Media blackout of Birmingham-Villa derby alerts Woodward and Bernstein to conspiracy

For many Sunday is a day of religion or rest. For others it’s a day of live football, or at least it usually is.

Thanks to the wonders of the Sky Sports hype-machine the tedium that some games usually attract are cast aside by a sea of excited whooshing graphics and Andy Gray shouting for no particular reason about nothing in particular, whilst using a lot of unnecessary graphics on his large touch-screen tablet.

With a subscription to both Sky Sports and ESPN burning a hole in my wallet, I settled in to watch the midday kick-off of the second city derby, in a game that I felt surely deserved attention from either of the media outlets.

Having failed to consult the TV listings due to my blind belief that a game held at midday on Sunday was prime fodder for one of the satellite channels, I was left disappointed to find that the best on offer was World’s Strongest Man.

As entertaining as it is to see vein-popping men throw tumble-dryers over bales of hay, it wasn’t what I had in mind.

My disappointment at missing out on the derby is not a new experience though, as I was greeted with the same problem two seasons ago, when Villa ran out 5-1 winners.

Without wishing to unnecessarily excite Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward to the prospect of there being another conspiracy afoot, it does seem strange that it wasn’t televised, again.

Admittedly the game was played at lunchtime, so that over enthusiastic fans didn’t enjoy too many shandy’s prior to kick-off and cause trouble in the ground.

That though is surely no reason not to televise the game, as the same reasoning applies that fans wouldn’t be able to get lagered up, as the pubs don’t open until eleven.

On a day which saw lowly Liverpool’s visit to brave Bolton televised, it seems odd the importance of a local derby wasn’t elevated above this and shown by one of the many channels available.

The fact though that the game wasn’t even covered on national radio by the BBC was bizarre, as their two live sports channels instead preferred to offer mindless chit-chat and advertising features on upcoming events.

Perhaps then the second city derby is insignificant to the rest of the country and the BBC has no interest in providing a service that only a fraction of the nation will enjoy.

This idea seems to be contradicted though by the fact that BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty was present at the game and wrote a feature on the match and Villa manager Gerard Houllier’s tenure so far.

With no visuals available to enthral the masses, perhaps the BBC quite rightly took the view that Alan Green’s toxic tone would incite violence between the local rivals.

The seeming media blackout led me to the internet and a vain attempt to find a live stream of the game, but I had to settle with BBC West Midlands coverage of the game on the wireless.

With the benefit of hindsight it was probably a wise decision not to screen a game from which the highlight was a fan heading the ball back into play and falling over the advertising hoardings in the process.

However, Sunday’s game was an anomaly in what is usually a competitive, passionate and ultimately exciting fixture for keen observers of football.

It’s seems though that my visual encounter with the game will have to be provided by the football supplement in the newspapers, unless of course the blackout has continued beyond the weekend.

Tags: Aston Villa, Birmingham City

Share this article

Dean 1 November 2010 at 12:41pm

next time use – you’ll find all the missing games then that our so-called unbiased media wont show us! ;)

Bluebird 1 November 2010 at 12:56pm

Personally I believe every local derby should be televised….
Birmingham City & Aston Villa fans pay exactly the same subscription to Sky as the rest of the Country….
Why are we singled out for exclusion?

Martin 1 November 2010 at 1:23pm

I was watching BBC news early sunday morning and when they came to the sport, they showed clips from the Man Utd match first, mentioned the Liverpool v Bolton match and then said “the two OTHER matches today are two derby matches, Newcastle v Sunderland and Aston Villa v Birmingham City”…. then started showing the interviews of Chris Hughton and Steve Bruce. Then when back to the studio and they said “Now let’s take a take a look at the Man Utd match again”. Unbeleivable! They bypassed any imformation on the Villa v BC match, other than that the fixture was taking place. Oh and see they advertised that Liverpool v Bolton match was being aired on BBC 5 Live, i suppose the “other” matches just aren’t as important to them.

I only one i seen giving the match any mention other than reading out fixtures was the local midlands news, where they showed a clip of the Craig Gardner interview.
I didn’t watch Football Focus, did they do a piece about it on there? I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t, even the show is an hour long. It seems if it’s something happening outside of London or the North-West, they usually aren’t interested.

Dan Mobbs 1 November 2010 at 1:39pm

@Dean thanks for that, I’ll keep that in mind for next time we play.

