Setanta collapse begins

Adebayor just wanted to Upgrade to a bigger contract WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ADEBAYOR ANYMORE???

Yesterday, amidst all the good news for Arsenal supporters, there was an announcement by the English Premier League that they are cancelling Setanta’s contract for the 2009/10 season owing to the fact that Setanta could not make a £10m scheduled payment. The rights to some 46 matches are now going to be repackaged and sold to the highest bidder with Sky sports and ESPN the two most likely contenders.

Ok, but here’s where this gets complicated.

From what I’ve gleaned, there are multiple types of rights for these matches. There are rights to broadcast in England and Ireland (from here on out “The Isles”) and there are rights to broadcast in Asia, and rights to broadcast in America. Evidently, and I may well be wrong about this as I cannot confirm it due to the fact that setanta.com/us is all kinds of broken (it’s stuck in an infinite questionnaire loop), the games that were terminated were only EPL games broadcast on The Isles. I poked around on the dot US site but could see nothing approaching the type of press release they have done on the English site, so the speculation that this change might not effect American viewers could be spot on.

Of course, if Setanta collapses completely, which at this point is pretty likely given the huge financial hit they will take from not being able to broadcast EPL matches plus the fact that they can’t secure funding because they owe £50m in taxes, then all bets are off and the American content will probably be sold off to the highest bidder as well.

Personally, I don’t think we’ll see much drop in coverage. The EPL is a cash cow in the U.S. and any broadcaster would be foolish not to bid on the games, especially if they are being offered at a discount. If Sky wins the contracts then we will most likely be relegated to watching re-runs of the matches as Sky currently only has one channel in the U.S. — Fox Soccer Channel.  And Fox Soccer Channel is the worst kind of low rent broadcaster. If they win, we’ll probably never see football in HD.

Given the horrible programming, plus the reluctance of Fox to spend on upgrades, I would say that as long as Tommy Smyth is kept away from the microphone, most American football fans would rather have ESPN win the contract than Sky.  If ESPN wins, we might not get all the matches, but they do have several channels, two of which are HD, and if they could parley the built in audience that Setanta has generated, with a brand new HD season I think they could have a real winner.

ESPN is a stable, huge corporation and they could really do the EPL up right. No more “Upgrade” commercials run 60 times in 15 minutes! So, I think it’s in all American Arsenal supporter’s best interest to push ESPN to buy the American rights to the EPL and broadcast them. If you have a few seconds, click this link and contact ESPN and let them know how you feel.

The Poop Scoop

There’s precious little transfer news this morning. I guess Ryan Babel is tired of warming the bench at Anfield and has let it be known that he wants to play for Arsenal.  Frankly, I think he’s shown that he is not Premier League material and I’m happy Arsene didn’t splash the cash on him when we were linked two years ago. Of course, if anyone could rescue his career Arsene could do it, but we’d need a really good price.

Africa Cup of Nations

I was thinking about the Vermaelen purchase last night and how Arsenal will be losing 3-4 players to the ACN next year and I’ve come to the conclusion that Vermaelen isn’t coming in to displace Toure and Gallas but rather to provide much needed cover for them. Think about it, Wenger can bring Vermaelen along slowly while playing the shiat out of Toure and then when the ACN takes Toure, Song, Eboue, and possibly Adebayor (he’s on the outs again with Togo) Vermaelen can step in and fill the roles of either Song or Toure. If he’s as good as Wenger says and Wenger makes sure to get him a bunch of games before January (but not burn him out) he will be a great player to have at a crucial time in the season, when we are losing all the rest of our defense to the ACN.

Frankly, it’s the perfect way to bring the guy along in his first year.

Meanwhile, that means that Arsene is unlikely to let Gallas and Toure go anywhere, unless a sizable bid is made. He doesn’t need to replace them. They know the system and signing Vermaelen gives Arsenal cover against their departure at the crucial part of the season.

What this might herald is the retirement of Silvestre. OH PLEASE GOD!

Still, the ACN does mean that Arsenal have an even greater need for a Midfield partner for Cesc, if Song is supposedly one of the options there, then he will need cover when he leaves in January as well.

Who will it be Arsene?

Don’t Forget to Enter to Win!

‘It’s Up for Grabs Now’…… And the rest is Arsenal history! Brian Moore’s match commentary as Michael Thomas puts away the goal that clinched the ’89 League Championship in arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever match is featured on Philosophy Football’s anniversary shirt. Plus, a diagram of the winning goal and match details. Available from www.philosophyfootball.com we have 5 to be won in our competition, to enter simply answer the following simple question:

Liverpool v Arsenal, 26 May 1989, name the two goalscorers.

