2017 prior to the Supreme Court decision to attest that any attempt to strip titles would be unlikely to succeed. This slippery Rangers revisionist was bent to the very end.



    Eric Riley of Celtic was on vacation when Rod McKenzie was lobbying the SPFL board to ensure that a majority of their number would vote against an SFA appeal. McKenzie quickly extinguished Duncan Fraser’s fire and put the brakes on Ralph Topping’s Clapham Omnibus.



    When the SPFL board took the SFA to task in 2017, Regan refused their request for a review of the SFA’s part in this fiasco. There would be no transparency; no lessons learned; no raking over of old coals.



    Peter Lawwell also had a go at Regan. However no other club had his back. Regan manipulated the narrative to isolate Lawwell and close down the debate. Stewart Milne openly backed Regan.



    As much as the minutes were revealing, nothing has been done to address this indelible stain on Scottish football. One thought that Ian Maxwell would wield a new broom. We have now discovered that he was sweeping with the SFA’s Trigger’s Broom.



    As Duncan Fraser so appositely asserted it leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.

  11. My friends in Celtic,



    As far as Scottish football is concerned and Celtic in particular, BT is a far better product to watch.



    Although they have circa 18 months left on their contract, will they now scale back their operation ?




  12. traditionalist88 on

    Greenpinata on 20th November 2018 4:12 pm



    My friends in Celtic,



    As far as Scottish football is concerned and Celtic in particular, BT is a far better product to watch.



    Although they have circa 18 months left on their contract, will they now scale back their operation ?





    Its the same football, which is more likely to improve with the superior money Sky put on the table.



    Not aimed at you but people are not seriously advocating that the vastly superior bid be rejected in order to hear Craigan and Sutton have a little bit more small talk than Sky provide?!



    The clubs seemed pretty unanimous that we take the Sky bid. And lets face it, if it wasn’t unanimous we’d have heard all about it by now.



    I read a quote from someone from BT on twitter saying they will put the same commitment in they always have and that they love Scottish football, but whether that is the view of management is a different story of course. Why they weren’t at the races for the rights here must be very concerning for them, particularly as they seemed to be the preferred bidder of choice for many stakeholders.




  13. Eurochamps67 – you are a rockstar ! Thanks so much



    Adi-Dassler, you too buddy. Thanks for the offer. Maybe Eurochamps67 is now looking for a ticket :)



    Love this place

  14. Just a general point, but I would like to see Celtic try and give more chances to young Scottish players considering our recent success rate.



    Ryan Christie is the latest success to be added to the team. Should we have gambled earlier on the likes of Scott McKenna?



    We have a fine young players on the fringes right now in Lewis Morgan & Mickey Johnston. With the Arzani injury I’d like to see them get a chance in the first team. If not? Send them out on loan. It worked with Christie & McGregor.



    Chris Cadden of Mothewell could be available on a Bosman this summer as well.

  15. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    thanks for the offer, fortunately I’m out the country, so not contributing to the corrupt football establishment is moot as an excuse to say thanks but no thanks, I think :)

  16. If the BT bid was derisory, perhaps their mngmt team didn’t think much of the product they were bidding for? Didn’t see the ROI justifying a bigger bid? Chris Sutton and team have been great at supporting the Scottish game but the BT sponsorship team obviously think otherwise.


    Sky would be mad if they don’t try to tempt Sutton and MS across. I’d love to see Sutton ridiculing Nicholas and Souness.

  17. Seems like there are some people on here that are in the know.


    Maybe they could tell us what the BT bid was and for what.

  18. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Michael Johnston has signed a new deal with us accirding to my son.





    Its a pity BT never put up the dosh for the new tv deal as apart from Fat Sally and Creigan, their coverage has been really good.



    Sky sports and their sports news channels have no interest in Scotland other than our games versus Scotland’s newest club.



    Some may think i’m being petty with my annoyance with Sky sports and the sports news channels . They can not even pronounce McLean and McKay properly , when they have been referring to Dundee United they ocasionally refer to them as Dundee . When Erik Svatchenko left , his leaving statement was on the screen with a picture of Nir Bitton beside it.



    When there was a bomb attack on Madrid on the same date played Barcelona in a champions league match, some Barca fans booed during the minute’s silence. The following day sky sports news reported that Celtic fans had disrepected the minutes silence.



    Jim White , Nicholas and Walker possibly McCann back is too much to bear.

  19. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    I saw the goals from the Scotland Albania earlier.



    Ryan Christie’s through ball for James Forrest’s first goal was made even better as he made the pass with his ‘standing foot’ then James scored with his ‘standing foot’.



    It is good to see more of our players are very comfortable passing and shooting with either foot now .

  20. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    It does indeed beg the question.


    It would appear that they stretched their budget with their exclusive European rights and haven’t the subscribers to sustain a decent offer.


    This is the first time I’ve ever seen genuine regret for presenters and front line staff lose their jobs.



    RIMTIMTIM on 20TH NOVEMBER 2018 3:52 PM



    I don’t know your vintage, therefore don’t know if you recall Bob Kelly in the very early 60’s or late 50’s, declaring that television would kill football.



    Oh, how we all laughed.



    Another of his pronouncements was that European Cup ties should be a one game affair, with the draw determining home advantage.



    His reason was that supporters were paying good man to see only half a tie.


    A draw would mean an away replay.



    That was well received too!

  21. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    Once again Scottish football is undervalued, I believe even similar sized countries such as Norway pay much more to view their top leagues. Technology has moved on since it was last looked at but surely now was the time to look at streaming games on a dedicated Spfl channel. It sticks in my craw that my sky money is paying for the huge salaries in England. I’d much rather pay direct into Scottish fitba.

  22. GARY67 on 20TH NOVEMBER 2018 1:10 PM


    SuperSutton on 20th November 2018 12:56 pm




    EFL deal is £595m over 5 years for 138 games per season. £862k per game



    SPFL deal is £160m over 5 years for 48 games per season. £667k per game






    I expect it won’t be an even split across all the EFL leagues. More for the Championship, reduced for EFL1 and so on. Which is why I contend that Championship and EFL1 teams can out pay us.



    And don’t forget the parachute payments for teams dropping down from the EPL.

  23. Hail Hail



    MNCelt, Adi, EC67 (you’re getting blanked canman ?)



    Reading between the lines…



    Is there a spare going for the Final??



    If so I’ve been looking for one…



    PS – I have played golf with EC67 and but I’m not an ‘s’ ???☘️

  24. With talk of Facebook and Amazon looking at buying league packages, and streaming them,I thought BT and Sky might have put a joint bid in.

  25. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Terrific leader Pablo.



    Insightful, factual and a few juicy digs.



    Sky Sports’ condescension can be summed up thus



    Sevco are best, Celtic are inferior, everyone else is nothing.



    Put another way, if Sky Sports total offering was analogous to a country mansion ….



    The EPL would be the main dining hall, walls adorned with art, a cavernous fireplace, chandeliers and a grand dining table bedecked with a feast.



    Scottish football would be the mat at the back door into the kitchen used by the gardener and the woodsman to wipe 5h1t off their shoes.



    Not one penny will I give them.



    Hail hail