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It's the football season (in more than one code!)

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Lewis Wiltshire | 16:23 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hello -

When I wrote on the Sport Editors' Blog in August I apologised for the lack of action here during the previous few months, and said I wondered if the whole concept of hearing about the process of running a Sport site might not be a little, well, dry, compared to hearing about sport itself.

But a good number of you told me you enjoyed the entries on the Sport Editors' Blog, and suggested we keep them up.

So with that feedback in mind I thought I would come back on here now, one month after the launch of the Football League season, to find out how everyone thinks it has gone so far (none of you had seen much of what we'd planned when we last spoke - now you have had a chance to do so), and also to announce an exciting football match which will be on this site on Thursday, and to announce a couple of new blogs.

I'll also try to answer any other questions about any other aspect of our site. Perhaps I could do just that on a monthly basis if everyone thinks it would be a good forum for feedback about

So, let's tackle those updates in reverse order. We have two new blogs launching this week.

One is by Phil Minshull, who will be our new European football blogger. We have felt for a while that we needed a presence on our football blog covering continental Europe. We have Tim Vickery on there covering South American football; Jim Spence covers the SPL; Phil McNulty covers the Premier League and Paul Fletcher covers the Football League; Joel Taggart covers Northern Ireland and the Wales national team is looked after by our team in Cardiff on our main site, rather than the blog site (although with the top two Welsh clubs being leading lights in the Championship, I would expect them to also feature on Paul Fletcher's blog).

Further, the BBC World Service provides a whole section on African football. But what of mainland Europe? What of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka? What of Gael Kakuta, whose move to Chelsea from Lens resulted in Fifa banning the English club from signing any players during the next two transfer windows? What of all the so-called big-five European Leagues apart from the Premier League (namely France, Italy, Germany, Spain)?

Real Madrid's Cristiano RonaldoPhil Minshull's blog will focus on the latest issues in European football

Whenever this website writes about major European transfers or a big game like Real Madrid taking on Barcelona those stories are very popular with our audience.

A report on Barcelona's league opener against Sporting Gijon - a relatively minor game - pulled in over 100,000 readers.

So we asked John Sinnott, one of our senior journalists who has written a good deal for us himself on European football, to find us a European football blogger and we eventually asked Phil Minshull, an experienced news and sport journalist who has been based in and around Madrid, for the last 12 years, to write it for us. His first blog on this site was published today.

The other new blog belongs to Neil Reynolds, and is about American football.

The fact that the NFL can sell out Wembley two years running for regular season games proves there is an audience for that sport in the UK, and last season this website had video highlights every week of the best matches (for a UK audience only).

We have an American football section with fixtures, results and standings, also. But we also felt we needed a blog, particularly since our colleagues at BBC Radio 5 live are going to have an NFL show every Sunday evening on 5 live Sports Extra this season.

One of the pundits on that Sports Extra show will be Neil Reynolds, the well-known NFL expert and former Sky Sports pundit.

Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate their winPittsburgh Steelers celebrate their Super Bowl XLIII win

Neil has agreed to write a blog for us, and like Phil Minshull, his first effort also went live on Wednesday.

I hope the blog will appeal both to NFL diehards and also to new fans who are coming to the sport all the time. Hopefully we can even build an audience ahead of the NFL game at Wembley this year, between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots, highlights of which will be shown on BBC television.

The Super Bowl in February will also be on BBC TV. Both those broadcasts will also be on this site for UK users.

Speaking of BBC TV output, on Thursday I am delighted to announce we will have the final of the women's European Championship football.

For those who have not been tuned to the exploits of Hope Powell's squad in Finland, England have reached the final where they will play Germany.

The match will be shown on BBC2, and also streamed live on this site, in the UK.

We will also have live text commentary of the game, plus reports, reaction and photos. BBC commentator Jacqui Oatley will be blogging before the game and again after.

Jill Scott is mobbed by her team-mates after scoring England's winner in the European Championship semi-finalThe European Championship final between England and Germany on Thursday will be shown live on the BBC

So now we're back on to football, what of the Football League? One month in, I am very pleased with how it has gone.

We have the video of every game in the Football League, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy on the site, we have a new 'match centre' when the games are being played, and we have new statistics services including live, 'as-it-stands' tables.

