Sky Sports 5? Try Going to a Game

Yippee, just what we need -live football. Don't get me wrong, I love football. I love watching football, but there is nothing better than getting out there and attending a game, no matter the level.

Sky Sports have announced yet another new channel with even more live football - enough of this, try going to a game.

BSkyB have announced the introduction of Sky Sports 5 that will exclusively show European football when the channel hits our screens in August this year, along with a new broadcasting deal to show Holland's Eredivisie.

Yippee, just what we need - more live football.

Don't get me wrong, I love football. I love watching football, but there is nothing better than getting out there and attending a game, no matter the level.

As a season ticket holder at League One club Peterborough United, I have seen more than my fair share of, ahem, below par performances. So, some of you might be asking, why would you want to spend £20 to watch that when I could stay inside and watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

It's quite simple, actually, because football is not about sitting indoors and believing that the game begins and ends with the Premier League and Champions League.

Many believe that lower league football is not worthy of exposure - I've had the displeasure of working for some of those people - and Sky Sports 5 is the epitome of the problem for football's foundation. Far too many would rather watch football from abroad than go out and support a club on their doorstep - the type of club that produces future stars.

Ironically, Sky have opted to bring out a new channel for European football when in, a year's time, they will lose its crown jewel, the Champions League, to BT Sport for a minimum of three years. In the end, Sky Sports 5 will consist of internationals (although BBC and ITV will continue to show the European Championship and World Cup) and whatever European league is not already being broadcasted by either Sky or BT (with Spanish, Italian, Dutch, French and German football already catered for).

There was a time when you would be considered a football hipster if you watched the European game, now, sadly, this label is becoming more apt for those of us that would rather go out and support our local club.

Surely it is the Stockport Countys and Gosport Boroughs of this world that need the money far more than the Chelseas and Real Madrids? No?

Don't get me wrong, I can understand why there are those that would prefer to sit on the sofa on a cold and wet Tuesday night watching Barcelona v Bayern Munich than heading out to Plainmoor for Torquay United v AFC Wimbledon, but you are missing out.

You're missing out on being a supporter. Anyone can be a fan, and it's easy to support a club from your sofa that regularly wins the Premier League. If you have ever gotten yourself down to the mediocre surroundings of a Football League or non-league clash, you would know that there is nothing humdrum about it - you will have been taken in by the passion on display, not just by the players on the pitch, but by the supporters in the stands (actual terraces, in some cases).

This is the foundation of our game, this is what football relies on - if it's not supported then where does that leave us? With a half-baked proposal for B teams to enter the Football League by a commission who claim to have the game's best interests at heart?

Sky Sports 5 is fine if you prefer watching from afar, but remember that you are nothing more than a subscriber. Real football is much more than that.


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