FOOTBALL: It will be a case of ‘lights, camera, action!’ at The Walks tomorrow as King’s Lynn Town fall under the spotlight of the watching national public for the first time this season, writes Mark Hearle.
The BT Sport cameras return to cover the National League fixture against table-topping Dagenham & Redbridge.
It is nearly a year after they were last in West Norfolk, covering Town’s opening fixture with Yeovil Town.
That one was, of course, played without fans. BT’s outside broadcast trucks will arrive this morning, making the Tennyson Road car park their home for a couple of days as they install about nine cameras and many miles of cable around the stadium, ready to provide armchair supporters up and down the country with their fix of early Saturday evening football entertainment.
While working at the club last season, I was involved in the detailed planning that goes into these broadcasts. BT staff told me then it was only a small team, due to Covid restrictions at the time. For this weekend I understand the total will be almost 40 people, ensuring that everything goes according to plan.
I received a communication earlier in the week from a supporter asking why the club had agreed to change the kick-off time to accommodate BT Sport. He will miss the game due to a long-standing evening commitment and would have preferred the game to start at its usual 3pm time.
There are a few answers to this one. Firstly, the club has no say in the kick-off time. The agreement is between the National League and the broadcaster. BT have agreed slots of 5.20 and 12.30 on Saturdays to broadcast live.
Secondly the whole of football, from top to bottom, has an embargo in place preventing live games being shown in the UK between 3pm and 5pm on Saturdays.
This, however, does not apply abroad and if you are technically clever you can view Premier League games on a Saturday afternoon with German or Norwegian commentary.
I read a newspaper article on Monday where a journalist felt it was time the current UK embargo was lifted so that 3pm Saturday games can be shown, calling the current situation ‘archaic’ and citing Cristiano Ronaldo’s reappearance for Manchester United this weekend as a national event that should be enjoyed by the armchair fan as well as the 75,000 assembled at Old Trafford.
I understand the only place you will be able to follow Ronaldo live on Saturday is Five Live on the radio, who are able to broadcast both national and local games, on a Saturday afternoon – at a cost of course.
Just to clarify if you were wondering, clubs were given a special dispensation to stream games as live last season due to fans not being allowed to attend at the time.
The normal regulation was re-imposed a few weeks ago.
I can assure you that the money the Linnets will receive for their TV appearance is chicken feed compared to Sky’s millions that flow freely around the Premier League.
However, it does help for sure and I think it’s a good thing that the club, and let’s not forget, the town and surrounding area, receive extra exposure. That’s not to mention the money that will go into the local economy, which has already benefited from the many hundreds supporters who have visited , supporting Southend United and Chesterfield.
Top test for Linnets
FOOTBALL: The Linnets will be keen to open both their home goals and points accounts tomorrow after their first two away games produced five goals and four points.
Don’t forget the first two visitors to The Walks have been teams tipped to be heavily involved in the action at the top of the table and are, to a certain extent, ‘free hits’.
Dagenham will not be any easier though, sitting proudly in pole position.
Ian Culverhouse’s side will take great heart from their stirring performance at Eastleigh last time out.
That game showed to me the progress already made by this new-look team.
Finding themselves two goals down inside the opening 10 minutes last season, the game would probably have gone only one way.
The difference this time is a stronger resilience among the squad assembled and, dare I say, a greater belief.
The first hurdle of pulling two goals back was achieved by Michael Clunan and Ethan Coleman but then, having done that, to concede a third within a few minutes tested everyone’s resolve to the limit.
The question of could they go again was emphatically answered by Brett McGavin’s stunning
free-kick leveller with minutes remaining, which ensured a well deserved point was secured.
If tomorrow’s action is anything similar, the national TV audience is in for a treat.
Walker joins Lynn on loan
FOOTBALL: The Linnets have completed the loan signing of Bristol Rovers’ striker Zain Walker, 19, for a month.
The highly-rated attacker likes to take defenders on, typically on the left wing but can play either side or centrally.
He made his debut for the Pirates at just 16 in 2018 and has played 11 times for the first team.