Friday, 2 November 2012

Aggro with Aggers

"It's a sad day for everyone involved in English cricket. Is it really that cricket is getting so greedy that everyone who wants to come and report on the game for the good of the game is going to have to be charged for it?"

Aggers here with Boycs

Not my quote, but that of Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew in 2001, after a row over broadcasting rights in Sri Lanka had forced him to report from the fort in Galle. However, this week the hatchet man of the Beeb's cricket broadcasting seems to have changed his stance on 'the good of the game' as the row between test Match Sofa and Test Match Special continues. His namesake Spiro may have been the hatchet man of the Nixon regime over subjects such as Vietnam, describing protestors an "un American", but the stance of the modern day Aggers, has been, in our opinion, "uncricketing".

 From here we have to refer to them as Special and Sofa, as regular readers of this site will tell you the only TMS we know is The Middle Stump. The row seems to have its' origins when the greed of the BCCI demanded that Sky cough up half a million quid for rights, whilst the Beeb, reeling from scandals regarding other radio broadcasters from a previous era, cough up fifty thousand smackers, just to get be allowed to broadcast from games. This row was settled amicably yesterday as the BCCI have now allowed the boys from Special to commentate.

The lads from the Sofa, of whom we have been the guests of a couple of times, broadcast from a room whilst watching it on television. This seems to have irked the chaps from Special, most notably Christopher Martin Jenkins and Jonathan Agnew.  CMJ wrote this week, "The thought of having to listen to the predators who purport to be producing commentaries from sofa or armchair without paying a penny to the England and Wales Cricket Board for the rights, is too ghastly to contemplate," he wrote. "The sooner they are nailed and swept offline, the better."

In response Andrew Miller, editor of the Cricketer was baffled by such a protectionist stance from CMJ, which is when Aggers jumped in, with the mature quote that he was never going to buy the Cricketer ever again! He has also blocked us on Twitter when we have tried to debate the points over recent days. Far be it for me of all people to describe somebody as immature, but this is a man who threw the kit of Phil De Freitas over the balcony once, because of Daffy putting salt on his food, causing a huge furore at Leicestershire.

Daniel Norcross of the Sofa seems also baffled, "Anyone who has seen the raw power of a gaggle of middle-aged, balding, fat men commentating on cricket in front of the telly in a windowless box, at all hours of the day and night to avoid engaging in the futility of their dwindling lives, will attest to that," he said.

De Freitas...Aggers launched his kit over the balcony
Being a man who loves his cricket, I listen to both. It is like watching Test matches and One Day games, the equivalent of having the choice between a Sunday roast or a curry, or pop music or classical. Some people like Special, others like Sofa. We deserve to have the choice, and both have their place in the game, and if they don't then that is surely a sad day for English cricket fans.

Right, I'm off to find Phil De Freitas.


  1. This is really a fight between the owners of the magazine and the magazine's former shareholders (CMJ & Agnew). Big falling out when Sofa was bought, former shareholders now point scoring. It has nothing to do with broadcast rights. Just bitchy politics.

  2. I agree with the comment above. Its like the Old Etonians running our country who think they are a cut above Joe Public. As Peter Hill-Wood another Old Etonian buffoon who looks upon Arsenal fans as the residue on the bottom of his extremely expensive loafers said "its that lot again."

  3. If the loophole is there to allow the folk to do it, why the hell shouldn't they? Yes, it is unfair that others have to pay for the right, but as it is out of my licence fee anyway, I am just as entitled to not listen to Special. The holier than thou attitude of the established broadcasters is disappointing, but not all together unsurprising.

  4. Childish or what, I'd like to knock a few heads together for the good of the game. We,as BTFM says pay our Licence Fee to listen to Special. Sofa has it's place too. Fair play to them as they can use a loophole. There's a place for both. Stop the bitching and keep on commentating Special. Neil@ReedCC.

  5. I think I'll stick to Ceefax. Or maybe we could arrange for Harry Hill to sort it out. Got to hand it to Test Match Sofa though. All this free publicity won't be doing them any harm. They threw the bait and everyone has pounced. #digin

    1. The trouble with Test Match Special is that they cannot think outside the box.

  6. That's a fantastic quote, do you have the article that's come from?

  7. Ryan, here is the article from the Daily Telegraph

    My piece here wasn't designed to have a pop at either party. It was just to show that the cricketing public out there deserve choice, want choice and that there are a number of ways to skin a cat. Aggers has blown his top on Twitter about it, and no doubt there will be more to follow. Judging from the sentiments above, and messages received all day, most people agree with me. Thanks for the support!

  8. Unlike you to provoke heated debate eh Dan!! It'll be a bit difficult for Fred re CEEFAX as that's gone now (oh those were the days, world catastrophe accompanied by "Wheels Cha Cha".) Where was I, yes 2012, looking forward to the India series commentary or no commentary!!! Neil@ReedCC.