Setanta to fold, make football more watchable for America

With the company seeking £100m in “fresh investments” it’s looking increasingly like the world’s dumbest football-content provider may fold.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t call it “shitanta” without warrant. They were horrible, even unbearable at times. Like when they would have an hour preview of the matches where they would have some monchichi coiffed fucktard (Paul Dempsey) babbling on about all the shit he’d heard about on other tee vee programs. Inevitably he would spout one of the following before every Arsenal match:

Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 4 years

Arsenal’s defense is a mess

Arsene and Arsenal are bad sports

blah blah blah Arsenal’s middle field need to bust their guts out won’t sign anyone don’t make me luff

That guy losing his job is the upside to this whole sordid affair. I think I can sum up their entire broadcast enterprise thus; their most popular segment, by every measure, was their puppet show. A puppet show. A show where grown men stick their hands up the asses of a doll and crack childish jokes while making ridiculous voices.

It will also be a relief to the rest of the world to put their “bloggers” and “reporters” out of their collective misery. No longer will drivel from the likes of Pat Dolan fill my RSS feed! In fact, the only reason why I subscribe to their feeds at all is that they usually re-print stories from other news sources and they allow comments, which sources like The Telegraph do not (or require registration to read the comments). Through the comments I can get a sense of what my fellow Gooners are thinking on a topic, so that little value-added bit will be missed.

Oh well…

Honestly I don’t know what they were thinking with their business model. They wanted people to pay for a subscription service to watch football. Why would I pay $2o a month (or more, some folks would have to upgrade their television service just to be able to subscribe) to watch football when I could take that same $20 and buy beer at the bar that’s showing the game? You know, hang out with my friends, watch the game together? Oh, I nearly forgot to add that even if you subscribed to the channel you would still have to pay-per-view some premium games.

Maybe the $20 paid for the puppet show and the thoughtful commentary.

I say all this knowing full well that as an American I have been very privileged. Because of Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel, I have been able to watch nearly every Arsenal match, including Carling Cup early round stuff where I’m the only one at the bar, over the last 3 years. Before Setanta, I would have to pay-per-view big matches and I would have to settle for watching some other crap and hoping to get live scores for Arsenal at half time.

But here’s the thing, because Setanta gave fans the ability to watch every single match, when they sell off the rights (which they will do) someone like ESPN will step in and broadcast games. Setanta built the demand, they did it stupidly, but they have built the demand. We all knew that ESPN was trying to get in on the EPL anyway so Setanta’s collapse just accelerates that. Moreover, the fire sale of rights means that it will be profitable, right away, for ESPN to broadcast these games.


Thanks, Setanta, for bringing us the world’s sport, now step aside and let the big boys have their time.

The Poop Scoop

If yesterday’s transfer rumors were dead, today’s are deader-er. There’s one article about Yaya, with his agent saying that Yaya is unlikely to come to Arsenal because they won’t pay him enough. A lot of people are looking at this as the death knell of the Yaya saga but to me this sounds like an agent trying to put pressure on Arsenal to up their offer. Everyone else is making up negativity about this, me, I’m making up positivity. In my world, Arsenal talked to Yaya’s agent and said, “we’ll pay him £40k.” Yaya’s agent said, “hmm, not enough, let me embarrass you in the media and see if you’ll up that to £60k.”

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie is preparing for his future as a Setanta blogger and has given us his analysis of Vermaline: he thinks Vermaline is the perfect signing for Arsenal. YAY the RvP seal of approval! Just what Arsene needed, rumor has it that this signing has been hung up waiting for RvP to give his approval. With that hurdle cleared, the deal should go through at any moment now.

And finally, the deal we’ve all been waiting for the press to break; Arsenal are selling William Gallas Agbonlahor.

William Gallas is now truly a #10



53 Responses to “Setanta to fold, make football more watchable for America”

    June 10, 2009 at 7:51 am


  2. 2 Gooner
    June 10, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I think you’ll find your article has a picture of Gabby Agbonlahor in the Gallas article.

    • 3 Tim
      June 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

      Yes, and also all of your posts register as spam. I don’t know why. I think you’ll notice that that is the daily express’s fault and not mine…

  3. 4 Bongo
    June 10, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Setanta folding is bad news for me. Here in Ireland we only have two sports broadcasters that air Premier League football matches, Setanta and Sky. The problem with Sky (or perhaps it was because Setanta had the rights) is that they rarely aired Arsenal matches, Liverpool and Man U have a far larger base of support here so they always get preference. Plus Setanta also aired SPL matches and they’d often get preference over Arsenal matches especially if Celtic are playing.