Send answer, name, address and preferred T-shirt size to admin@philosophyfootball.com Entries close 30 June ’09, no purchase necessary to enter.

Good luck!

17 Responses to “Setanta collapse begins”

  1. 1 WC
    June 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

    From what I understand, Setanta has lost the UK rights but still retain the US rights for now. However, it seems like only a matter of time before they completely collapse – perhaps the 09/10 season is their last?

  2. 2 TheSKAGooner
    June 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

    The only question I have regarding ESPN picking up the broadcasts here in the US is that on Saturdays from late August through early December…almost ALL of ESPN’s programming is devoted to college football. They use all their channels for that to a greater or lesser degree. ESPN would be my choice as well, but only if they could find their way clear to have a dedicated FOOTBALL channel, similar to Fox (although at ESPN broadcast standards).

    • 3 Tim
      June 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

      They are broadcasting college football from 4am-Noon on a Saturday?

      • 4 TheSKAGooner
        June 20, 2009 at 9:17 am

        haha Well, no, not at those hours. :o) TBH – I just want ESPN to set up a football only channel.

        • 5 Tim
          June 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

          Me too!

          They are positioned to do it too what with ESPN Deportes.

          • 6 TheSKAGooner
            June 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

            True that.

            However, ESPN Deportes requires a subscription to Spanish language channels and I’m not sure all cable companies carry it (like not all cable companies carry ESPN360). I have DirectTV, which is great, but would still have to buy the Spanish channels to get ESPN Deportes even though I have the sports package. I would hope, if ESPN was going to go in hard for EPL coverage, that they’d do it on a non-fee basis or a football channel fee basis (a dedicated channel that you subscribe to). But they’ll probably wind up doing it like the MLB Extra Ticket or smth & make you buy a whole season of games.

            Whatever the outcome, I can’t see ESPN bringing the EPL to the US without making us pay for it. They would have a GREAT opportunity to increase the popularity of football here by having a dedicated free channel, but there is no altruism in broadcasting. Bastiges!!

  3. 7 Gareth26GOONER
    June 20, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Dont know if it will affect the U.S but theres a lot of talk here of the 46 games being taken by ITV or the BBC

    • 8 TheSKAGooner
      June 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

      hmmm…looks like it’s another season of Fox “soccer” Channel and IraqGoals/ATDHE on the tubes of the internet for me then. Bummer, that.

  4. 9 gooner sems
    June 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    looking forward to tom. match tim looks like we are gonna beat you bad lol
    egypt 7 -o u.s.a

    • June 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      I don’t support U.S.A.

      I support France if anyone, though I may switch to Belgium not that Vermaelen is a Gooner.

      • 11 Matt
        June 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm


        I understand you are a man of principal, and that supporting the USMNT would be hypocritical on your part, in light of the fact that you constantly rail against nationalism in football, as well as the notion that fans should always (and only) support the local club.

        But, if they make a run in 2010, a nice run into the knockout stages, if they show flair, heart, grit, and intelligence (which they did today against Egypt), you cannot tell me that you won’t get excited, that you won’t, at least secretly, get on the bandwagon.

        So you might as well start now…come over to the darkside, Tim, support your “hometown team”.

        Today was fun, so much fun.

        (And for what it’s worth, a good USMNT WC run means football will become even more popular in the US, which means you will be more likely to watch Arsenal in HD…that is something to cheer for…)

    • 12 Matt
      June 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      At least it is a short flight home.

  5. 13 geraldinho
    June 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    from what i have heard the north american side of setanta is profitable. it may be possible that they could fold operations in the uk but continue to provide the service they provide now over here. otherwise the idea of a dedicated football channel from espn sounds great. in a perfect world it would be in hd and would be available widely on both cable and satellite. hopefully we won’t suffer a decline in live matches.


  6. 14 Darkhail
    June 20, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    In an interview FSC said since they have the Champions League rights, they are currently setting up HD service. They said it should be up by the quarter finals at the latest. Whether or not this is only for Champions League has yet to be seen though.

  7. 15 Gareth26GOONER
    June 21, 2009 at 12:08 am


    just skimmed through your article again and noticed you mentioned tommy smyth. Is that the ‘anfield iron’,the scouse hatchet man from the 60’s and 70’s??if it is i pity you guys having to listen to him! I will wait and see if it is him before i take my rant further!

    • June 21, 2009 at 6:10 am

      Different Tommy Smi(y)th! This one never really played football and always says “they bulged the old onion bag” whenever someone scores.

      He’s pretty much the most annoying commentator I’ve ever heard.

  8. 17 Gareth26GOONER
    June 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    You guys dont get david pleat then lol

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