Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Billy on the Box: We’re not Brazil, just a shame we’re not England

The ads promised that if you like football, you’ll love Setanta. Well, we’re heading for a break-up about as amicable as Paul McCartney and Heather Mills if things continue like this.

The prospect of a full day of World Cup footy with three matches in a row is as good as it gets, unless Holly Willoughby wobbled into the living room with a fish supper under one auxta, a big bottle of Magners under the other and a Sherbert Dip poking out from the top of her dress.

Things started well, off we went to Macedonia to see Scotland getting gubbed and then I eagerly awaited our wee team.

It didn’t augur well as Rob MacLean handed over to someone he called Steve Barrett and then the caption came up as Steve Bower. Could have been Keith Barrett for all I knew, but it turns out he used to present MUTV, hence why no-one has ever clapped eyes on him.

“Then it’s the turn of England, the only place to watch it live is Setanta,” he beamed.

Yeah, okay, any chance you can talk about us for a minute or two. Then he proceeded to talk to Lawrie Sanchez about Mark Paterson, must be a relation of Martin’s who was playing by mistake.

And all this from a comfy studio. Why weren’t we at the ground, the same luxury as Scotland and England were afforded?

Another plug for England followed and we weren’t even spared at half-time, as Angus Scott turned up from Barcelona, perched on a stool like an off-duty air traffic controller to tell us to join him at 6.30pm for England, and the Spanair flight from Gatwick was on time.

Apparently Setanta was the only place you could see it.

Into the second-half and just as Northern Ireland were pressing up popped the England team at the bottom of the screen and suddenly it all went black.

Back to the studio and Steve stuttered that the pictures had gone but did have the presence of mind to remind us that ‘don’t forget after us, the only place you’ll see England...”.

Just a shame we couldn’t see Northern Ireland as the ball was being picked out of the net.

Still, I was confident we’d cover this in the post-match analysis - all three minutes of it.

And then we were off to sunny Spain for Angus, now joined by Steve McManaman and Terry Venables for the epic clash with Andorra.

Andorra? It’s a type of wool for goodness sake, who do you play in the next game - Merino Wanderers?

Maybe I’m being harsh on Setanta but if you’re going to cover our games, cover them. We don’t just fill time before England arrive. Just ask David Healy, or Denis, as you’ll probably call him.

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