Outside the Box: Spanish television marathon is a sight for square eyes

 

It has not happened in the Premier League – yet – but in Spain this weekend there is the ultimate example of how football is in thrall to television, with all 10 La Liga matches starting at a different time to facilitate maximum coverage.

The "feast" began yesterday with the less than appetising prospect of Zaragoza at home to bottom-of-the-table Osasuna (4pm local time) and continued at two-hour intervals through to Barcelona against Granada (10pm). Mallorca and Valencia have a midday start today in the first of five staggered games culminating in Real Madrid's visit to Real Vallecano (9.30pm).

Then there is the Monday night event pioneered by American football and copied by Sky Sports when La Coruna meet Seville.

It will be no surprise that Madrid and Barcelona are given the two prime slots, as they continue to be the biggest audience-pullers and claim 50 per cent of all TV revenue. The others fight among themselves to do their own deals.

At least the Premier League in its various agreements – BT Vision, with Jake Humphrey as presenter, replace ESPN next season – offers all 20 clubs the same basic share before adding on varying amounts based on TV appearances and league position.

Bridge of sighs for Woods

For Michael Woods, once regarded as one of the brightest English prospects, football has come almost full circle, from Chelsea to Stamford Bridge – though not in the way he hoped.

The midfielder first made news in 2006 when Chelsea's then chairman Ken Bates was accused of poaching him and another young player, Tom Taiwo, from Leeds United (ironically where Bates is now chairman).

A settlement between the clubs was reported to be for several million pounds, but Woods played only two FA Cup games and Taiwo never made a first-team appearance. The latter went on loan to Carlisle, eventually signing for them and, after saying he wanted to be closer to his family in Yorkshire, he has just moved to, er, Hibernian.

Woods played half a dozen times for Yeovil at the end of last season but last weekend was back in his home city, in the third tier of the York Minster Engineering League. His team? Stamford Bridge.

Turn grey while waiting

Talking of Leeds, has any player ever waited so long to score for his first club as Andy Gray? With an impeccable Elland Road background as the son of Frank (more than 350 games) and nephew of Eddie (former manager, voted third-greatest Leeds player of all time), he made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1996, going on to play for them in that year's League Cup final and winning two Scottish caps.

After amassing a century of league goals for 10 other clubs, he rejoined Leeds during the summer and finally scored for them last Tuesday, in the last minute of a 3-2 home defeat by Hull City.

Bookies play by the book

Since our feature (on 26 August) about the identity of "The Secret Footballer", whose book of the same name was published last month, a different sort of book has materialised – comprising odds from William Hill.

Whereas Bolton's Kevin Davies was the favourite in a readers' poll, so much money was immediately plunged on Dave Kitson, now with Sheffield United, that he was reduced from 7-1 to 1-3. The abrasive Kitson fits many of the clues, having come up through non-league as a late starter, been through promotion and relegation (with Reading) and once set a club-record transfer fee (to Stoke).

But doubts and possible red herrings remain: the newspaper in which he writes continues to bill him as a "Premier League footballer", which Kitson has not been for two years; and as Hill's spokesman Joe Crilly points out, a recent column mentioned playing abroad, which Kitson has never done.

All bets will be refunded if the identity is not revealed by the end of the year, which, as it is in nobody's interest to do so, is the likely outcome.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition