Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sun 6 August 2006

SPAOTP Recommends... ESPN Classic

The internet is nothing if not a good medium on which to share knowledge, and as we know, knowledge is power. So in this series, we'll be sharing our positive experiences and spreading a little happiness by recommending anything better than half-decent that relates to football which everyone else should be getting the benefit of.

To begin with, I can thoroughly recommend ESPN Classic to all you Sky Digital viewers out there. This is a relatively new channel which prides itself on raiding the televisual archives of ITV and the BBC so that it can show you all manner of sporting material which hasn’t seen the light of day since the 1970’s and 1980’s.

It’s a 24-hour channel, but take a tip from me - the good stuff’s on after about 6pm every night, and if you can wait until 10pm, you really are in for a treat. During the daytime they show frankly rubbish programmes about American extreme sports like Active Volcano Snowboarding, but switch on around teatime and you’ll have much better luck.

Keep your eyes open for various footballing gems that regularly get repeated. First of all, there’s coverage of numerous European Cup Finals involving great sides like Liverpool, Ajax and Bayern Munich.

Secondly, there’s a series called ‘The Dead Good Match’ which is an edited-down version of either an old FA Cup Final or a dusted down edition of ‘Match of the Day’, complete with linkage from David Coleman, Jimmy Hill or anyone else who happened to be at the BBC at the time.

And coming soon to the channel will also be some old international matches from the 70’s involving England, Scotland and Wales, so expect to see even more unkempt sideburns, hairstyles and other dubious bits of facial hair.

Yes, if you really want to know what football was like before Rupert Murdoch got his hands on it, check out these programmes on ESPN Classic. They’re a wonderful insight into a lost world when Notts County and Luton Town were in the top flight and injured players just got back onto their feet without so much as a funny look in the referee’s direction.

Highly recommended and well-worth a visit.

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