Why have they ignored the match of the day?

Fleetwood Town v Bath City. scorer Jamie Vardy.
Fleetwood Town v Bath City. scorer Jamie Vardy.

THERE have been own goals galore by the TV companies of late, with ITV, ESPN and BBC coming under fire.

First and foremost, it is a massive oversight by both ESPN and ITV that neither of them have decided to screen live the third round FA Cup-tie they are all talking about in these parts, namely the historic match-up between Fleetwood Town and Blackpool at Highbury.

How they have flown in the face of the glaringly obvious is hard to fathom.

Admittedly, the Manchester derby between City and United was a copper-bottom certainty to be the first pick and the lure of Birmingham v Wolves was a natural too.

No real arguments either about Arsenal versus Leeds – but surely Peterborough v Sunderland and Bristol Rovers against Aston Villa do not carry anything like the attraction of what will take place at Highbury, which carries much more weight than mere local rivalry.

Even though it will be one of the main highlights matches on ITV on Saturday night, television has missed a trick.

One programme that could regrettably be missing altogether from the BBC schedules after the end of this season is the Football League Show.

It could well be shelved after just three seasons because of budgetary constraints at the BBC, whose outlay on sports rights has been cut by 15 per cent after the licence-fee was frozen.

It has already been decided that the BBC will screen no live Football League action at the end of the year when the current contract ends – the Carling Cup final, plus two of the semis are also casualties.

The fact that the Football League show did not appear on Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve or on Monday, could be the thin end of the wedge and mark the beginning of the end for a programme that has been an addicts’ adjunct appearing after the far more expensively assembled Match Of The Day.

One can take it as read that guest FLS pundits like Steve Claridge and Leroy Rosenior are paid nothing like the reputed £40,000 a show that Alan Hansen allegedly receives on MOTD or that presenter Manish Bhasin is in quite the same kind of pay league as Gary Lineker.

In any case, the Football League Show is best recorded, so you can spin through the largely inconsequential pundits’ waffle – they have already got rid of the woman with the dodgy hair-style that used to read the emails.

But at least the BBC are doing some things right when it comes to sport.

On Saturday night, the consistently excellent Radio 4 programme, Archive Hour, will be looking back on the career of the most outstanding sports commentator on the wireless of all time, John Arlott, who died 20 years ago.

BBC 4 have already screened an edited version of the interviews he did with Mike Brearley – the forlorn look on Arlott’s face and the awkward silence that followed when the subject broached the death of his son was, at the same time, touching and distressing in the extreme.

Another major radio event in 2012, is a long-running Radio 4 series on the British and sport, fronted by Clare Balding, who has wisely been hired by Channel 4 to anchor their coverage of the Paralympics.