Deal Or No Deal
Thoughts on the radio commentary situation

I didn’t want to have to write this on the eve of a new season. I thought we were just starting to build a positive ‘let’s have a go’ vibe around the team. But then the news broke about the radio commentary situation and the club response to it, and it angered me so much I had to say something that the Twitter limit on characters won’t allow for. So here goes.

I have many disagreements with BBC strategy, amongst my beefs are why they spend so much more money on PL rights, presenters and pundits than they spend on EFL commentaries, which are largely delivered through local radio. I accept that the BBC are being asked to do more with less but they have choices to make about their priorities and in my view they often choose the wrong priorities. Had I known that the BBC were trying to use their almost monopoly decision to try to drive down the fees they pay to EFL clubs I would have been furious about it and joined in a campaign to stop it. But once the BBC succeeded in persuading the majority of clubs to accept a 10% reduction our club had a choice to make. They could have chosen to:

  • Bite their lip and accept that a “bird in the hand is worth two in a bush"
  • Seek an alternative broadcast deal with another radio station, if nothing else to spite the BBC
  • Say “stuff you BBC we will make commentaries available to our fans free of charge”
  • Monetise the situation and ask fans to pay more to listen to radio commentaries of away matches

Not surprisingly under the Chansiri regime they chose the latter option, this is entirely consistent with asking fans to pay 80% more for membership in one year and other financial decisions made in recent years. There will be those who will say monetising is inevitable and the internet will change things etc, some of which is true. But we will be in a city where one club will be broadcast on local radio and the other will not. I feel for the fans who whether due to disability, illness, injury or circumstance will not be able to listen to commentaries unless they stump up the cash. I also feel for fans like me who have a 3 year season ticket, who pay for all home cup games, who attends many away games but is now being ask to pay even more on a monthly basis to listen to commentary of the away games I don’t go to. Some fans will shrug their shoulders and pay up, others like me will say “stuff it” as we watch the soul of the club disappear over the horizon due to Mr Chansiri’s strategy.

The Chansiri regime needs to remember that there is some truth in the old adage about the last straw breaking a camel’s back. This fan of many years has put up with many things I don’t like about modern football, and the Chansiri regime that is symptomatic of it, but this latest development maybe the final straw if they are not careful. I have had enough Mr Chansiri and it’s about time you tried a different approach. The attractions of Hallam FC and Sheffield FC, and many other local non-league clubs have never looked stronger.

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