    It looks like I’ll be going to back to spending the first 1/2 hour of every match looking for the least laggy online stream only to settle for one that seems to lag only when the ball is in penalty area. So for all its idiocy and absolute bullshit analysis it will be missed.

  4. June 10, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Nice one. Sounds like the sale of Gallas, Adebayor, Eboue, Kolo Toure and Clichy should raise the kitty by £60m. Add on to that, we should get Veloso, Zapata, Vaemalen and David Villa. A team formed after that would really be capable of challenging on all fronts unlike the one we have that has mere potentials.

    • 7 Tim
      June 10, 2009 at 8:55 am

      Gallas £4m
      Adebayor £16m
      Eboue £2m
      Kolo £6m
      Clichy £6m

      I put it those sales at closer to £30m than 60.

      Veloso £10m
      Zapata £12m
      Vermaelen £12m
      David Villa £50m

      Those guys are £84m with Mr. Overrated topping the list at £50.

      I’m not even going to get into the fact that the last thing Arsenal need is David Villa, but just say that I think your valuations are a bit off.

  5. 8 Matt
    June 10, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Just because ESPN owns the rights, does not necessarily mean they are going to show live matches here in the states.

    Tim, like you, I have been able to watch 90% of all Arsenal matches for the last few years, it has been wonderful, and we all have Setanta to thank for that. If we were stuck with just FSC, which could be the case, we would have seen maybe 10 or 11 Arsenal matches this last season. That would have been awful.

    And even if ESPN chooses to air the EPL/FA Cup matches here in the states, they could very well put them on ESPN Classic or ESPN Deportes or ESPN360, channels which are difficult to obtain for some folks. The only way I can get Deportes, for example, is to buy the Spanish Language package which is like $35/month. And 360? Yeah, supposedly they are close to a deal with Comcast, but I *hate* watching sports on my computer. Hate, hate, hate.

    No, this is not a good thing at all, Tim. Say what you will about their talking heads, they aired lots and lots and lots of Arsenal matches…and when they go, that will go too.

    • 9 CaribKid
      June 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

      For under US$50.00, you can get a converter patch cord which runs from your PC to the TV/Cable Box and you can’t really tell the difference if you have an HD feed from ESPN360.

      Just don’t buy it from a Best Buy or CompUSA, they charge an arm and a leg for them. Just Google it and a host of sites will allow you to get the best deal.

      If you decide to do it and need more info just give me a shout out.

  6. 13 Matt
    June 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Oh, and the Russia-Finland WCQ is live in FSC today. 12:30 Central. I cannot wait for a nice dose of Arshavin.

  7. 14 Druss
    June 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Sentanta is truly crap, no doubt. As an online subscriber I was unable to get several games on the main channel, nevermind the second channel. The Under 18 FA cup coverage was an abortion with not 1 but 2 Liverpool guys in studio. But I’d like to see a couple things find new homes. Pat Dolan is excellent despite this blog post and deserves another shot. I really enjoyed his analysis and although you will never hear him say it I am pretty sure he is a gunner. Also, how can you not like Special One TV, that was awesome. I pray that ESPN jumps in and is able to put in some good production value although there is nothing worse on TV than Tommy Smith.

  8. June 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Under the administration of wenger arsenal as a club has been ranked as one of the top seeds in the world, yet using minimum budget, young players and now finincially sound, yah ! van persie quality players are important to add on your squad in order to yield better fruits next season. Wenger is a special coach never leave him, we need Setanta TV africa to broad cast all premier league games live in Africa, not only in America.Please take note of that; more especially arsenal games.

  9. 19 Bongo
    June 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    This is a bit off topic but, has anyone been following the story that Arshavin is looking for a pay rise because of the new tax rate?


    I haven’t seen much other noise about the tax rate affecting players, but apparently he’s getting paid ( after tax ) less than he was in Zenith, I would have thought if it was that big a deal then more would be said about it by others, I mean if players in the EPL are taking home less money than other leagues because of tax is that not going to have to have big consequences when trying to get players to come to England?

  10. 25 T-Town
    June 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    The stupid commentary never bothered me, because I never listened to it. But last year, I watched an Arsenal game every single week. That was 40+ Arsenal games. Next year, that number will drop to 10 or 15 if we are lucky…
    Not good.

    • June 10, 2009 at 8:59 am


      ESPN will fill in. Those games are going to be sold, dirt cheap. There is no way that ESPN is going to let a top 4 club, in the most popular league in the world, a club that even detractors like watching, a club that reached the semi-finals of their own flagship football broadcast, languish.

