Arthur Montford fearful for future of Scottish game

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By ALEXANDER LAWRIE

SCOTTISH football legend Arthur Montford admits he fears for the future of our national game – claiming too much live football on TV “is slowly killing it”.

Montford, 79 – who made his name as the voice of Scotsport for over 30 years – has slammed television bosses for showing excessive live matches.

Famed for his check-jackets, the lifelong Morton fan claims supporters are now staying at home in droves and watching their footie on the box.

The veteran presenter has been so incensed about the recent amount of live matches he put pen to paper and sent a stinging letter to a newspaper to outline his concerns.

Montford was compelled into action after seeing the scheduling of a full card of Scottish League matches on March 10 – the same night Real Madrid visited Liverpool in the Champion’s League.

The following Saturday saw Liverpool shown again, this time in their top-of-the-table clash with Manchester Utd, which finished just 20 minutes before Scottish clubs were due to kick off.

English kick-offs critical

He said: “I think the power of television is excessive. I fear for the game – I really fear for it.

“All clubs have two kinds of support – rank and file guys who turn out in rain or shine to see their team, and those who go if it’s a decent night, or it looks like it will be a decent game, and if there’s not a game on the telly.

“The English kick-offs are critical. The lunch-time kick-off is a cruel one for Scottish football.

“In the instance of the Manchester United v Liverpool – a superb game, and I was in the boardroom watching it – it didn’t finish until 22 minutes to three, and then they started replaying the goals.

“They stopped doing that at five to three, when the teams were coming out at Cappielow.

“If you were thinking of going to a game, then it meant you were likely to miss kick-off.

“The clubs come bottom of the list of priorities.”

Coverage is magnificent

Montford has been supporting his beloved Greenock club since 1942, has been made honorary vice-president, and still writes a column in the match programme every week.

And although he does not subscribe to Sky or Setanta, Montford does admit today’s “television coverage of football is magnificent”.

He said: “It sounds a bit like poacher turned gamekeeper but in the old days it was simple – live television pictures could not be shown if there were games on in Scotland.

“Now television is dictating how the game should be run and is slowly killing it.”

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