Despite an excellent round of cup football, fans were left bitterly disappointed this weekend following a series of poor judgement calls from television broadcasters, ITV.
The FA Cup is steeped in history, a prestigious event that can often form the highlight of a clubs season. It has created so many memories down the years from Ricky Villa's wonderful weaving masterpiece to Steven Gerrard's last gasp strike against West Ham. Sadly the memories taken away from this weekends action have not been quite so positive.
Before the first televised match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle the channel drew criticism across social media platforms for the endless stream of adverts that brought a near parity between them and the pre-match analysis of the game. The analysis that did then occur centred largely on their previous encounter in last years FA Cup with very little that many would have described as cutting edge.
Yet before that even, ITV had bore the brunt of anger from disgruntled Newcastle fans, frustrated at the decision between ITV and the FA to schedule the game in the early kick off slot time of 12:30. Bearing in mind the distance between the two sides it was perhaps unwise of the commentary team to continuously mention that the Newcastle fans coaches had left the North East at 1:30 AM, only emphasising the ridiculousness of the decision to schedule the match at that time.
Of course football is football and once the two televised games on Saturday were in action - the other being West Ham's tie with Manchester United - football fans were appeased. For those without the luxury of Sky TV, many were just happy to be able to watch a game of football in their home without expense.
However the channel was not to go out without causing further annoyance as an astonishingly abysmal lack of feature time for certain games during their highlights show left fans wondering why they'd bothered to wait up. Supporters of the likes of Manchester City, Millwall and Tottenham, amongst others, were assigned just a mere fifteen seconds of action for their games, a blink and you'll miss it situation.
Meanwhile the earlier televised games on the channel involving Brighton and Newcastle as well as West Ham and Manchester United were dedicated a large chunk of the show in addition to analysis, albeit a feeble attempt. Understandably this drew heavy criticism from fans who felt that the programme had been handled in a remarkably poor and unjust manner.
This weekend has been a disaster for ITV sport, an expensively-invested arm of the large Broadcasters overall body, and calls for the FA Cup to return to the BBC will not die away if coverage does not improve in three weeks time. ITV need pay more attention to the fans and deliver a programme that will greater satisfy its viewers needs.
Here's what just a few Internet users had to say on the coverage:
- Sam Smith said 'By the way, what a ridiculous time for Brighton vs Newcastle? ITV should be ashamed! #AgainstModernFootball #FACup'
- Helen Daniels said 'ITV FA cup highlights on now, memo to myself....do not blink if they even bother to show City again. ..#itvcrapatshowingfootball'
- Henry Greaves said 'Gonna watch some adverts now, with some ITV FA cup highlights in between'
- Marc Trainis said 'So ITV have shown us highlights of both their live games from today, before highlights of the majority of FA Cup ties.. #morons'
- Paul Guyers said 'The sooner the BBC get the FA Cup highlights back the better. If anything is taking the magic out the cup, it's ITV #FACup'
- Paul Woody said 'The FA Cup always had a touch of magic when the BBC covered it. On ITV it's like a kick around on Hackney Marshes.'
So what do you think? Are we as a country being too harsh on ITV or do you agree with the disappointment of the majority?
image: © flawka