Roald Dahl and the Perils of Non-stop Televised Footy

She may be wearing Arsenal colours, but do we really want to end up like Veruca Salt?

With a pandemic in full swing, grounds closed and our addiction still very much evident, the decision to “spread out and televise” all of the Premier League matches felt like we were getting everything we ever wanted: Total non-stop football.

But we can’t do it forever (whatever AW wants in his new role!). It’s probably about time things went back to normal, for me anyway.

I never thought it would be said, but are we getting too much football?

So the rumour that “they” are considering continuing the style of mass broadcasting even after fans return to the grounds is troubling to me.

We’ve been spoilt. And anyone who remembers the spoilt Veruca Salt in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ knows that this doesn’t lead to happiness. It actually leads to you getting roughed up by angry squirrels. Not what anyone wants.

Charlie Bucket was only rarely allowed chocolate, and he was much happier. So it may be hard at first, but shouldn’t we have our treats taken away? Wouldn’t we enjoy our addiction that be more?

The trouble with non-stop football is it never stops. We don’t have much of a chance to miss it (except in an Interlull), or get really excited about it. By the time we have messaged our mate to take the mick out of his team for getting battered, they’ve already turned it round.

So what do you think? Chocolate rarely, and savoured; or “Dave Jones’s voice from the screen: ‘Dont go anywhere! Coming up it’s the big one! Sheffield United v Fulham!'”



13 Responses to Roald Dahl and the Perils of Non-stop Televised Footy

  1. RockyLives says:

    Nice Post LBG.

    To me it comes down to the old adage of: “be careful what you wish for.”

    When televised football was Match of the Day on Saturday night, the Big Match on Sunday lunchtime (both ‘highlights’ shows) and the FA Cup Final I used to fantasise about a time when you could watch any game you liked when you liked.

    And that’s where we are now.

    Would I go back? Probably not, because I can never get enough Arsenal.

    But we have undoubtedly lost something ever since the traditional rhythm of English footy began to be disrupted.

    Football used to be played entirely at 3pm on a Saturday and you either went in person or you waited until the highlights on TV.

    With an hour of the final whistle blowing, in cities all round the UK, paper sellers would be out flogging the results special (known variously as “the Green ‘Un” or “the Pink ‘Un” depending on which colour of cheap newsprint was used. The sellers would go in the pubs and walk the streets shouting out their wares “Get your Pink ‘un” and we would buy it to get all the results and some reports of the main games.

    It was a mass communal activity.

    Not any more.

    We have gained, but we have lost.

  2. RockyLives says:


    Well, we have just about survived the first week of the Interlull with new Posts every day.

    Thanks in particular to LBG and Redders for chipping in this week with some brilliant contributions.

    But we have another week to go so…

    Any conversation starters, any daft ideas, any trips down memory lane, please pop them into drafts or email them to

    Remember, it could be just a few paragraphs about a particular player or formation, a game you once attended or, like today’s Post, a meditation on the state of footy generally. Whatever you feel like.

    Tomorrow we’ll have a charming reminiscence of the 1979 FA Cup Final (Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd)… from a Man Utd fan. And not just any Man Utd fan, but the one who got yours truly a ticket for that very game.

    Thank you in advance for any contributions.

  3. LB says:

    A very entertaining post.

    “It leads to getting roughed up by squirrels and nobody wants that”

    Very funny.

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    Now we’ve crossed the Rubicon I don’t think there’s any turning back. All games will be broadcast, but a number will be pay per view.

    It does seem like a non-stop merry-go-round at the moment, but there’s always the option to not watch.

    It will be interesting to see if football powers on after the Covid situation improves or gets less popular.

    I’ve been waiting for many years to see my season ticket cost reduced. Wishful thinking…

  5. GoonerB says:

    Expertly written LBG, thank you. I think your poser could be considered on 2 levels. Firstly how many games are broadcast throughout the season and secondly how should we shape the domestic season in terms of its duration?

    I am with you that we need that break between seasons to harness our longing for its return, complete with that eternal hope that this year will be our year… least until mid November when grim reality eventually takes hold.

    However, I think that there will need to be some temporary sway from the norm with how many games are televised. I can’t see Covid allowing a return to normal full capacity crowds until at least the 2022-2023 season.

    I think next season will see a phased return of partial capacity crowds so many people will need the TV fix in alignment with those lucky enough to attend.

    However I don’t see why we would need to extend the season beyond its norm and therefore have that natural break through the summer.

    We have international tournaments every 2 summers anyway, and due to covid we have back to back ones these next 2 summers. So, for me keep the televised games higher until we are closer to normality with going to the games, but dont mess around with the domestic league duration.

  6. Pete the Thirst says:

    I remember getting the ‘pink’un’ in Manchester. It was good enough to put your chips in. And the scores were incomplete due to printing times.

    Those were the days!

  7. GoonerB says:

    Not sure if it already exists but what the TV broadcasters and the clubs should do is work out a deal where the season ticket holders can access the televised games without charge, if they are not one of the chosen allowed to go.

    Then they can work out how they want to shape it with a mix of pay per view and monthly subscription access to the different games to non season ticket holders.

    I also think they should start to screen away games on a big screen at the EMS so season ticket holders can attend the ground with some atmosphere and alternate between live home games and big screen away fixtures.

    Not quite the same but would still get some of the feeling and atmosphere of going to the ground and supporting your club going again.

  8. RockyLives says:

    Next season is going to be very strange.

    The EPL season will start and then will be suspended for the Corruption World Cup in Qatar (official dates Nov 21 – Dec 18, but presumably with time before for friendlies and prep and time afterwards for recovery).

    Then there’s the African Cup of Nations in January (bye bye Auba, Partey, Elneny).

    On balance I think GoonerB is right – we won’t have a “normal” season until 2022/3.

  9. GoonerB says:

    Loved the squirrel analogy LBG but it immediately made me think of Dom Holly and trigger happy TV with their giant squirrel sketches.

    If I had the technical know how I’d put up a clip but alas you’ll have to look it up yourself if you haven’t seen it

  10. GoonerB says:

    Haha Rocky. You are the master of diplomacy. The way you politely pointed out that I had decked up because we dont have back to back international summer tournaments because the Qatar one has been moved from the norm.

    Thank you for your kind way of pointing out I’m a moron, but I actually often miss Chas telling me directly that I’m a moron as well at times.

  11. RockyLives says:


  12. LBG says:

    Looking to the future.
    Four players now destined for Africa Cup next January- Aubang, Partey, Elneny, Pepe –
    Laca, Nketiah, and Balogun’s positions as strikers somewhat precarious in the Summer. Bit short on goals for next season, folks!
    Surely Martinelli should be being blooded on a more regular basis NOW, Mikel?

    Even the creative side is a concern. Looks like BOdegaard might have to return to Spain. Torreira and Guendouzi are still on our books, but are they likely to be reintegrated? Willock is still apparently our top scorer from midfield this season. Get Azeez on the pitch, Mikel, and let us see how he copes with the big boys.

  13. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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