TRUE story: When England played Germany at Euro 2000, I saw the game in a pub in Stoke-on-Trent (OK, if you want to be pedantic, Hanley).
The match was being shown on a big screen. I seem to remember that the sound was off, although it may just have been that the noise in the pub drowned out the commentary.
Anyway, here’s the thing. The match was being shown live on the BBC and ITV (with both channels using the same pictures). And the big screen in this pub was tuned into the ITV coverage.
During the first few minutes of the game, there was a noticeable grumbling from certain sections of the pub. After about a quarter-of-an-hour, the landlord switched over to the BBC coverage, and a huge cheer went up as if England had scored.
I asked a stranger near me why everyone was cheering. “England always lose on ITV,” he said.
The curious thing is that there will be people who read this story and see nothing irrational about it. England, of course, won the game 1-0. Presumably they lost 2-1 on ITV.
A couple of years later came the ITV Digital fiasco, and a lot of fans of lower-division clubs found themselves with more solid reasons to take against the channel.
Poor ITV. They got themselves into a huge mess when they overpaid for football TV rights in the early 2000s. Now they have tried to extricate themselves from a much bigger financial mess – by overpaying for football TV rights.
A friend of mine has a saying: “Life’s lessons have a habit of repeating until you learn from them.” I think my friend should have Michael Grade’s job.
As a result of their recent football spending splurge, ITV have the rights to the FA Cup –
– this season. (Sorry, I don’t know what happened there.) With this being FA Cup fifth-round weekend, it means there is no regular Match of the Day, and thus no Gubbometer update.
I did think about incorporating the final games from ITV’s FA Cup highlights shows into the Gubbometer this season. But it would have been a bit confusing. And besides, no one has complained about being last on ITV’s shows (it’s one of the few complaints that hasn’t been levelled against their FA Cup coverage this season).
I also thought about launching a separate table for the FA Cup highlights (a Tic-Tac-ometer, if you like). But there aren’t enough shows to justify it. (Although, if you’re interested, Port Vale would be top, on the basis that they were on last in rounds one and two.)
So instead, I thought I’d throw you some Gubbometer-related stats to keep you occupied until the Gubbometer is ready to fire up again next Saturday.
1) There have been 25 regular Saturday night Match of the Day shows this season. The final game has featured at least one of Fulham, Wigan and West Brom in 18 of them.
2) In all 25 shows, the final match has featured at least one of the following seven clubs: Fulham, Wigan, West Brom, Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Bolton and West Ham.
3) None of the final matches have featured more than three goals.
4) The most common scoreline for a game shown last on MOTD this season is 0-0, as the ‘Gubboscore’ table below demonstrates:
0-0 – 9 times
1-0 – 5 times
1-1 – 4 times
0-1 – 3 times
2-1 – twice
3-0 – twice
5) Since I started the Gubbometer in August 2007, only two Premier League teams have not featured last on MOTD at all – Manchester United and Liverpool.
6) The commentator who has covered the final game on MOTD most often this season is Alistair Mann:
6: Alistair Mann
5: John Roder
4: Dan O’Hagan
2: Simon Brotherton
1: Eight other commentators (including Tony Gubba)
I’m not sure what any of this proves, other than that I have too much time on my hands on a Saturday morning. But if your team is playing against Wigan, Fulham or West Brom, the game ends goalless and you bump into Alistair Mann or John Roder in the car park on the way out, you can safely assume that your game won’t be on before 11.30pm.
Right, I’m off out.
1. Fulham: 8 (GD: +1; CD: +1)
2. Wigan: 6 (GD: 0; CD: +2)
3. Middlesbrough: 6 (GD: 0; CD: +1)
4. West Brom: 5 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
5. Capello: 4 (GD: +1; CD: +4)
6=. Blackburn: 4 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
6=. Bolton: 4 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
8. West Ham: 3 (GD: 0; CD: +2)
9. Stoke: 3 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
10=. Arsenal: 2 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
10=. Newcastle: 2 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
10=. Sunderland: 2 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
13=. Gubba: 1 (GD: +1; CD: +1)
13=. Manchester City: 1 (GD: +1; CD +1)
15. Portsmouth: 1 (GD: 0; CD: +1)
16=. Everton: 1 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
16=. Hull: 1 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
16=. Tottenham: 1 (GD: 0; CD: 0)
19=. Aston Villa: 0
19=. Chelsea: 0
19=. Liverpool: 0
19=. Manchester United: 0
(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)