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Archives for October 2006

The Beautiful Game at the Emirates

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Paul Armstrong | 15:53 UK time, Monday, 30 October 2006

Pele famously described football as "The Beautiful Game", John Keats wrote that "A thing of beauty is a joy forever".

Therefore, logically, a football match should be "a joy forever".

Then again, someone else - and Google doesn't seem to know who - said "that beauty is in the eye of the beholder". For "beauty" read the "Beautiful Game", and for "beholder", read "spectator". One fan's glorious rearguard action is another's cynical parking of the team bus in front of the goal.

If you fought your way through that tortured analogy, you may be prepared to stick with me while I describe a Saturday afternoon out at Arsenal v Everton.

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First-round fun gets under way

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Lance Hardy | 14:40 UK time, Friday, 27 October 2006

This Saturday marks one of the most exciting Saturdays on the non-league football calendar when the first-round draw for the FA Cup is made, and you can watch it live on Final Score, BBC ONE, at 1710 BST.

The fourth qualifying-round scores will also be on the website from 1645.

The competition is now at the stage when the Nationwide Conference teams (nine of which are former Football League clubs) join the best of the rest from the non-league pyramid.

I think the pick of the bunch is AFC Wimbledon's visit to Exeter City. This is the furthest the club has got in the competition since its formation in 2002 when Wimbledon (now known as MK Dons) relocated to Milton Keynes.

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All ready for the FA Cup

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Howard Nurse | 12:38 UK time, Friday, 27 October 2006

Seven clubs involved in Saturday's FA Cup action have never reached the first round proper - and all 64 teams will be contesting for £10,000 in prize money - that's a relative fortune to most (including my own team Scarborough who face a tough game at Stafford Rangers).

Unfortunately, we can't bring you all the goalflashes from each tie during the games - because they are not available - but I can tell you how best to follow your team if they are involved.

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Crossing the line

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Paul Armstrong | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 23 October 2006

Saturday's Football Focus contained two items which grabbed my attention: firstly, there was a superb piece with Paul Canoville, the first black player to play for Chelsea; and secondly, they interviewed Michel Platini who's putting himself forward for the presidency of Uefa.

I'll return to Paul Canoville in due course, because I'd like to offer a personal perspective on his story, but first to the great Michel (Watch the interview with Platini).

He was one of the all-time great players, and could well be in charge of European football in the near future, so his rejection of video technology in favour of having four assistant referees was particularly interesting.

Perhaps we should send him tapes of the weekend's two Match Of The Days, to see whether he'd like to reconsider his stance!

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Sports Personality ticket touts

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Carl Doran | 12:57 UK time, Monday, 23 October 2006

I was really pleased that the tickets for this year's Sports Personality of the Year show sold out so quickly - inside an hour in fact!

We probably could have sold enough to have filled to capacity St Andrews and Villa Park such has been the interest in this year's event moving to Birmingham's NEC.

The downside of not having enough tickets to satisfy demand is that some Sports Personality tickets have appeared on eBay at vastly increased prices. We're really very disappointed about this.

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Covering Chelsea's keeper injury drama

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Paul Armstrong | 14:24 UK time, Tuesday, 17 October 2006

The events at Reading on Saturday reminded us all of the importance of keeping football in perspective. First and foremost, horrific though the injuries sustained by the two goalkeepers were, it's a huge relief to see that both appear to be on the road to recovery.

Petr Cech is clearly going to be out of football for a long time, but the initial reports on Saturday were more frightening still. Miraculously, despite a blow and fall reminscent of a boxer walking onto a haymaker, Carlo Cudicini appears set to return next Saturday.

As a result Saturday's Match Of The Day was one of our more subdued programmes, particularly since we had little more information about the welfare of the two players as we went on the air.

We led the programme with that game, and relaxed our normal rules about the preceding news bulletin having access to the action. The story had clearly moved onto the news agenda during the course of the evening.

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Sold Out

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Roger Mosey | 14:36 UK time, Monday, 16 October 2006

It's good news and bad news, I guess. The good news is that we sold out all 3000 tickets for this year's Sports Personality Of The Year in Birmingham within an hour of the box office opening this morning. The bad news is obviously that we can't accommodate any more people within the NEC and it turned out to be a fleeting opportunity to buy. But 3000 members of the public is, I hope, better than the zero in previous years; and we want the audience to contribute to the atmosphere of the show - which I'm sure they will.

Meanwhile, the debate about SPOTY continues in the papers...

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Technical problems

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Alex Gubbay Alex Gubbay | 13:17 UK time, Monday, 16 October 2006

Just a quick one to apologise for the technical problems we have had this morning, and at times in recent days, with updates to the website.

Won't go into the detail here - though will add some later if we're expecting significant problems to continue. But in the meantime, please bear with us and sorry for not being able to keep you up to date with Andy Murray's progress among other things.

We are working to fix the problems ASAP - our editorial team were updating our system as normal, but getting equally frustrated that those updates weren't reaching you!

FYI, Murray won 6-2 6-4. Normal service resumed for the lad, if not quite for us here in Shepherd's Bush yet...

