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When Sunday - meant Soccer - meant Frustration !
Thursday, 24th Dec 2020 11:53 by Steve Carroll : Swansea Oh Swansea Zine

Steve Carroll delves into the SoS fanzine archives to bring us The Dreaded Days of Soccer Sunday. This was originally published in Issue 33 of Swansea Oh Swansea fanzine, which hit the streets in October 2015.

We're never happy us football fans. We're always complaining about something. One thing many of us complain about is the coverage we get on TV or lack of it in some cases. Why didn't Match of the Day show Gomisʼ off side goal at Chelsea? Why aren't we on first? Why is the analysis all about why the opposition lost rather than we won?

I'm sure nearly all of you reading this have asked at least one question along those lines already this season. In reality though it's nowhere near as bad as we make out. We usually get around five-ten minutes of highlights every Saturday night, Goals on Sunday also show some action on Sky Sports and if we're on live then obviously that speaks for itself.
When I was younger we had nothing like that. All we had was the shoddily made “Soccer Sunday” which I'm sure even the mention of it sends a shiver down the spine to some people. To those of you who don't remember it here's a brief introduction. A half an hour show on a Sunday (there's a clue in the title) where they would show the previous days' action of us, Cardiff and Wrexham.

In theory it sounds great but I can assure you it was not. There would be one main game each week followed by either 2 minute highlights or just the goals from the other games. Of course there was one team who seemed to be favoured above all others most weeks and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you who it was. You could have renamed ITV “Ignore The Vetch” for half an hour most weeks due to the mass Cardiff love in. It was as if Paul Abbandonato was calling the shots! Spare a thought for poor Wrexham as well; they probably had just as bad coverage if not worse than us.

Arfon had a go at presenting Soccer Sunday, but his hair got in the way

It wasn't just the fact that they loved Cardiff why the programme was so bad though. The editing was shocking! I've still got the highlights at home from the famous Hull game in 2003 and I watch it from time to time. There's a few instances that day of how poorly the programme was made. For example in the first few seconds I remember Neil Cutler being on the wrong end of a bad tackle. This wasn't shown on the highlights but instead the reaction to it from the North Bank was shown. If you hadn't been at the game you would have been scratching your head wondering why the crowd had reacted like that.

Also at the end of the game, they showed us playing for time by the corner flag but didn't show the moment the referee blew for full time and instead went straight to manager Brian Flynn and before you knew it there were thousands on the pitch but you hadn't seen them run on. There are probably many more examples I could find but I think those few prove my point.

Rhodri Davies, cheese face

Now it's time to move onto the presenters. Steve Taylor is immune from criticism here; he was decent enough so if you're reading this Steve you don't need to worry as you've escaped my wrath. However his replacement Rhodri Davies isn't as lucky. To an extent I don't even know why I used to dislike him; he just seemed to have a cheesy grin on his face every time he mentioned something about that lot up the road doing well. A line I vaguely remember being on 5th November one year especially irritated me, “Enjoy the fireworks, but if you're a Cardiff fan you've probably already had yours” referencing some win they'd had. We don't want to hear it, just say something dull and boring like “and that's it for this week join us again at the same time next Sunday”.

Owen, Cardiff fan, with a bird, or maybe his mum

I was quite pleased when he left the show but Jonathan Owen was hardly a great replacement. Naturally he was another one who bled blue which probably meant he was a shoe in for the job, and he was the show's last presenter, and he closed the final show in 2008 with one of the most bizarre things I've seen on TV. He ended with a relatively decent speech about covering the show and during which he admitted his club allegiance which was odd, but then the lights dimmed and he asked someone behind the camera “Can I take this with me?” referring to the Christmas tree next to him and then proceeded to take it with him. I put my head in my hands and thought that sums this programme up ‒ amateurish from start to finish.

I don't think I've ever met anyone who had a particularly good word to say about Soccer Sunday yet we all watched it every week for the simple reason it was that or nothing. If you had Sky which I didn't for much of this time then you could catch the goals during the week but many people like myself didn't have that option. Since Soccer Sundayʼs demise due to budget constraints there's been no regional programme for Football League highlights which is a shame. BBC Wales used to do a good job with extended highlights of Welsh teams in the FA Cup and no doubt would have done so every week if a programme had been produced.
Of course now we're in the Premier League ( remember it’s a dated piece folks ) it doesn't matter and we're spoilt for choice, yet as I alluded to at the start of this piece we still moan about the coverage we receive.

Hugh Johns, 35 year sports commentary career ended in Wales at Soccer Sunday. Came out with the term ‘Very adjacent’ when remarking on a cross shot one Sunday afternoon

All I'll say is next time you're unhappy about it just think about Soccer Sunday.
You'll never moan again in that way!

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