The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY - Kelly Cates

SCAT­TER­GUN high­lights, 70s league ta­bles, con­fused guests – Chan­nel 5’s de­but of­fer­ing was a mad old mael­strom.

Football League

Tonight cer­tainly left view­ers in a spin and, judg­ing by the in­vec­tive spewed on so­cial media, not in a good way.

But let’s give these guys a chance. Yes, much went awry. Jump­ing be­tween di­vi­sions didn’t work and 38 min­utes of footage in an 85-minute pro­gramme is not enough.

But much went right, too. Kelly Cates is one of the most nat­u­ral pre­sen­ters around. Our own Adam Virgo was in­sight­ful. Even the stu­dio au­di­ence might work if you put a mic on them.

And re­mem­ber, the BBC’s Football League

Show was hardly per­fect – thanks mainly to an an­ti­so­cial mid­night time slot and a re­lent­less bar­rage of 30-sec­ond high­lights that made sit­ting through Leagues One and Two a test of en­durance.

Any at­tempt to cover the Football League is fun­da­men­tally ham­strung by sheer vol­ume. It is im­pos­si­ble to be as slick or as de­tailed as Match of the Day when you’re ram­ming 30-odd games into an hour-anda-half.

For the BBC, the clas­sic pun­dit-on-a-sofa method proved a work­able but unin­spir­ing fit, their pun­dits so pressed for time that any anal­y­sis was shorter than Gary Coleman.

Chan­nel 5 have bravely tried to mix things up and that de­serves re­spect. With a co­her­ent run­ning or­der and a stronger fo­cus on the Cham­pi­onship, the doubters will soon be won over.

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