      What else is ESPN going to show at 5am-9am? Poker tournaments?

      ESPN will absolutely broadcast these, it will be very, very profitable to do so.

      • 27 CaribKid
        June 10, 2009 at 9:47 am

        Hopefully you are right about ESPN Tim. I tend to agree with you though, since they unsuccessfully bid for the EPL rights a few months back.

        I doubt they will be showing early CC and Youth games though, unless they see a market for it on ESPN Classic.

  11. 28 WC
    June 10, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I liked the accessibility of Setanta in that it showed alot of football, especially Arsenal games – something I cannot see FSC or ESPN doing. In truth I’m a bit divided oin the likely Setanta collapse. I liked the volume of games they made available but their pundits were utter garbage. However, EPSN getting games may not be any more bette simply because their pundits suck as much or more – Tommy Smyth and Shaka Hislop? Tommy is a bandwagonist and grabs his ankles for whichever team is in-demand at any given point in time and Hislop just drolls without any insight. Janus is just as bad as he just sits on the fence and Tommy makes him out to be a big pussy. Derek Rae is passable at best since he is usually just a moderator with no opinion of his own. You all know the Press Pass team would be the most likely be the ones commentating and providing their pregame, half-time and post-match “analysis” – I don’t see the upside. Why can’t we clone Bobby McMahon and make it mandatory to have one of him on every football game being shown? I sincerely hope FSC upgrades some of their games in light of this Setanta fiasco. Perhaps I’m biased at a Gunner but who the hell wants to watch Stoke vs. Sunderland on a Sunday morning if Villa, Arsenal, Everton et al were playing? I respect the relegation battle but seriously it doesn’t matter to a large majority of the western hemisphere. Hell it doesn’t even matter to most of the Brits except the terrible North East area with their large array of terrible clubs.

    I had hoped we could have kept Gallas and Toure. We all cried about the lack of depth in our defense last season and yet we’re most likely selling one of our better experienced defenders. I suppose it was inevitable with the much publicised “relationship” Gallas and Toure have and Toure shares our blood while Gallas was kind of passing through. I still think we could use decent cover since it’s really just Djourou (Silvestre doesn’t count).

    • 29 Bongo
      June 10, 2009 at 9:37 am

      I agree, plus it’s undeniable that despite their distaste for each other Touré and Gallas made a great partnership in defence, they were the heart of our 21 game unbeaten run. Silvestre is just not good enough anymore and Djourou still has to develope. I seriously don’t see Wenger letting any of our defenders go anywhere, it would be a big mistake for him to do so.

    • 30 CaribKid
      June 10, 2009 at 9:40 am

      Yup WC,

      The ESPN commentators, especially Tommy Smith, really sucks, but I have turned down the volume and enjoyed the game in HD. Hopefully they will upgrade their commentators if we fans make a lot of noise on ESPNSoccernet. Maybe we can energize the Arsenal faithful to do this season.

      I enjoyed Setanta because I was able to watch some of the youth games and early CC matches, so they will be missed for that.

  12. 31 CaribKid
    June 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Gallas will probably be let go if they get an offer for him as he is in the final year of his contract and would leave on a Bosman next season. The thing to do would be to extend his contract for another 3 years which would allow him to teach our young CB’s and also raise his transfer valuation.

    Whether Gallas wouild want to do so is another story all together. Unfortunate if he leaves, as he is our best CB.

  13. 32 Bongo
    June 10, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Season review DVD out 15th June, here’s a preview video, I look forward to watching it, there was a lot to savour last season.


  14. 34 nycgunner
    June 10, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Tim – I’m going to have to disagree with your comments on Setanta to some extent. Yes they have anti-arsenal analysts but nobody is more anti-arsenal than Tommy Smyth. At least the Setanta analysts made me laugh but Tommy Smyth makes me cringe and I can’t stand the sound of his voice or the sight of his fat face. I think one of the commentators mentioned that TS is a bandwagoner. This is 100% correct. I have actually heard him use the same analysis for different teams in two different years although there were no similarities whatsoever.

    The other thing is Setanta showed a lot of Arsenal games. Can I see ESPN doing the same? I will be quite surprised if they do. I also liked their pre game and post game shows – whether I agreed with their analysts or not, it was more football. ESPN will probably start the coverage 30 seconds before kickoff and end it as soon as the final whistle blows… and ofcourse we will probably have the privelege of seeing Tommy Smith’s and his band of band wagoners’ half time “analysis”. I for one will definitely miss Setanta.

