So, obviously I didn’t go to the game. I mean if you’re going to be an away fan I think at least part of the requirement is that you should travel away from home, not just stay on the 22 a bit. But that’s incidental because these days the absent away fan can track everything he needs to know back at home, on YouTube. Within five minutes of the end of the match last night I could pick up ten highlight clips and commentary in at least four languages. Sorted. But is this the future of football viewing? Is this what we’re being reduced to? Scavenging YouTube for Yemeni-commentated footy scraps? I mean, it’s hardly the Jetsons.

Naturally, nobody is going to pay for SkySports when you can pick up shit for free on the internet. Why? Well because for one, you can pick up shit for free on the internet, and for two, games like this one are usually on ESPN anyway. Yes there are typed minute by minute reports online, but considering Betfair has already told you the score, that’s pretty much like waiting six minutes for the world’s slowest commentator to mutter “oooh”. Obviously it’s a step up from Tyldesley, but then Townsend’s a step up from Tyldesley.

The trouble with YouTube is that there is always someone quicker than you who uploads what looks like a link to the highlights, but ends up being some bullshit site asking for your credit card details. Sure, you can filter by date, but those guys are quick, and for every genuine iPhone recording of some guy’s rewound sky+ footage, there are twelve links pushing you towards Romanian ID cloning sites. That said, you can usually tell which ones are junk by the far-too-detailed thumbnail of Gary Cahill sliding in for a tackle. Or Fernando without a mask. No, you want to click on the distant rubbishy pictures for the real deal, although you will run the risk of clicking on some random’s personal memento of his (or her) (but probably his) FIFA ’13 marathon. I mean, what are those guys doing uploading that stuff? The only people who ever click on them will click back the instant they hear the FIFA ‘thump’ of a short midfield pass. I mean what kind of vainiac is egotistical enough to upload their entire game of FIFA? Who do they think has time to watch that shit?

Anyway, that’s all by the by, because if yesterday’s game taught us anything it’s that one event in a game usually eclipses all the others and you therefore can’t pick up any comprehensive highlights anywhere. If you like, last night’s highlights highlight the problem: There were twenty clips of David Luiz’s goal, and nothing else at all. And on YouTube that’s how it goes. The only way around it is to skip YouTube altogether and go straight to the Live Stream Channels.

You get three kinds of Live Stream Channel online: The Arabic (or foreign) ones, the Indian (or fun) ones, and SkySports (or ESPN). The Arabic ones are fine in that Arabic, or Brazilian, or Russian commentary is just as good as anything else when it comes to hearing the words Lampard, Terry, Mata, Terry Gooooooaaaaallll! The only problem is that you have to wait twenty seconds for a big black square to vanish from the middle of your screen before you can determine whether the reception’s any good or. Whether. You. Have. To. Wait. And. Wait. And. And. And. Ah screw it. The Indian stuff suffers the same problem but at least has the benefit of entertaining you with ads involving dancing girls, men shaving and colourfully-clothed but disapproving parents, that then turn out to be for mortgages in Mumbai. And lastly you have SkySports which… wait, is it against the law to watch live streamed SkySports online? I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to pirate it, upload it, claim ad revenue on it and then clone the credit card of any fool dumb enough to input their details, but am I breaking the law by watching … would someone like me hypothetically be breaking the law if he (or she) should choose to watch it? How about if they were only doing so to research some kind of online article?

Whatever, if it is illegal (hypothetically) that’s not to say it’s immoral, after all, by live streaming Premier League matches, we are all making a solid statement in favour of English football. If Gary Neville is to be believed (he was Beckham’s best man, what’s not to believe?) the financial attractions of the Premier League are destroying our national squad, sucking foreign talent into the club positions that should be taken by lesser-abled English youngsters. We all know that the cash to do this comes from TV rights so if we turn our backs on TV and imbibe our footy online for free we’re depriving the Premier League of its power to deprive us of World Cups, right? How d’you like that turnaround EPL? The only flipside is that we have to trust the internet for our material, which means at any time you could click on a link and be misdirected to some vainiac’s private posting that has nothing to do with what you wanted to see in the first place. So, anyway, Fulham 0 – 3 Chelsea: good result, there’s probably a report on it somewhere on this site.

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