Even for football the ratings rule

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The Independent Football

ITV are apparently in shock over the vertiginous decline of ratings for the Saturday football show. They shouldn't be. Football is a game of the blood and the emotion. It is a not a commodity to be endlessly sold at any time and in any situation.

Good football, and good comment, will get the job done without the endless tarting of technological gimmicks. John Motson drew sneers about his judgement, and motivation, when he warned that the football market was in danger of grave over-exposure. But the early evidence says he was right. Just as Des Lynam was wrong in his long campaign at the Beeb for an earlier kick-off to Match of the Day.

For football there must be a deeper chill. Television may be a rich paymaster but it is also a hungry one. There is nothing quite like a drop in ratings to shift its appetite.