For anyone who wants to know more about the new services, it's worth looking at the previous blog I wrote so I don't have to bore those who already saw that by repeating what we're rolling out.

What I would be interested to do now is hear from those who commented last time, and have now had a chance to digest that coverage, and find out what you think about it. What do you like? What could be better?

One thing I do know - it's a fantastic time of year. Reluctantly, we have had to say goodbye to the Ashes, to the golf majors, to Wimbledon (although we're very much still covering Andy Murray in New York!), and shortly to rugby league and the rest of the summer sporting calendar.

But F1 is driving towards its season's climax, football is back, rugby union is back (with a new-look Jeremy Guscott predictions column) and we've a lot to look forward to, including a Winter Olympics and a World Cup next year.

I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts on any or all of that!



  • Comment number 1.


    That's good news, that football season has return....Also, no problems with the lack of involvement of the staff...

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    A few things to look out for then :)

    I am pretty disgusted in the lack of coverage womens footabll gets here at the beeb though, so your showing the final, about ****** time too, there has been very little (if any) mention of the womens game before this.

    This is the fastest growing sport in Britain (in terms of numbers playing), the BBC is supposed to be a PUBLIC SERVICE broadcaster after all, you display many thousand pages of football related information, yet didn't even mention the youth world cup England did so well in recently, but there have been upwards of 100 blogs, articles etc. about a Portugese bloke moving to Spain.
    Get your priorities right and treat the peak of BRITISH sport with the respect it deserves.

  • Comment number 4.

    Lewis -

    Couple of points on the sports coverage - one positive - one negative.

    - The Football league coverage is great. As a fan of a club that was relegated from the Premier League a few years ago it was a real shock to move from saturation coverage to having to scour the web for news - never mind being able to watch all the goals - Thanks!

    - The mobile site (via Wap) seems to have deteriorated over the last few months. Lots of links that don't work and problems with the navigation etc.
    Can someone have a look at these - I've sent details through via the feedback pages but am still having problems.

    Overall though - in my view, the BBC site is the best out there.

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil McNulty does a good job, so does Paul Fletcher, Europe is good, no-one cares about Women's football. Even the REAL women football fans (and there are many) laugh at all the coverage as the true fans follow the men's game.

    Basically, you should have just stumped up the cash to buy the PL rights when they were available. Now we've got ESPN trying to be British and the BBC trying to diversify into America with their terrible game.

  • Comment number 6.


    i really like the online features but i really hate the football league show on tv. it's on too late, it's all about four teams (newcastle, leeds, charlton and to some extent notts county), there's no need for calls and texts (do you see that on match of the day?? no.) and finally why do championship games get extended highlights (as in newcastle v west brom on the opening day), why dont league one/two clubs only get a mention when there is no championship fixtures.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi, i have followed the bbc footbal league coverage, i must say it has been good so far. but i have one major concern, for example in the championship thier are 24 clubs, why does one club (newcastle united) take up half the show every week, 40% of the show goes to the likes of sheff united, roy keane and middlesbourgh.

    Please can i ask have you got any plans to improve the coverage time of the so called smaller clubs, such as blackpool, barnsley, scunthorpe? It really does show bias, I am sure one of the BBC's main aims is to show no bias at all, i sorry but in this case it clearly has. The BBC will show 10 live championship games this season, of the first 4 games, newcastle are in 2 of them, it says it all really. i look firward to hearing your response

  • Comment number 8.

    good news, if there's anything football related, i'll be there. why can't i see anybody's comments. has everyone gone to the pub?

  • Comment number 9.

    Football league coverage so far has been good

  • Comment number 10.

    More European articles are warmly welcomed and please keep up the SPL & Scottish articles as they often feel like an after-thought on this British site.

    Chick Young's observations are well respected and discussed away from this website.

    What about "LIVE UPDATES" for the Scottish League??? If the whole English League and even the Blue Square Premier are featuring this new website innovation, then why not the same treatment for the Scottish League (SPL is on live-update)? Seems yet another BBC Football-Sports website after-thought that the Scots should just suck up and tolerate.

    Come on BBC Sports website football team!!


  • Comment number 11.

    Who will replace Steve Claridge now that he's playing for Weymouth?

  • Comment number 12.

