Channel 5 lurch back to 1990s with Football League Tonight

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Football News

With the BBC no longer having the rights to produce a Football League highlights package show, Channel 5 have taken the plunge in a big way and put together a prime-time Saturday night 9pm show, Football League Tonight.

Kelly Cates and George Riley are competent presenters for a magazine style of show and this week's guests of Adam Virgo and Martin Allen were workmanlike in giving an ex-pro's view on the day's big talking points and excitable in assessing his team's performance and League Two in general.

The main problem with the show is its format and style which in large parts appeared to be based on 1990s television as a hybrid of TFI Friday and Fantasy Football.


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Having a live audience doesn't add much to the show and the few times there was interaction between the presenters and the audience were lamentable.

This included a skit about Sheffield United's new away kit, a conversation which wasn't audible to the viewers at home and several people holding up betting odds for Championship title contenders in a manner similar to a seaside beauty contest.

The camera angles were odd at times and the blocking for presenters and guests often left them looking ill at ease on camera.

In an age where highlights can be accessed via mobile devices and for those with access to Sky Sports News there's is Goals Express at 6pm (a good three hours earlier than Channel5's offering starts), it has competition and it will have to be seen whether the ratings it draws meet the channel's expectation.

Despite the criticisms, Channel 5 should be applauded for showcasing a non Premier League offering at prime-time and with some cosmetic changes and maybe aping some aspects of Match of the Day, the show can be better and be part of the Saturday night football offering for years to come.

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