@Bluebird & Martin It seems as though the Midlands is the ugly sister of the nations football and no one wants to pay too much attention to it. I watched Football Focus and

Perhaps I’m biased, but a local derby seems more important than Liverpool going to Bolton.

sotv 1 November 2010 at 1:52pm

I found the game on justin tv low and behold skysports were streaming it to the usa, then a link via holland once sky had blocked the usa link

Tony Cooper 1 November 2010 at 2:07pm

I watched the whole game in HD, it was screened at 1130hrs, eastern time in the US, and it was free, in fact since Fox Soccer Plus has started have started showing Premier league games, I have watched loads of Villa games, and I do not have to subscribe to Fox Soccer channel.

I did not realise that it was not on Sky, it looked like it was a Sky broadcast.

Mind you it was a bit of a borefest!

Sotc 1 November 2010 at 2:10pm

I think it is a disgrace the villa v blues game was not shown. Although I ended up going to a local pub to watch it via sky Algerian tv!!! Thousands of midland fans did go to local pubs to watch it which shows there us a huge demand to watch this game.

mike hogan 1 November 2010 at 3:32pm

I also watched the game in a pub- it was broadcast by sky to an Italian Skysports channel. Unfortunately the volume had to be turned off so, although the pub was packed out, there wasnt much of an atmosphere. I know that of the 5 or 6 pubs in my area that showed the game, there wasnt a spare seat, nook or cranny anywhere for any more supporters to squeeze into! Bad day for local football fans, GREAT day for breweries!

mortonsblue 1 November 2010 at 3:38pm

It’s not the first time this has happened, it is a disgrace that the Second City derby is not shown, but then again that just reflects the media’s obsession with the so called ‘Top 4’ and Liverpool! Its no wonder they get all the decisions from the refs, as we are all brainwashed by the endless stream of news and none news about those teams. I must have seen the Man Utd goal against Spurs replayed and discussed at least 100 times by Sky and their team of ex ‘Top 4’ pundits, its a wonder they didn’t have a one hour ‘Special’ programme about it! When will they learn that no one else is interested and that their is life outside of the Top 4!

bluehag 1 November 2010 at 5:20pm

If it was so important for villa fans to watch then why didn’t they actually go to the ground and fill one of the empty 2,000 seats in the home areas? Mind you having seen how poor and negative villa were perhaps I’ve answered my own question

chris 1 November 2010 at 7:33pm

sick of the anti midlands bias
on top the so obvious bbc bias on footy
they hardly mention warks winning at lords
they don’t even print the local championship rugby scores on their website most weeks yet other regions team results are quickly updated
and tonight central & mids today didn’t even show or mention the handball or coker kick
i gave up my licence a couple of months ago as i have had enough of biased and pc correct BBC
before you mention it, i saw the tv tonight at friends!!

Sotc 1 November 2010 at 7:55pm

Re bluehag my local was full of blue noses who also could have gone as seats available were neutral. Though to be fair everyone I know villa and blues assumed match would be sell out so didn’t bother trying for tickets. As for blues mocking villa attendances with their crowds of 23,000 beggars belief!!

chris b 1 November 2010 at 10:03pm

Blue hag-under no circumstances are you in a position to criticise attendances of other clubs!

BluedaveNose 1 November 2010 at 10:26pm

Talk Sport had exclusive rights to broadcast the game live therefore the BBC had little insentive to promote the match.
The game would’ve been moved to that time due to the police, and just so happened that The northeast derby was happening the same weekend which Sky figured would pick up a larger audience-probably right. Frustrating no doubt but we will never have a derby at any other time…league cup could be interesting…

Dave 2 November 2010 at 10:11am

the national media hate Birmingham City, the Premier League hate Birmingham City and the FA hate Birmingham City. We will never play in Europe because the powers that be will do everything in their power to make sure it just doesn’t happen. They let Milwall into Europe for losing the FA Cup Final… why? Because they are in L.O.N.D.O.N. and as we all know, nothing exists outside of London unless your name contains Manchester or Liverpool.

Jinksy 2 November 2010 at 9:32pm

Dave – Can i add i also hate Birmingham City!!!!

& BlueHag there were hundreds of empty seats in the away end knobhead!!!

Major Sharpe 5 November 2010 at 2:59am

Well, i hate the Villa!

Leave a comment

Chris Waddle – The French Way (1993)
Aston Villa Season Review 1991 - 1992 Denmark 2 Germany 0 (Euro 92 final) Saint and Greavsie (April 18 1992)