    We have the video of every game in the Football League, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy on the site


    No, you have in most cases a pathetic 60 second roundup which is really just the goals and shows nothing of the rest of the match. I believe we were promised at least 5 minutes for each match at one point and this should be the case. You film the entire match I presume so it's surely just a case of spending a little more time on each to put togethr the highlights and provide a service that is actually useful instead fo one where me and most of my colleagues don't even bother looking at anymore, which is a waste of time for everyone.

  • Comment number 13.

    Though your weekend coverage of the football league on television has been excellent, I would question why there is no 'Football League Show' to cover the many midweeks when there is a full programme of action. Given that the vast majority of games take place on a Tuesday, then would it not be possible to put the show together in time for a late Wednesday night slot? Though the action can be seen on your website, it is far less convenient to watch all of the goals in this fashion. I would even suggest having a 'Football League Show - Light' in midweek that could show the goals without the need for a presenter or analysis if that is an issue causing the current absence of a programme.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great idea for the European League blog.

    Having lived in mainland Europe for a while I have struggled to find articles in English that cover La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 etc.

    Will it include any stories about the Jupiler League?

    Look forward to it.

  • Comment number 15.

    As a gillingham fan i am very much enjoying the new coverage. The ability to get a quick highlights package is much appreciated when unable to make it to the games. Before it was verey difficult to find highlights whereas now it is just a click away - it's much appreciated!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Can we get rid of the texts and e-mails bit from the football league show please. It is on late enough as it is and I want to see the goals and then go to bed (I'm getting old), not listen to comments from fans of clubs I'm not really interested in.

    Apart from that, keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 17.

    The Football League show is a welcome addition to Saturday nights but it needs to be a standalone programme and not a Match of the Day add-on.

    Newcastle (and to a lesser extent 'Boro and West Brom) have been relegated from the Premier League and should be treated the same as all other clubs in the FL. The majority of fans of Football League clubs don't give a stuff about them yet it seems we are being told how lucky we are to have such clubs in amongst us and they are the main/live game more often than not.

    If these clubs are at the top of the table during the run in then there is clear justification to show them, however how about a level playing field to start the season?

  • Comment number 18.

    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    Freddawlanen - I am not sure which women's youth World Cup you mean. You say it was recent and that England did well in it, but I thought the under-17 and under-19 women's World Cups were in 2008, and again in 2010? Either way, we wouldn't cover it because we have limited resources and so I tend to enforce a rule where we generally don't cover under-age or over-age events, just adult sport. The exception to this would be under-21 men's football, which I think is newsworthy enough to merit coverage. But we don't cover seniors golf, for example, or youth sports by and large.

    On the wider subject of women's football, you are aware that we have a whole section devoted to it? ( And that we've carried previews and reports of all of England's games so far? With blogs from Jacqui Oatley at the game tomorrow plus the live video of the match on this site, I think we're doing an OK job with this tournament. And week-by-week, we always have a weekend round-up of the matches in the women's Premier League.

  • Comment number 19.

    RobRob2002 - sorry to hear you've been having problems with the mobile site. Can you be more specific about the problems you've been having and I'll make sure they're seen by the right people? Glad you're enjoying the Football League coverage though.

    1966, tangerinearmy, CelticFox, Dr_Bean and Minister for Beer - I am only really qualified to discuss the coverage on this website. I am not part of the team that produces the TV output, I am merely the web editor! But I will make sure my colleagues in TV are aware of your comments!

    Lozzer90 - nobody is replacing Steve Claridge on this site, and as far as I know on TV either! I believe his appearance for Weymouth was on a see-how-it-goes basis, but even if he made a full-time comeback for them, he'd still see enough of the Football League to be an expert in it. I am delighted with the contribution he's made to the website so far.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have a request to make, regarding the match-day football coverage on the website.

    There is a box in the top-right showing latest scores, with a dropdown to select which division to display. All good.. but one thing would make it even better! How about a link directly from this box to the "text commentary" for each game? At the moment, I have to click on one of the club names, then click through to the text commentary from that game.

    A simple improvement that would make the site much easier to navigate!

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks to everyone who has praised the Football League coverage so far. And Overseas Toon - glad you like the idea of the European blog. I doubt Phil will discuss the Belgian league much, unless it becomes very newsworthy for whatever reason. I imagine he'll have enough of a task focusing on Italy, Spain, France and Germany, which are established as continental Europe's four biggest leagues, I think.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hackerjack - I am sorry you feel that way about the clips on the site, and I do absolutely take your points on board. We have also felt we would like the clips to be generally longer, and we have asked for this to happen from now on.