  15. 35 Keith Barham
    June 10, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I will miss Setanta since they showed more Arsenal matches than FSC. Hopefully ESPN will find a slot on one of their channels. As long as it isn’t ESPN Deportes, I’m OK. I cannot get that one. I’ve been around and around with DirecTV about that. It is only in a Spanish-language package. So I guess I *could* get it, but I’d lose a bunch of others in the process.

    Anything that stops the puppet show is an overall positive, though.

    Great pic, Tim.

  16. June 10, 2009 at 11:13 am

    ESPN will not show nearly the number of matches that Setanta currently provides. On any given weekend Setanta would provide coverage for 3 and sometimes 4 Live matches as well as 2 or 3 more tape delayed. They also provide coverage for Monday and mid-week matches. The do nothing early rounds of the FA and Carling cups were an added bonus. For our friends who support say Newcastle they would be able to see them play at least twice a season even while relegated to the Coca-Cola.
    I will gladly accept the Devil I know.

    • June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

      Totally Russ, but here’s the thing, those rights are going to be sold to someone, they aren’t just going to let them rot. I’d bet good money that that means we won’t see a blip in coverage, even of Coca-cola league stuff.

      Not here in America.

      Maybe in Ireland, but who knows.

  17. 40 Matt
    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am

    The little Russian genius is having a phenomenal first half.

  18. 41 viva los gooners
    June 10, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I for one will be glad to see the back of Setanta. I object to paying for additional channels, on a service that I already heavily subscribe to In fact, if had my way, all channels would be free to air and transglobal, programmes would be open to sponsorship by advertisers, but there would be no individual advertising, or advertising breaks. Off with their heads!!!!!


  19. 42 Tomas
    June 10, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Well, REGARDLESS of paying extra or not, the demise of Setanta will be crippling to Arsenal fans. As far as ESPN picking up the baton… hopefully they will but I wouldnt hold my breath! Like my grandfather used to say, “You can shit in one hand and hope in the other and see which one gets filled first.” Well, not really because he died just after WW2 so I never met him. But what Im trying to say is that you should take a long hard look at ESPN and see what kind of pathetic sports broadcasting outlet they really are. For a network who likes to show Spelling Bs, Poker tournaments, video gaming, and last years winner of the fucking milk carton jambo-fucking-ree instead of live sports… and there were tons going on at the time (Im talking American sports at the time). All I can say is good luck, if not, you’ll end up like me watching EVERY SINGLE MATCH on my computer!

  20. 43 Mia
    June 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Setanta may be crap, but is it really any crappier than anyone else? Most pundits on the broadcast media make me cringe – with a few honourable exceptions, mainly to be found on the radio – but as others in England and Ireland have said, better Arsenal on Setanta than no Arsenal at all.

    Also, there’s a wider point to consider. If Setanta folds, the implications are dire for the less glamorous leagues, in particular for the SPL, which is heavily dependent on Setanta. I loathe Scottish football myself, but I’m depressed at the prospect of a world where it simply withers away, leaving only the glamour clubs in England and Spain, where there’s a profit to be made from the US and Asian market, to survive and get richer and richer.

    Am appalled at the prospect of losing Gallas. Yes, he’s nearing the end of his career but he’s surely good for at least one more season. Unfortunately, given the stick he’s had from some of the fans, I can see why he might be tempted by an offer from Juve. Ditto Eboue. He would be less of a loss, but since he’s currently our only cover at right back I don’t think we should be too keen to sell unless we’ve got a first-class and experienced replacement. Toure has always been popular, but he wants to be first choice – he’s made that very plain – and Wenger won’t give him the guarantees he would like. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking at City. So if all three of them go, that leaves us with a largely new and untried defence – not a comforting thought with a (possibly) difficult CL qualifier before the season even begins.

    Does anyone know what’s happening with Senderos? The Italian papers are suggesting Milan are sending him back. Hopefully not true, as I can’t see him wanting to return to the booing. Also the 6 million Milan were to pay for him would be a big help.

    • 44 CaribKid
      June 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm

      Agreed Mia, Gallas is our best central defender and still has at least 3 good years in him. He is also one of the few clutch players who comes up with goals from the back line in the clutch. Love him or hate him, he would be a major loss and his shoes not easily filled.

      Cant see Arsene allowing Eboue to leave because of his versatility and as you said, our only viable alternative at right back.

      This should not be a time of massive changes, but just a few additions to enhance our current squad. If we have a lot of changes it will be like starting over once again in an effort to get team chemistry.

  21. 45 WC
    June 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    So I’m watching Netherlands vs. Norway and RVP and Robben are working like a well oiled machine. Yes we’d have a bit of a grudge against him being an ex-Chelsea player and all but you have to admit the man does have skill, finishing and is faster than his receding hairline. Madrid are bollocks terrible at making money in the transfer market and with their supposed billion dollar team change up Robben could go for cheap since he’s certainly one to be shipped out.

  22. 46 Matt
    June 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Cesc picked up a knock in today’s friendly against Azerbaijan. The first of many International casualties, I am sure.

  23. 47 Matt
    June 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Andorra has lost 18 matches in a row. Time for UEFA to pull the plug.

    • 48 WC
      June 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

      Next on Blatter’s agenda to ruin football:

      All top 100 countries must have their players play on one leg while holding their right ear with their left hand whenever they play another country below them. This will even the playing field and make smaller countries competitive so they can make the WC and we can all not watch their terrible games.

  24. 49 Jet Pinoy Gooner
    June 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Gallas has been great until he got injured. He was never captain quality but he sure can defend and can bring the goods on a very crucial game. As per Senderos if he returns to Arsenal he should learn to play as third fiddle to the RB position, though I am not to keen on it. I am just looking into what we have and not who we might buy because the transfer market is just going to be as crazy as ever.

  25. 50 Mia
    June 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Senderos. At right back! God help us!I think he’s an OK central defender, he can read the game well, but he’s chronically slow and once his confidence went he panicked and became a rabbit in the headlights. I hope the rumours are wrong and he stays in Milan. Whenever he played the Italian papers gave him very good ratings, and the Italian league is much more his style.

    Right back is definitely a potential problem as Sagna, even if he stays fit, shouldn’t play every game, yet again. Odd how things change. A few years ago we had plenty of options on the right; now we’ve got nothing – not unless you think Djourou could do it – and from what I’ve seen of the under-17s, there’s no one in the pipeline (full back was the one position that looked rather poor). Maybe Gibbs could play on the right: he scored from that side, I believe, playing for the England under-21s a couple of days ago. What happens to the once very promising Traore now Gibbs has emerged as a star?

    Come to that, what’s the future for several of the young generation? Merida, Barazite, Lansbury, Randall, Simpson? I like the first three a lot and think Lansbury will definitely make it. Merida should, but I fear for him as he can only play centrally, so I don’t see how he’s going to break in. Randall I’ve never seen the point of, and Jay Simpson doesn’t look like an Arsenal player to me (despite West Brom being utterly desperate he couldn’t even get a game for them after a month). I imagine we’ll sell him. Just hope there are still some suckers (like Gareth Southgate) out there. You’d think managers would have learned by now that our oh-so-promising players, once they leave us, frequently turn into disasters – Justin Hoyte, Ali-oh-dear, Jeffers, Lupoli, Stokes . . . Well, maybe Upson, Bently and Seb Larsson haven’t done badly and will ensure we get a good price for Simpson and co.

    • 51 CaribKid
      June 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

      Gavin Hoyte has a chance of making it at RB. He is right footed and although mainly playing in the center he has featured at RB on many occasions. He is bigger and faster than his brother Justine. We also have another youngster who is a monster at RB but has had personality and behavioural problems, Kerrea Gilbert. He is very Lauren like and is one tough cookie. If he can take his head out of his arse he may also make the grade.

      I absolutely love Barazite and Merida but with the youthfulness of our team they may never get a chance at Arsenal. Think they have enough quality though to make it at the highest level. It seems to me that Wilshire, Ramsey, Nordveit, Bartley, and Coquelin are definitely future stars and JET is a shoo in if he can get his head together.

      Traore reminds me of a young Ashley Young but his future will be retarded by the plethora of left sided wingers we have in the squad.

  26. June 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Tim my fellow gunner, i failed to reach the goonernews.com Admin…any suggestions?? i would like my Arsenal website to be seen by other arsenal supporters on goonernews.com. please get back to me and tell me how i can do it.Thanks

    We are the arsenal and we shall prevail..

  27. June 10, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    It’s bad news for me because I watch most of my matches through streams, and Setanta have got nice pirated streams. It’s either them or the Russian channel, and while I think the Russian accent adds a certain comforting menace to the atmosphere, Iit’s nice to understand what the commentators are saying every now and then. Plus, the feeds are usually good enough quality to blow up to full-screen size.

    And wouldn’t it be worse seeing soccer on ESPN?

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