By Bryan Cooney
WHEN a professional football team wins a trophy, prudence instructs the armchair viewer to seize the nearest lifebelt in preparation for the inevitable tidal wave of post-match tosh.
A decent programme might also be made on the dramatic Terry Butcher, the English managerial failure who became a Scottish success. A focus on Hibs chairman Rod Petrie would be equally fascinating. Nine managers have departed East Road since 1997, when Petrie joined the club - why does responsibility for a decline in playing standards always lie with someone other than himself?
Then, of course, how about a profile on Jim Leishman, the manager-cum-poet who became a provost whilst his beloved Dunfermline ostensibly disappeared down the plughole? And there’s Steve Paterson, a gambling and a binge drinking manager who left Pittodrie in the boot of a car some years back. An update on his progress might be fascinating.
Sadly, personality-driven programmes such as these are unlikely to happen. Beeb bosses will bleat that they don’t have the budgets to make them. But their argument collapses when you consider the finances doled out to BBC Alba. It’s a worthwhile channel but very much a minority one and claims a disproportionate share of the honey pot.
So, what’s the great importance of football? Initially, the sports department in national newspapers were never treated seriously: they were looked upon as the toy departments. But then editors became enlightened and conceded that sport represents a vital release valve from the vicissitudes of a troubled world. The importance of football should never be underestimated.
Those who run BBC Scotland should wake up to that fact.