A week ago today, dealing with the infamous dead leg, I sat with my eyes glued to the BBC’s Championship live feed. Birmingham’s first game under Steve Cotterill was a tough fixture, to say the least; Cardiff had been the outstanding team in the league this season, and given the 6-1 defeat to Hull the weekend before I was anticipating a drubbing of the unwatchable variety. Come 90 minutes however, Birmingham had climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at home to the league leaders, and the buzz evident in post-match interviews suggests Cotterill has begun something of a revolution at St. Andrews.
Of course, to be thinking like this after just one game is nothing short of wholeheartedly optimistic, and in truth this isn’t about Birmingham – it’s about the unsung hero of the football world: BBC’s live feed. It’s a different experience to watching a game on TV or listening on the radio. It’s an experience made all the more nail-biting with the live feed up on one tab and your fantasy team up on another, flicking between the two pages like a man about to launch a bidding assault on two expiring Ebay auctions.
When listening to the radio or watching TV, within seconds of a goal going in you know who’s scored it and who’s got the assist. Live feed? Different story. When the initial news comes in, you’re faced simply with the name of the goal scorer. Now, this name is accurate 99.99% of the time, but I’ve been stung before. Rule number 1 of the live feed/fantasy football experience is to be wary of mistakes – you don’t want to be halfway through drafting a message to your Dad, gloating about captaining Rickie Lambert, only for a ‘correction’ to award the goal to Dejan Lovren. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Anyway, provided you have fantasy players invested in that game, so begins the search for the assist. The brave among us will wait for the live feed page to update itself, as it is programmed to do, while the less patient will hit refresh a few times, before crossing over to the fantasy tab and giving refresh a bit of a workout once more. Eventually, the information will trickle in, and you may be left with a bundle of points or the painful memory of the decision not to put Sterling in your team as he “won’t be guaranteed the game time”.
I tend to get the live feed up when I’ve got too much work to do to invest in watching the game, and so foolishly believe I can work in the background and check in every 10 minutes on the day’s proceedings. I am always wrong. In fact, I think over time I’ve been programmed to feel a sense of happiness and satisfaction when I see that big bold writing on that light blue background that can only mean a Premier League goal. Am I addicted to goals? Maybe I am. Perhaps I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. What next? Clean sheets? Corners? Throw-ins? Only time will tell.