EVER get the feeling there’s too much football on television? No, neither do we. This is probably why the suits at Manchester United today in 1997 linked up with Granada and BSkyB to create MUTV, a channel where United fans would have all their televisual needs catered for.
Still going strong today, MUTV offers solace for fans who simply can’t live without watching the reserves, youth sides and just about every other kind of Manchester United-related team play week-in week-out. They know their audience, so the commentary is a little biased to say the least, meaning unbalanced analysis and parity and are not the order of the day.
However, for a club-run propaganda machine, MUTV has had it’s fair share of controversy over the years. And it’s no surprise that the channel’s most explosive moments have been provided by a certain Roy Maurice Keane. United’s then-skipper appeared on the channel following a 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in November 2005 and laid into a host underachieving players, such as John O’Shea, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson and Darren Fletcher. Never one to let a soundbite go, his thinly-veiled attack on Rio Ferdinand saw their United legend rant that: “just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar.” Quite right Roy. Described as “explosive even by his standards” by management at the club, the interview was pulled at the 11th hour.
The channel also sped up Keano’s departure from the club, as he admitted during a phone-in that he would be “prepared to play elsewhere” when his contract expired at the end of the season. Within a few days he was north of the border, donning the hoops of Celtic.
While Fergie might not be the biggest fan of the channel, as he has stopped giving them post-match interviews, MUTV remains a nice cash-cow for the club and this has seen a host of other sides such as Liverpool, Chelsea and the Old Firm jump on the bandwagon. If Roy Keane’s comments have got you in a confrontational mood see below and come back tomorrow to look at some pre-Beckham soccer-ball action in the US of A.