    I didn't ever promise "at least five minutes" because contractually we are capped at five minutes for these edits as a maximum. What I said in the last blog was that we'd aim for two-to-five minutes, and I totally accept that some of the clips have been under two minutes. I don't think I have seen any that are 60 seconds or under, but you may well be right. If a clip was 60 seconds, I would agree with you that that is much too short.

    I actually think the length of the clips is the biggest issue we have faced in the opening few weeks of the season. It has generally been a success, I think, but I have fed back to the team concerned that the clips should be longer, on the whole. Just so you know, it's not really as simple as just bothering to make them longer, as it's really a race against time to get them all edited, put voice-overs on them, check accuracy, and send them from BT Tower where they are produced back to Television Centre, and then publish them all. But nevertheless, agreed that 60 seconds is too short, and we'll generally keep trying for two minutes as a minimum. I am not promising that, for the record, but I am saying I agree with you and that is our aim.

  • Comment number 23.

    Lewis -

    Example of the problems I've had on the wap site:-

    I've always used the following page as a starting point for getting live scores:-

    This page still works - but not all of the links from it(to the different divisions/competitions) work. Since the season started only 'International' has worked - and 'Premier league', 'Championship' and 'League One' etc haven't.

    I searched on Saturday to see if there were any alternatives pages - and found:-

    This page worked - but was much slower to load and seemed to have too much formatting on it.

    Appreciate anything you can do to get us back to the original great wap service . . .

  • Comment number 24.

    My main (well, probably only) gripe is also with the length of the highlights shown on the site, and am glad to hear this issue is being taken on board. I do fully accept that it is an improvement on the zero minutes of highlights we got with previous broadcasters, however as a follower of a less fashionable team (e.g. we won a six-goal thriller earlier in the season and were still last on The FL Show!!) it would be nice to see the highlights on the site being a bit longer, rather than a repeat of the clip from the FL show.

    It’s good to see the additions to the blog team. The writers on this site are very talented and knowledgable and to add more to that can only be a good thing!

    If there are further additions in the future, I would recommend a few more of the ‘light-hearted’ pieces, such as the “review of the week” done by Chris Charles, which is a great mix of knowledge and humour from the writer.

    Also, blogs like this on the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff are always interesting to us outsiders. Keep up the good work!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Is there any possibility of a 'high-quality' option on the website highlight videos? If I view mine in full screen on my super-fast 'work' internet connection the picture quality is a bit naff?

  • Comment number 26.

    Lightsjp4 - a goood suggestion. In fact, we're already working on it. I would hope that exactly the idea you have outlined will happen in the next few weeks, but I won't pretend that we've instantly leapt on your idea and implemented it immediately. That would be a little disingenuous! Like I say, it was already in the pipeline.

    RobRob - thanks for the details. I will make sure the people that oversee the technical aspects of the mobile site see what you've written. Appreciate it.

    Dr_Bean, like the query from lightsjp4, your idea is also something we're already planning, but it's going to take a lot longer to get there in your case! I would hope it happens by next football season, but won't be ready for the current campaign. But definitely in the pipeline.

  • Comment number 27.

    Thanks for the reply Lewis. I'm impressed with how frequently you are responding to comments, and it seems that you are reading each and every one. This is a great example of how blogs and interactivity should work!

    Any chance you could get the new head of sport to start blogging a bit as well? I enoyed reading Roger Mosey's articles and hwo he also took time to reply to comments.

  • Comment number 28.

    Like several others, I don't understand why the Football League show is shown so late on Saturday, after an hour or more of football highlights on MOTD. A mid morning slot on Sunday would be far better.

  • Comment number 29.

    No complaints about the website - but it's the editors of the TV content we'd like to see back here. After all, that's essentially what this blog was all about.

    As for the Football League Show - ridiculous scheduling by the BBC. Thank god for PVRs, because anyone not fancying a late night seems to have little chance of catching it on the red button. It seems if it does turn up on a Sunday morning, it's often gone by around 10am. A scheduled repeat on BBC1/2 (or even BBC3 in the evening) would be much more beneficial to the viewer.

  • Comment number 30.

    Just wondering if Gavin Strachan's blog is returning?

  • Comment number 31.