Quality and quantity

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Chris Russell | 12:41 UK time, Friday, 13 October 2006

I find it hard to believe that the new 606 website is almost a month old.

We have noted the criticism and some people are always going to feel strongly about the decisions we have made. However I'm happy to say that if you search for one of the main football clubs and you'll find pages and pages of great content.

Every Premiership club has quite a bit there. For Man Utd there are 16 pages of results, 20 articles to a page. That's more than 300 articles. Arsenal and Liverpool are joint second in the league table with 13 pages each. After that it's Chelsea (8), Tottenham (7), Villa and Newcastle (5 each).

I've pasted some links in a full Premiership league table below.

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Football tomorrow and beyond

Roger Mosey | 16:43 UK time, Tuesday, 10 October 2006

A couple of pieces of news - the first about something happening this Wednesday and the second about another long-term rights deal for the BBC.

Ukraine v Scotland was already planned to be shown on BBC Scotland. Now, given the huge amount of interest generated by the Scottish victory over France, we're showing the game UK-wide on BBC Two. You can catch it from just before 6pm tomorrow.

And an announcement today about radio Premier League rights. The BBC has won six out of the seven packages on offer for live commentaries between August 2007 and May 2010...

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In Defence of International Football

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Paul Armstrong | 20:28 UK time, Monday, 9 October 2006

For a while now, people have been predicting the demise of international football. "Club football is where it's at," goes the argument; "International tournaments make the season too long, and national sides playing during the season just results in injuries and fatigue for the clubs.."

All true up to a point, but if you like your sport to be unpredictable, last weekend's matches featuring the five British Isles national sides certainly fitted the bill. Anyone who called one or more of the five results, let alone scorelines, can be very pleased with themselves. Particularly if they backed up their predictions with a trip to the bookies.

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Cricket coverage update

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Alex Gubbay Alex Gubbay | 12:55 UK time, Monday, 9 October 2006

We've announced today that Manish Bhasin (Football Focus) and Rishi Persad (racing) will be the faces of our cricket TV highlights coverage this winter. As lifelong cricket fans, I'm sure both will do a grand job. Especially alongside the likes of Tony Greig and Geoffrey Boycott who'll provide the analysis as well as correspondent Jonathan Agnew - and indeed the one and only Richie Benaud.

And if that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, it's also worth us flagging up the latest details about what we're aiming to offer on interactive TV via your red button...

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International rights - another update..

Claire Stocks | 21:29 UK time, Friday, 6 October 2006

Contrary to Paul Armstrong's earlier post, we have now learnt that we do not have the rights to highlights of the Wales v Slovakia game on Saturday, which would have run in Match of the Day.

Apologies for the confusion.

International rights - an update

Paul Armstrong | 13:03 UK time, Friday, 6 October 2006

We've just been told that Sky, who have the live rights to the two forthcoming Wales home games, have agreed to sub-licence the highlights to us.

That means we'll be able to show an edit of both Wales v Slovakia tomorrow and Wales v Cyprus next Wednesday in our 1035/1040 BBC1 highlights show on the respective evenings.

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Sports Personality - On the move

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Carl Doran | 08:43 UK time, Friday, 6 October 2006

The Sports Personality of the Year programme is on the move from London for the first time in its distinguished 53-year history - and its new home is Birmingham.

The show has most recently been broadcast from a studio at BBC Television Centre.

For some time now, we've wanted to stage the awards in a much bigger arena to allow greater public access to the show.

I know, in the past, many sports fans have been disappointed they could not be part of this unique experience and the stars themselves have wanted the public there.

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Message board news

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Chris Russell | 10:03 UK time, Thursday, 5 October 2006

Following the launch of our new 606 site and the closure of the old 606 message board, we are now planning a phased closure of message boards covering sport topics on This will affect topics on the following sites – Fans Forum (Scottish football), Test Match Special (cricket), Scrum V (rugby union) and Five Live (all other sports).

These boards will be replaced by areas of the new site, which will continue to be closely aligned with existing programmes in Scotland and Wales as well as TV and radio output on Radio Five Live and BBC Sport. 606 is now designed to be for fans of all sports online and the radio programme, fresh from inviting calls about the Ryder Cup last week, is planning a number of cricket phone-ins for the winter’s Ashes series.

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International rights...and wrongs

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Paul Armstrong | 17:39 UK time, Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Much as we all love working on a belting Premiership weekend like the one just gone, covering live matches is always a real tonic for the troops.

For one thing, it means that we escape from our usual studio-based environment, and emerge blinking into the daylight. Admittedly, we in the production team merely exchange a bank of monitors at Television Centre for another in a van in a car park at Old Trafford. Even so, the immediacy of reacting to the action live on site, rather than a few hours later at base, gives us all a bit of an extra adrenalin rush.

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Arc Loyal

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Roger Mosey | 12:06 UK time, Sunday, 1 October 2006

There's been some debate in this blog about the BBC's attitude to horseracing - so a piece of news today may be of interest.

We're announcing a new three-year deal with the wonderfully-named France-Galop and TWI that will guarantee the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe remains on BBC screens until 2009.

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