Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Billy on the Box: Final Score just the tonic we all need

Published 11/01/2013

“I took a phone call from a woman who said she worked as a volunteer with the sick and elderly in hospitals and they all really look forward to BBC Northern Ireland Sport on a Saturday,” said Mark Sidebottom in one of the more surreal openings to Final Score.

“If you’re watching in your beds, I trust you’ll enjoy the next 10 minutes,” he said, more in hope than expectation, if we’re being honest.

“This weekend marks David Jeffrey’s 16th year in charge of Linfield. His back catalogue is bulging but still his hunger remains undimmed. Today he was aiming to take a big nibble out of Coleraine’s New Year hopes and he did that. On commentary, Jackie Fullerton.” Or not as the case was.

Silence and an anxious look into space for our presenter, who, quick as a flash, said: “All that nibbling and he’s taken a big bite out of our tape as well,” as bedpans, slippers and bottles of Lucozade were hurled across hospital wards around the country.

The Blues’ supremo was there, live and larger than life, although hard to say whether his bulging back catalogue had eased, as Sky enlisted him for their coverage of Cliftonville v Glentoran on Monday evening.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t help but bask in his unbridled joy that the local game is getting live coverage and we were served up a cracking game that was much more enjoyable than some of the Premiership drivel served up.

However, the vagaries of the abbreviations for football teams in live matches took a bizarre step as Clif took on G’ran. I’m happy enough with the first but ‘G’ran?’

Still it’s not just here as BRA, naturally enough, showed their cup prowess as Aston Villa were beaten by Bradford in the League Cup on Tuesday evening. Paul Lambert was just relieved they hadn’t been paired with RBAI.

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