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Should Russell Slade be sacked?

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"Football First" Sarurday Night Show Launches

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 20/07/2001

WITH the launch of the ITV Sport Channel next month comes a footballing first. Division One fans will get a comprehensive review of the day's action on Saturday night at prime-time. Football First - Saturday nights at 8.30pm through to 10pm.

The TV programme will be the Football League's first ever dedicated comprehensive highlights programme. Football First will include three featured games with extended highlights - with five cameras recording the action at each game.

Every other game in the First Division taking place that day will also be featured in a 15 minute section that will give fans "proper" highlights, not just goals and a sending off. As well as the action, Football First will also feature magazine items and colour pieces of the day's events, featuring anything from a "behind the scenes" look at Coventry's first ever visit to Blundell Park to interviews with the great, good and colourful characters of the Football League.

Football First will be presented by Matt Smith - recently departed from BBC Sport. The main commentator will be Guy Havord, formerly of Sky Sports, with regular studio expertise coming from former England and Watford manager Graham Taylor and ex-Wimbledon star Robbie Earle. Commentary will also come from regular ITV commentators Peter Drury and Jon Champion.

Graham Taylor said: "This is an exciting time for football. This is the first time that Nationwide League fans will be able to watch a dedicated highlights programme on a Saturday evening, something Premiership/top flight supporters have had for decades."

Football First's producer Mark Demuth said: "For fans of Division One clubs, this show is long overdue. Three main featured games, five cameras at each game - all on screen by 8.30pm on Saturday evening. We'll be treating the First Division with the respect it deserves, and putting First Division football first."

Fans of Second and Third Division clubs will also get, again for the first time, there own separate highlights shows Football Second and Football Third. The hour-long shows, hosted from football league grounds will be shown on Sunday lunchtimes.

The ITV Sport Channel, launching on Saturday August 11th, is available to subscribers of ITV Digital (formerly ONdigital) for £6.99 a month. This gives viewers access to 65 Nationwide First Division matches, up to 15 Nationwide Division two/three games, and 15 Worthington Cup games, as well as 40 matches from the UEFA Champions League.

For £3.00 a month extra the complete football package is on offer. So as well as all the top quality action on the ITV Sport Channel 40 FA Barclaycard Premiership pay-per-view games and 20 Nationwide League pay-per-view games are also included through the ITV Sport Select service. Working out at 50p a game ITV Digital offers better value than rival platforms.



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