Soccer Saturday announced the shock details of a three-pundit sacking last week, leading to many thinking will Sky Sports Boxing be next.
Although Soccer Saturday was much-loved for many years, ratings have begun to slide over the last few years. This is mainly due to the new generation believing the show was dated.
The ‘Old Fart Brigade’ as some youngster on social media used to call them, were from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. They came complete with a ‘tea and biscuit’ attitude.
Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas, and Phil Thompsom carried on from the likes of Rodney Marsh, Frank McLintock, and Gordon McQueen. Firmly keeping the format in the pipe and slippers era.
Any of those mentioned could barely go the first half of reporting without eating a biscuit or a sweet.
They regularly were caught off guard when a goal was scored and forced to give annoying reports with their mouths full after slurping on tea prior.
Considering this, the trio lastest a long time. It was even thought those three pairs of feet were well and truly under the table.
Not so, as Sky moves into cancel culture with a long-overdue overhaul of their main football program.
Gripes on Twitter immediately brought up the current Black Lives Matter and equality movements as the reason for the changes.
Some also cited their expectations that the new line-up will now consist of a new trio certain to include minority or females in the role.
They also questioned whether Paul Merson was given a pass due to his past problems with substance and gambling abuse. Pretty harsh considering the sheer entertainment factor of Merson.
The truth is, the show was stale. A freshen up was needed with a few stars from the 2000s and beyond for a while. Now is that time.
So, the big question is – will Sky Sports Boxing be next? – And is another mass and outstanding change of the guard on the cards?
A section of the boxing community and former professionals have aired their views on Sky Sports Boxing for some time. It dates back to when Jim Watt was regularly saved from venomous gunfire aimed by disgruntled fans unhappy with his unfathomable scoring or commentary.
Watt retired in 2016, quickly followed by Glenn McCrory.
This was a mini alteration that pleased some, although the general consensus is the culture hasn’t changed.
Accusations of bias towards their own fighters, a plethora of unwarranted Pay-Per-View events, and too close a relationship with promoter Eddie Hearn have long been aimed towards the coverage.
But whatever is being said, there seems to be an unbreakable bond there. So far, it’s only seen marginal problems during their past.
In my opinion @SkySportsBoxing & Adam Smith are in Eddies Pocket, it would be nice to see a neutral network come along.
— Herol Graham (@HerolBomberG) August 29, 2020
The launch of DAZN in the United States and their head-hunting of Hearn seems to cause a little ruckus early on.
That was about to get worse when DAZN intended to battle Sky in the UK market. The pandemic halted everything in that respect.
Therefore, the line-up of ex-Matchroom fighters remains strong. But it still keeps those who tune in polarized on a regular basis.
No other networks face the regular criticism Sky deal with each and every broadcast.
I, myself stopped watching a long time ago. I can only fleetingly switch on with the mute button firmly in place.
For now, it seems to work for Sky. But just like those Soccer Saturday pundits, you can never, ever take anything for granted.
The views expressed in this article are solely the opinion of Editor, Phil Jay.
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Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay