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Footie...

Football was invented in England...

OK, we're now crap at it. Foreign players dominate our domestic league, and we can't even aford to own our own teams anymore (we need dodgy russian oil barons and even dodgier Thai - ex- prime minnisters buy and run them for us...) but...

ITS OUR GAME!!!
we made it up... we inflicted it on the rest of the world...

... and now UBC are giving us back our premier league... Thai Style.

I've lived in Thailand for almost 3 years now. For the 1st 2 years we had Premier League football on Star Sports and ESPN. OK, their coverage wasn't as good, or as professional as in England, but it wasn't bad. We got commentry, pundits who seemed to have a vague idea of what they were talking about and useful half time analysis.

This year the penny pinching profiteers at UBC have decided to produce the coverage themselves. They brought the rights to show the games, but thought they'd skimp on the commentary. Over the last couple of weeks, one of the main English Newspapers here, the Bangkok Post has published letter after letter after letter from other farangs, annoyed at the poor quality of the football coverage. Other teachers at my school have also complained about how totally crap it is, and about how they could sit in the office with a handycam and do a better job themselves. I've followed the story and the increasing numbers of complaints but, now, am so used to farangs wingeing without reason, that I dismissed it as being over the top. Surely the coverage couldn't be as bad as they say ??? could it ???

Bangkok's football crazy. Most Thai people recognise or like at least 1 English premier league team and normally have their favourite player (usually Beckham - Manu... even though he left a couple of years ago or Rooney - Manu) People like to walk around the city in their Manu, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton (quite popular here as they are sponsered by Beer Chang - a Thai beer company), and more dsiturbingly, and recently, Man City shirts.

Saturday night is the biggest football night. The coverage starts around 6, with 3 premier league games followed by spanish and german league matches, and then early morning highlights. It's possible to watch nothing but football for over 10 hours, if you count the highlights programmes too.

I love footie, Especially English footie, but nowadays, rarely get the chance to watch it. Most Saturday nights I'm either somewhere upcountry or out in Bangkok. I like to know the full timescores around 11pm but, am not that desperate to see the actual live games themselves. If I do see a live game, I'm normally in a restraunt or bar. It's normally way too noisy for me to hear what the commentators are saying.

Thai coverage of Thai matches - like the recent Asian Cup games - is usually OK. Whenever the Thai National Team plays, the commentators are biased towards Thailand, but its the same at home. Whenever England play an international, you rarely hear the commentators compliment the opposing side.

I had a long day today, and no plans to go out this evening. I finally had a chance to see (and hear) the new football coverage for myself. I came down to the lobby around 7pm. Liverpool were playing somebody or other. It was difficult to hear who they were as the commentators rarely mentioned the other side, or any of the players in it. In fact, I'm not sure if they really knew who the actual players in the Sunderland side were. And their in-depth analysis stopped at the point of..

sut-yort (brilliant eg. very good)
suway (beautiful)
suway - different tone (unlucky)
dee (good)
My dee (not so good)

We also had such gems as:-

ying (shoot at the goal) when it was blatanty obvious that the guy was kicking the ball towards the goal. Where else would he kick it ?

Hypia - during a close up shot when you could see his shirt number and read it yourself.

He's passed the ball - just after the guys passed it on to someone else.

and various Oh Ohhhh's whenever Liverpool had a shot on goal, so it was obvious who they commentators supported.


Now Chelsea are playing someone or other. Its improved slightly, but not much. At least the 2 presenters seem to recognise some of the players in the opposing team.

The commentators say very little of any use. After 20 minutes or so of trying to listen to the game, I gave up, loaded up the BBC sports pages on my laptop and started listening to and an old Oasis concert, whilst I stared at the pictures on TV. It made more sense, and created a much better atmosphere than trying to understand what on earth the 2 guys on TV were saying, and wondering why on earth they were saying it.

OK It takes me a while to try and translate from Thai to English, but whatever they said seemed to be said a few seconds late eg. 'X has the ball' happened just after 'X' had already passed the ball. By the time I'd translated it, there'd probably been a foul, a free kick and X probably send the ball sailing well over the crossbar. It was very hard to follow. Maybe they were lucky enough to get the real commentary, and were trying to translate bits of it ???

People complain about the football commentary in England too, but it's really not that bad. ITV sacked Fat Ron Atkinson a long time ago, and its improved lots since then. At least the commentators give their opinions about shots, passes and crosses, and can add useful information about the team.

Here in Bangkok, some ex pat bars and restraunts have started ignoring the Thai TV feeds, and started showing the games from Malaysia and Singapore, countries where the TV execs. thought about their fan base and decided that, since Football is an English game, it made sense to provide the commentary in English too.


Create Date : 25 สิงหาคม 2550
Last Update : 26 สิงหาคม 2550 13:53:05 น. 0 comments
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