Life after Manish – Football League Tonight crashes on Channel 5 launch

9 Aug

Channel 5 launched their brand new Football League highlights show on Saturday night and it’s fair to say that the reaction has been universal. As an act of bringing fans together, they achieved the impossible as supporters of Brentford, Ipswich Town, Wolves, Hull City, Leeds United – infact just about every league club you could mention – took to Twitter to vilify 5’s new ‘Football League Tonight’ Show.

Quite literally, where do you start? When it was announced that Manish, Leroy, Clem and the rest of the BBC team would be losing the highlights package after 6 years nobody could have imagined what we’d be left with. Indeed, the much trumpeted announcement of a 9pm start time had many of us lightweights genuinely pleased. No longer would the League highlights be an afterthought tagged on catch those who had fallen asleep during Match of the Day.

To make this worse, the choice of Saturday night viewing is a normally awful selection. Something involving Ant and Dec; a singing competition; Casualty. BBC2 at 9pm was screaming out for Clem yet we were forced to wait up until gone midnight for the chance to catch our team in action.

Clem  - much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

Clem – much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

But where the BBC lost out in terms of timeslot, they had everything else spot on. A charismatic host; great pundits; genuine humour from Leroy ; a decent amount of match action; Clem doing his thing up and down the country (and the regular reader knows there’s enough material on that topic to fill a book….)

Most importantly though, they had good highlights. In order.

Words cannot describe just how bad Channel 5’s replacement was. It got off to a fantastic start with a 9pm kick off and that’s about the only positive thing you can say about the show. Despite the potentially decent pairing of George Riley and Kelly Cates, the rest of it was a jarring car crash of a show that made me yearn for Clem.

Football highlights aren’t a hard thing to get right. Show the games in some sort of order and give some interesting analysis. Yet 5 threw that concept out of the window and left us with what was, quite possibly, the worst attempt at a football show since Colin Murray was let loose on us.

The show switched back and forth between divisions in a bizarre manner that suggested the running order had been picked out via car keys in a bowl. The studio audience (why? why? why?) stood around looking awkward yet when one was asked a question, they’d forgotten to even have a microphone ready.

Take me out - please

Take me out – please

The garish and cluttered set looked as if it had been designed by a school kid on day 1 of work experience whilst low budget rotating ‘league ladders’ resembled something left over from a 1970s episode of Blue Peter. And then there was Martin Allen…..

Usually good for a quote, the former Brentford and Gillingham boss didn’t even seem sure of what was going on (much like the audience). “We’ve got Millwall. I think they came down from the Championship” he opined at one point although did provide just one of many moments of unintentional comedy when George invited him to give some opinion on a goal his side had conceeded.

Here you go then, talk me through this” was met with some nervous laughter and the eventual reply “What do you want me to say?”

I could go on. We’re stuck with them for three years but the problems aren’t hard to fix. Show the games, in some sort of order. Cut the studio audience; give us some decent analysis. Just cut to the chase and show the bloody action rather than a level of banter that makes Jeremy Kyle look like Panorama.

When the producers saw that the show was trending on Twitter, they must have been ecstatic, until they read some of the comments. And here are just a few….

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Manish FLT

Nick Bruzon 


20 Responses to “Life after Manish – Football League Tonight crashes on Channel 5 launch”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) August 9, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    I had high hopes for C5 after they got the contract. After all, they had no other football to show. They were going to put it on a decent time. It was also no secret that the BBC didnt want it anymore, and spent the last couple of seasons seeing out the contract.

    I can even see what C5 were trying to do. Football programmes have not changed since the 70s, and they wanted to do something different to appeal to a bigger audience.

    But what was produced was a disaster. For those who have seen the brilliant series W1A, it was as if the programme had been produced by the agency Curve, headed by Siobhan (Jessica Hynes). It had focus group written all over it! Their was undoubtedly hispter types in skinny jeans gathered round with their initialled coffee cups, back in June who were ‘putting ideas in the car park’. They forgot what the programme was about and that’s the football highlights. It was so bad that even Ian Wright saw the looming disaster and turned the gig down.

    There will be some very worried execs at C5 today. I would not be surprised if we see a completely different programme emerging in the next few weeks.

