Access to football news, then and now.

I was following the trial of John Terry on twitter recently and a tweet I came across made me pause to think of how access to football news has evolved since the days I started following the English Premier League. In the race to break the news first, certain journos and wanna-be journos had logged into twitter through two separate devices with each device having a tweet ready to be sent. One phone or PC would have the words “John Terry: Not Guilty” and another “John Terry: Guilty” with thumbs ready to click on ‘Tweet’. The race to break the news was on.

Compare this with the late nineties when the most up to date way of accessing such news would have been through Sky News through their sports bulletin every twenty past the hour.  Sky News used to be televised through the now defunct STV/ TvAfrica which would be on during the day and late at night. If your team had made a signing or had a player injured, you either had to stay up late to catch Sky news (which was a problem considering we were in primary school and had a bedtime to abide to) or wait for the sports news on local news which was brief and useless. I remember the disgust when you would wait for KTN sports news and after two or three news pieces, Tony Gachukia or Robert Soi would inform that that was it for sports news without giving you the news you were waiting for.

Charlie Thomas, the face of Sky news sports. (c/o skynews.com)

Lack of internet meant that the local dailies would carry a sports piece two days after the news broke. This was due to the fact that they would not have accessed the piece from Associated Press meaning that the piece would be forwarded to the next day.

The internet started to become available intermittently at the turn of the millennium. The wait for ‘news’ was getting more and more excruciating with each passing season. Finally, something had to give. In the summer of 2002 after the Japorea World Cup, rumours were abound that Sir Alex wanted to sign English defender Rio Ferdinand from rivals Leeds United. Leeds had only signed Rio two seasons before, breaking the transfer record for a defender in the process but financial difficulties meant they had to sell their assets. If United were to sign him, they would have to cough up quite an amount. I longed for the deal to be completed as he would have added to our defensive ranks which wasn’t the strongest at the time. The tension was getting to me and when I heard (belatedly as was the case back then) that Rio had undergone a medical at United, the excitement got the better of me. It was this sequence of events that led to me to breaking my online virginity.  I quickly rushed to the nearest cyber, Naitel at my friend Arnold’s place and despite the prohibitive fee of five bob per minute (five times the current average rate), nothing was gonna stop this moment of destiny.

With help from Arnold’s brother Steve, I typed in the magical words in the address field.. ‘www.manutd.com.’ The red and black background on the website was contrasted with a picture of Rio in a white suit being unveiled at Old Trafford by the manager. Alas, he had arrived.

The eagle has landed. Rio Ferdinand on signing for Man United. (Image c/o Reuters)

The joy I experienced at that moment and the significance of it all is understood better in hindsight. Yesterday marked ten years to the day this happened and what an experience it has been. In his time at United, Rio has won five Premier League titles, one FA cup, the Champions League and numerous other trophies in the most successful period the club has had in its long history. On a personal note, access to news has gone from being a tedious process to being bombarded with news as it happens. To that extent, I have gone from consuming news and analysis on the net to this, providing content on the net through a blog. The wheel has indeed come full circle.

As the Terry verdict was announced to a flurry of ‘Not Guilty’ tweets, one couldn’t help but help but crack a wistfully nostalgic smile at how technology has evolved and with it, the speed with which we access the news. The mind boggles at the thought of writing a similar article ten years from now and how things will be by then. So here’s to another decade of technological evolution and continued success by the greatest team of them all. Cheers.

About the Author

Galimo Askumo
An explorer, an infomaniac and a hippie. I got tired of wanting to read detailed, long form articles on various topics that interest me so I decided to write about them. My username is an ode to the last two known members of my family tree which goes back 11 generations.

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17 Comments

  1. loso

    technology has gone a long way i must admit the digital divide is getting smaller,i personally hate the local sports on the news it lasts say 3 mins

    • panoramicdon

      Yeah, local sports has some way to go. Was suprised to see that citizen dude win CNN sports journalist of the year. K24 do a good job in terms of content despite the shady presenters

  2. Albert Brasilieno

    Trying to get onto the tech bandwagon I went to a cyber in 02 and asked ‘how much does it cost to open an email address?’ the attendant was like ‘ni mia lakini sababu we ni student ntakufanyia na fifty’ blonde moment indeed, speaking of football information goal.com was fun before Nigerians took it over.

    • panoramicdon

      Haha..you actually had to pay to get an email address? How ridiculous that they charged for that? Enyewe they had to take advantage while our ignorance lasted. Wonder what Nnaemeka has to say about his brodas taking over goal.com

      • Nnaemeka

        HAHA. I actually cringe when I see the comments… ” chelsae4lyf, ondo comment: AVB is a stupid. Morinho is d best 4 life! Blues!!!”

        But I still have to be patriotic. How dare you?!!!! Lol

  3. loso

    haha albert your right and besides what do americans know about soccer.goal.com is american.
    and k24 sports yes they dothier research on sports well

  4. Nnaemeka

    I just did a stupid thing with this link on Twitter..hope it works! Your ability to capture detail is excellent, Mohd..

    • panoramicdon

      Haha..you plugged the article to Rio on twitter. Fingers crossed he gets to read and even respond. Thanks for the kind words bro, I’m a sucker for detail 😀

  5. Ramires Carioca

    Woooi… Albo! Can’t stop laughing man. Speaking on goal.com and the Naija invasion, it really was fun being there. I still remember of posts like ”Mr. Wenger, plz sign for us Ronaldinho” and one insult, directed at me, I’ll never forget is ”Your head is ventilated Mr. Quiroi.” Let’s say my comments became rare after that.

  6. Joe

    Nice piece! Tumetoka mbali..It was worse in the early 90s-91/92 when we watched ‘highlights’ of matches played a week earlier. When STV started broadcasting in 95/96 i think it was a godsend! I would not wish on anyone my first internet experience in 1999..CNNSI.com, cost me 10 bob a minute and the damn home page took 15 min to open! A whole 150/-
    gone..a whole week’s savings..considering fares ranged from 5-10 at the time

    • panoramicdon

      Mr. Joe you’ve taken it waaaaaay back. I can only imagine how much more difficult it must have been back then. In many ways, you wish the EPL hadn’t blown up quite the way it did. That way, we wouldn’t have Supersport monopolizing all the broadcasting rights and STV would have still been around with free to air EPL. It almost seems surreal thinking back to a time when the EPL was free on tv.

      Those cyber guys made a killing exploiting people in the early days. But the bubble had to burst. Though I’m sure the love for the game that had you burn that hole in your pocket ain’t regretted considering your obsession with football took you to the home of football

  7. solo

    hahaha nice read …Tumetoka mbali…

  8. The Nomad's Daughter

    True.I remember we used to rely heavily on Sky News Sports and they would gracefully repeat all sports news numerous times.Twitter is one of the most powerful of social networks (if not the most powerful) and very interactive as you can see the footballers tweets and comments on everyday stuff.

    • panoramicdon

      Ol skul girl, I like. You have a good point. Its amazing how footballers can now interact with the fans and even engage in altercations with them. Gone are the days of generic PR polished interviews from footballers as the only way of knowing what’s on their minds. Unthinkable a few years back

  9. Jamo

    Nice write up Moha.I remember knowing Blackburn had won the league in 94/95 a whopping two days later in the Nation newspaper..lol!!Earliest memories of football are 92′ & 94′ African Cup of Nations, 94′ World Cup USA & 94” Ch.Lg final all of course on KBC.KTN actually did try in the early to mid 90’s with the Italian Football show and Premier league highlits and also the Trans World Sport (still watch it upto today) show which were sometimes 2 weeks old!Earliest internet nightmare was in year 2000 trying to access CNNSi.com to follow the Aussie Open results while doing my ”computer packages” course…aaahhh the good old days.

  10. Mop751

    Maaaannn!!!!!those stv memories. too great plus the Charlie Thomas news guy..I remember on Sunday morning sky sports used to be longer.

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