YOUTUBE KILLED THE RADIO STAR?
When it comes to football discourse, Twitter has long been a haven of reasoned, informed debate and tranquility. Whatever the talking point du jour – the taking of the knee, the increasingly insidious modern geopolitical dimensions of the game, or the puzzling philosophical conundrum of when exactly one-time Arsenal target Jackson Martínez might turn 29 – the Social Media Disgrace is the go-to meta-parlour for decorous, inoffensive and in no way deranged discussion.
This morning, BBC Radio 5 Live’s decision to bin off its classified football results stirred up quite the hornet’s nest, with thousands of fans who had no idea it was still a going concern expressing their outrage that this service they haven’t listened to since the advent of the smartphone would no longer be available for them to ignore. A Sports Report staple at 5pm on Saturday evenings for almost 75 years, the classified results were quietly shelved at the weekend without anyone really noticing, but of course now it’s redundancy has been flagged up, the weeping, wailing and mouth-foaming has begun.
There are arguments to be made in favour of and against the retention of this results service that made the Scottish broadcaster James Alexander Gordon a household name and has more recently been presented by Charlotte Green. While it is no longer necessary in a digital age when live scores are readily available at the touch of a screen and match updates are machined-gunned out of radio speakers on Saturday afternoons, it’s jauntily trumpeted intro remained a soothing aural balm for match-going fans as they returned to the comfort of their cars on the final whistle of games across all four divisions the length and breadth of the UK. “With the addition of the 5.30pm live Premier League match to our coverage, Sports Report has been condensed into a shorter programme,” the BBC said. “We would like to thank everyone who has read the classified football results on 5 Live over the years.”
Informative, completely inoffensive and clocking in at barely five minutes a week that could surely be shaved off the execrable 606, the classified results seem an odd choice of segment to terminate with extreme prejudice and one can only imagine how many tiers of BBC management the proposal had to go through before being rubber-stamped. In an era when YouTubers and Ticktockerz are increasingly being given a voice on the increasingly dumbed-down station, it seems needlessly petty to punish the dwindling number of old fogies aged 25 or more who still tune in.
But as we have already said, barely anybody noticed when the instantly recognisable “Da-da! Da-da! Da-da! Da-da! Da-da-da-da-da! Da-daaaahhhhh!” intro music went unplayed two days ago and only got upset when it became a hot topic on Twitter. Now pardon The Fiver as we go off to listen to the rhythmic, sleep-inducing poetry of the Shipping Forecast before some recently qualified graduate with no soul and a clipboard decides to sh*t-can that much-loved BBC institution as well.
QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY
“RIP the beautiful and profound sound poem of the classified football results on Sports Report. Now we have all lost at home.”
“Talk about an OG..!! WTF”
Two poets, Ian McMillan and Mark Lawrenson, react to the classified football results news. We’ll let you guess who said what.
Wrap your ears around the latest edition of Football Weekly, in which the pod ask: Is Arnautovic really the answer to Ten Hag’s problems? [Spoiler alert: no]
“I take a break from all things football for 6 weeks and come back to Benni McCarthy, Tom Huddlestone, Adrien Rabiot, and potentially Marko Arnautovic at Old Trafford. Plus ca change” – John Weldon.
“Why does calling itself AFC Bournemouth allow Bournemouth to be first alphabetically? The ‘A’ presumably stands for ‘Athletic’ (as in the original name of Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Football Club) with a possible alternative being ‘Association’. Either of which would come after ‘Arsenal’ alphabetically” – Martin Burke (and no others).
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … John Weldon.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
It’s been an absolute whirlwind day for transfer stories in the Premier League, probably down to the fact a lot of teams saw how much they needed to improve at the weekend. Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Everton are close to signing Wolves captain Conor Coady on loan. Bruno Lage is hoping to boost morale at Molineux, however, by acquiring Gonçalo Guedes from Valencia. It does not end there, either, because Fulham and West Ham have shaken hands on a £15m fee for Issa Diop. Nottingham Forest thought they had got their man in the form of Alex Moreno but the Real Betis full-back decided to shake his head at the last minute.
Speaking of Spanish full-backs, César Azpilicueta considered leaving for Barcelona before committing his future to Chelsea. “Yes the conversations were there [with Barcelona],” the defender parped. “After the Club World Cup, where I became the only player to ever win every trophy, I felt it was the time to go back. But then everything happened with this club. I wanted to stay committed to the club. I never did anything against my club.”
Defender Adam Smith has signed a new deal with Bournemouth, taking him through to 2024, which will see him complete a decade at the club. “Everyone knows how valuable he is to the club and his experience and leadership skills are second to none, so I’ve no doubt he will continue to play a key role both on and off the pitch,” chirped a Bournemouth suit.
STILL WANT MORE?
Count ‘em, 10 talking points is back (baby) to fill that gaping summer void.
A new era has been ushered in at Manchester United but the flaws are all too familiar, writes Jonathan Wilson.
Erling Haaland lets his feet do the talking after the big buildup, according to Barney Ronay.
It is nice to have the Premier League back, as Sachin Nakrani points out.
Rumours: Fleetwood Mac’s finest work as well as a Big Website institution.
And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!