    • nickbruzon August 9, 2015 at 6:52 am #

      It was a disaster of Irwin Allen proportions

    • Mike Fox August 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

      Maybe they haven’t changed because a huge majority like watching football highlights in a football highlights show? It was like Soccer AM with the odd football highlight clip, which is ok for kids but………………

      • nickbruzon August 15, 2015 at 6:40 am #

        We find out tonight…

  2. Stevie D August 9, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    Unfortunately, and I get no pleasure from this, I have to agree with the generally, disappointing, response to Football League tonight. On the plus side, I did get to see my teams match highlights without staying up until the early hours. But that was pretty much the only plus.
    Ah, I’ve just thought of another. It can only get better.

    • nickbruzon August 9, 2015 at 8:25 am #

      Thanks Steve. As you say, there’s no way this could get any worse. Surely nobody will be that blinkered to ignore some of the feedback

  3. Ashley Giles August 9, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Agree it missed Clem. But Manish was nothing special on the BBC, and Claridge is an awful pundit! The format is definitely the problem, not the presenters. Kelly Cates is brilliant on 5 Live.

  4. Richard Perry August 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    This was the most awful football programme ever. I thought for a minute I’d tuned into an early broadcast of Top of the Pops with a frozen audience and a thread of items that lacked any cohesion of logic. But no, I was watching a football programme that had learned nothing from 50 years of live broadcasting. In fact, I was so glad when my own team’s highlights were shown so I could switch off and lie down!!! This was motorway pile-up TV!!

  5. Richard August 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    Truly fucking awful. They didn’t even show the two ruled out penalties in the wolves match.

  6. Tony August 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    Its absolute awful in my opinion the presenting is not bad but the show in general is they should do what the football league show did show the championship games first then put league 1 and 2 afterwards I don’t like the way they mix the leagues together the Football league show wasn’t brilliant Manish was nothing special Steve claridge was so bad they should of got rid of him Leroy was a bit more interesting but I do miss clem because I like the way he goes to these clubs showing a bit of history from the past learn about things about the clubs but the bad thing was the time it was on to late this new one is on at 9pm much better but football league tonight needs to change its act

  7. Rod Holbrook August 9, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    It was total rubbish….did not even show Bristol City’s goals, oh hang on, we did not score any…Lol.

  8. Declan August 10, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Showing the goals with someone in the studio talking over them made it seem like those games were an afterthought. The parts that were watchable were the ‘commentary over the game’ highlights. You know like TFLS did (with even some of the same commentators).

    Why do we need a live studio guest? A studio audience? Fans holding up the odds on a piece of paper. A video from a cricket player talking about Sheffield Wednesday. Constant hinting to ‘and where is YOUR team on this flip-round league table’. Is that what football fans are tuning in to see? Doubtful, and you sense that the producers don’t understand what the audience wants. They’re seemingly targeting 16-22 year olds for a show about a sport that has an audience of all ages. You can imagine a boy and his grandad watching MOTD together, and both enjoying it. Can you here? Doubtful.

    What we got can probably be summed up by this: ‘We should probably see that Reading ‘was it over the line’ shot again….we’ll watch it later.’ (Off air by the way).

  9. HighworthGrecian August 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    This was the worst footy tv programme I have ever seen. It is easy to criticise the BBC but at least they [ut a qulaity package together. The Football Lg have shot themselves in the foot. I did not care about the time of the programme as I always recorded it and saw it the next day. I will be recording the Channel 5 programme to avoid the incessant adverts and the lottery!!! Come back BBC all is forgiven. Can anyone who knows how to start a national petition on line to get this programme back to the BBC?

    • nickbruzon August 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

      You could always start a crowdfunder campaign……

    • nick g August 14, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

      I agree a petition would be a great idea to get it back on bbc!!! This show seems to be aimed at wankers!!

  10. nick g August 10, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Just what i thought would happen when i heard the football league show was going to channel 5 was confirmed….absolutely crap. Why was this not kept on the BBC who had the perfect show of highlights, presenters, football experts and a cracking show. Channel 5 are a joke and they have this for 3 years….do me a favour and hand it back to the Beeb!!!!

  11. Mike Fox August 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Good blog, appalling programme. Never has “if it aint broke don’t fix it” applied more? And I could never see the issue with the late start as most people either watch it after coming in from evening out or record it and watch next day? Presenters ok but lets see football highlights and some stories and ditch the live audience. Commercial TV is good for port finances but a disaster for the viewer (try watching a couple of golf shots between interminable adverts on Sky Golf).

  12. nick g August 14, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Seen it twice now it it is still fkin shit. bbc had the perfect show and all channel 5 have done is ruin it for us footie fans… wonder if the people who done this show actually know anything about football!!

  13. Barry kilgariff August 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    good time slot but too much waffle
    more action
    less reaction

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