    Dr Bean - thanks, appreciate your kind words. I drive all of our journalists crazy by demanding they respond to their audience. If I then did not do that, I imagine they would rightly hammer me! You do know Roger has his own blog on here now, and is still blogging regularly?

    Reaneyofftheline (is that in tribute to Paul Reaney? I had my photo taken with him once when I was a little kid), remember the programme is on the red button on Sunday mornings, so that effectively is a repeat, although I take Brekkie's point that it might sometimes get squeezed.

  • Comment number 32.


    Your answer in #18 worries me somewhat. This is the Sports Editors' blog, so there should be someone who could tell you the answer! Possibly the person who replied to me when I emailed in about the lack of even the Final scoreline.

    I can recommend a good podcast to listen to though. It's for Leeds Carnegie Ladies (my club). Where to find it, you ask? Why, on the BBC web site - it's produced by BBC Radio Leeds, and they'll be doing full-match commentary at all our home games this season too. The first edition mention the Euro U19 competition that England won (and that the rest of the BBC failed to notice).

    Left hand, right hand...

  • Comment number 33.

    overseasToon - you should try and listen to the World Football Phone In, either live or via IPlayer and if you can listen live then you can ask the resident Euro footy expert about the Jupiler Pro League (this is to distinguish it from the Jupiler League in Nederland). There's a group on facebook as well, you're very welcome.

    Despite RSCA making the early running, with this new play-off system I am backing Les Rouches because they seem to do it when it really counts and Boloni Laszlo is an unbelievable motivator.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi GaryOfBeeston. There's no need to worry about the left-hand not knowing what the right-hand is doing. I was momentarily confused by the previous comment, where freddawlanen made reference to a women's youth World Cup, which freddawlanen said had taken place recently. No such tournament has taken place this year, as you will know. I suspect that comment was actually referring to the Under-19 European Championship, not a World Cup, as you say, but neither of us knew that, so I was a little puzzled.

    And there's definitely no confusion about our coverage of women's football. As stated, we have a women's football section, which covers England's matches and also the Premier League, but we do not cover youth football on the main, national, site, whether that is men or women (with the one exception being men's U21). Local BBC outlets may do more on their local clubs, which is perfectly right and normal. Good luck for the season, and enjoy the coverage of England's final tonight on this website and BBC TV.

  • Comment number 35.

    have to agree with post #3. When transfer deadline day gets a whole day of live text, it beggars belief that participation at a major championships is neglected. The presence of a section on Women's football does not make up for this. Even getting to the final is a success story that should be celebrated. I made a similar comment regarding the coverage of the women's cricket team. Don't get me wrong Lewis, I'm glad something is happening, but it could have happened a lot earlier.

    The fact that I live outside the UK and therefore cannot follow the live feed or get the League 1 highlights is, of course, another topic - although in this case should not be too much of a problem as I live in Germany and therefore am getting the final rammed down my throat, given that the Germans think the result is a foregone conclusion!

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have a few comments (good and bad) of the FL Show:
    Manish Bhasin has been a great choice of presenter for the show...another Leicester City fan and you have Gary Lineker as well who played for Leicester so its nice to have that represnetative

    Too much emphasis on Newcastle...PLEASE cut this down...not all of us want to know what they are doing...there are 23 other clubs but some silly person chose them again didnt they for live coverage didnt they?

    Its on a bit late - you probably dont and probably cant get it shifted around but its fine.

    The opening titles are rubbish...really rubbish...can you PLEASE update these ridculous titles...what does it say about the Football League?? Not might as well have had all the mascots and other things like the Match of the Day ones do...the music and titles are dreadful so need replacing.

    E-mails - can we have someone fixed reading the e-mails..watching the highlights now...Lizzie Greenwood Hughes...who?
    Why cant you stick with Jacqui Oatley...ske knows Football, this Lizzie person doesnt.

    Plus I felt a bit annoyed that you snubbed the whole of Euro 2009 and then decided only to show the Final because England were in it...why didnt the BBC show the whole tournament?
    The BBC should up its commitment to the Women's game..maybe send a camera to the Premier League games and show highlights...Im sure it works out for the BBC to do that.

  • Comment number 39.


    Perhaps I could do just that on a monthly basis if everyone thinks it would be a good forum for feedback about

    I think that is a wonderful idea and it would work....

    =Dennis Junior=


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