Matt Gatward: Sport on TV

Got a scoop too good to share? Join an exclusive club

The first guilty party was MUTV, Manchester United's subscription channel, which had that scoop to beat all scoops with Roy Keane presumably in full, blood-curdling cry as he dissected a tape of his side's pitiful performance against Middlesbrough last weekend. The club captain was naming and shaming his team-mates and tearing the defending apart like a tissue in Keane Plays the Pundit.

Now, watching the Hairdryer Mark Two at full power, would have been great television and a reason to sign up to a channel that is about as popular outside the red half of Manchester as, well, Roy Keane. Unfortunately, just before kick-off, his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Hairdryer Mark One, insisted the programme be pulled for the good of club harmony.

Keane Flays the Team-mate was obviously not what he had in mind. Mind you, surely fireworks were to be expected from Captain Combustible in a move that was akin to asking Graeme Souness and Alan Shearer their thoughts on Craig Bellamy.

As MUTV is owned equally by the club, Granada and Sky, and as Ferguson recently added the in-house channel to his blacklist for daring to question his selection policy, the Scot must have some clout with those two major shareholders to force them to put such a tasty serving in the bin.

The other moment of drama that was kept from us this week was the sad death of Best Mate on his long-awaited reappearance. On Tuesday on At The Races the triple Gold Cup winner was pulled up at Exeter and collapsed out on the course .

While obviously no one wanted to witness the actual event, the story needed telling. Luke Harvey, the channel's anchor and a former journeyman jump jockey, proved to be as lightweight in front of the camera as he was ordinary on a horse. "It doesn't look too good for Best Mate fans," he said at the end of the race before turning his attention back to the winner.

The station then showed a re-run of the finish, followed the victor back to the winner's circle and - being the dedicated medium of the nation's hardcore punters - cut straight to the 2.50 at Worcester to get the early prices. The rationale was seemingly that the sooner the prices for the next race were flagged up, the more cash would be wagered and the biggest racing story of the year could damn well wait.

So, the viewer was left to watch the favourite Idle Talk romp home at Worcester - a must-see race, no doubt - before finding out the fate of Britain's favourite horse. By the time we returned to Exeter, Harvey had regained his composure sufficiently to deliver the terrible news but, all in all, it was an appalling way to cover such a dramatic tale.

Another sporting event was also tricky to track down this week. Chelsea's Champions' League defeat against Real Betis was used to launch ITV's new channel, ITV4. But only if you were a Freeview or NTL customer. If you were a Sky or Telewest viewer, the game was being aired on the Men and Motors channel - which was dressed up to look like ITV4 - instead of the usual Tuesday night offerings. Tough luck for those wanting to watch Club Reps Uncut.

Confused? So were many pub landlords across west London, who opted to screen the Liverpool stroll against Anderlecht instead, deciding it was less painful to listen to moaning Chelsea supporters than surf the interminable amount of channels available these days.

Maybe Jose Mourinho has as much swing as Ferguson when it comes to hiding his club's embarrassments.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee