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The Beautiful Game

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If you read my post World Cup column you’ll be all too aware that I found the summer somewhat frustrating. To see some of the best players to ever have worn an England shirt perform so poorly could have put me off football completely – well, for a little while at least. I was therefore surprised to find that I was still pretty excited about the start of the new Premiership season.

One of the perks of this job is that I do find myself invited to the odd sporting event. I therefore had tickets for a couple of Premiership games on offer for the opening Saturday, but unfortunately I had prior commitments and couldn’t go to either – one of them was Reading vs. Middlesbrough and having watched the highlights on Match of the Day I wish that I’d been there! But despite not being able to attend any of the opening games of the season, I did have the next best thing – high definition television.

I’ve had my Sky HD box for a little while now, but I’ve been biding my time waiting for the football season to kick off. Like most Sky HD customers, I’ve spent the past few weeks just watching anything if it’s in HD – I know pretty much all there is to know about marine life, snow leopards, camels and caves. Yep, I’ve never watched so many documentaries in my life, but to be honest the BBC’s Planet Earth looks so breathtaking in HD that I would happily watch it again and again almost every night of the week. But I digress…



The opening game of the season pitted Liverpool against newly promoted Sheffield United. If anything it was a truly unspectacular performance from Liverpool, with the loss of Riise and Carragher to twisted ankles being the only real drama on offer until Gerrard was awarded his penalty (duly deserved in my opinion). But despite Liverpool’s mediocrity, nothing should be taken away from Sheffield United who put in a superb performance in their first top flight fixture.

But even though the opening game of the 2006/2007 campaign was far from a classic, it was still an awe inspiring match for me. In high definition, the match was a truly stunning spectacle and one that managed to impress even an old technology hack like myself. I have to say that I wasn’t sure about just how good Sky’s HD football broadcasts would be – being cynical I wasn’t convinced that the bit rate would be high enough to really do the game justice, but how wrong I was.

I guess if I’d thought things through properly I wouldn’t have been so cynical, after all, Sky wants as many people to sign up for its HD service as possible. The best way to get new Sky HD customers is for those prospective subscribers to go round to a friend’s house, see Sky HD in action and go “WOW!”. And, to be honest, if any of my footie mad friends had come over at the weekend, that’s exactly what they would have said – yes I do mean you Gordon!

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