Sport on TV: Ground-breaking venture after the stadiums had crumbled

Amid the endless moralising of the chattering classes and the pithy entreaties of the feral tearaways' parents that we should all "jog on", one voice managed to explain the English riots in just a few simple words. It was the England captain John Terry on the BBC News (Thursday): "They know that we came from where they are."

He was trying to make the little terrorists stop but inadvertently he explained why they all kicked off in the first place. Their heroes have got more loot than they could ever hope to fit in a shopping trolley but these kings of bling come from the same background. It's the so-called "sense of entitlement"; if JT can have it, so can I. And if footballers can misbehave, so can I. Just without playing all the football. They don't have goals in life, do they?

So what created all this filthy lucre? It's the Premier League, which began its 20th campaign yesterday. How ironic, then, this anniversary celebration was almost put on hold because of the disturbances, and Tottenham players are supposedly scared to leave their houses.

The Night Football Changed Forever (Sky Sports 1, Tuesday) told how, in the wake of the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 and rampant hooliganism, the BBC and ITV stopped showing the game and the "Big Five" clubs, Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, met to discuss forming a breakaway league so they could get their hands on more money.

Lord Justice Taylor's report after the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 compounded the issue. It told the Football League to clean up its act, and renovating the grounds would require a lot of money. After all, as a Times editorial said, football was "a slum sport played in slum stadia and watched by slum people". Does such invective sound familiar?

Hillsborough concentrated the mind. Before then, the big five had bickered with the League about names on shirts and an extra five minutes for half-time. The Football Association ran with the idea of a Premier League because, believe it or not, they were worried about the exodus of the best players into other European leagues.

Remember Graham Kelly, that impossibly dry old stick who was the FA's unlikely front man? Bizarrely, it was he who would be the catalyst for change. No doubt Rooney and Co toast his name every time they crack open a bottle of Cristal.

You would think this programme would be an indulgent celebration of all things Sky, but actually it was ITV that made all the running – and then promptly lost the rights to Sky after just one year when Rupert Murdoch's henchman, Sam Chisholm, massively outbid them at the last minute.

It all stemmed from Murdoch being impressed by Sky's ground-breaking coverage of the England cricket team's overseas tour of the West Indies the previous winter. Sky's Vic Wakeling said: "Sport was, as Rupert is often quoted, the battering ram." A rudimentary weapon, but one that would get you inside any sports shop if you wanted a new pair of trainers.

This tale of greed and despotism combines three of the summer's top stories: hugely over-extended credit, rampant materialism and an unscrupulous media baron. United we fell for it; now divided we stand.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas