SBS Time to say goodbye to Soccer

SBS coverage of the world game has been a big part of my life. We have both grown up together and since 1975 when SBS first started broadcasting there has been a huge focus of the sport of football.  We had passionate presenters such as Les Murray, Andy Paschalidis and Kyle Patterson showing us games from around the world.  For a boy who only occasionally watched the old Big League Soccer on the ABC during school holidays this was a revolution.  The program I always wanted to watch was World Soccer on Saturday afternoons with Les Murray.  To watch highlights from Serie A in Italy, the Bundesliga from Germany and the best of the South American leagues opened my eyes to the many styles and tactics the game had to offer.  I was also introduced to the Socceroos in their many failed World Cup campaigns of the ’80s and ’90s and discovered local heroes of the game.  When SBS won the rights for the 1990 World Cup in Italy again Australia was introduced to the greatness of this sporting event and whetted our appetite for more.  Ex-Socceroo captain Johnny Warren became the expert analyst and brought his passion of the game to the general public on a mission to convert as many people to the world game.

Sadly in the last couple of years SBS has lost the passion to broadcast the game in this country. The Friday night coverage of A-League games has been relegated to SBS2 and now the commentary team are in a studio in Sydney while a game is played interstate.  While as preachy Craig Foster can be, he is still one of the best analysts in the game, but the production values look cheap and nasty compared to Fox Sports coverage which is sleek, professional and have the best commentators such as Simon Hill and analysts like Mark Bosnich.  With the retirement of Les Murray, SBS have lost direction and their credibility has been soured with their support of FIFA during Australia’s World Cup bid and not exposing the corruption that has been within the organisation.

I like others in my age group are part of the SBS generation that has been exposed to what the World Game can offer and while I can be romantic and insist the Free to Air Football should be on SBS. I can’t justify SBS at the moment due to the lack of effort being put in by the network.  So sorry SBS you have had a great run, but know the game needs to take to next step and move away from what was cheekily called one time the Soccer Broadcasting Station.

About Vaughan Menlove

Obsessed with Richmond, Luton Town, Melbourne Victory and Arsenal. The Dr had a soccer career hampered by the realisation he was crap, but could talk his way around the game. Co host of It's Not Called Soccer podcast


  1. WHO will ever forget Les Murray’s disintegration of the word ‘football’.
    For him Vaughan it was always ‘foodbol’. With a heavy, breathy emphasis on the ‘F’
    Perhaps a throwback to his middle (or Balkan??) European upbringing and/or heritage.
    And fancy being cloistered inside on a Sat. afternoon with SBS-TV.
    For me during southern winters I’m off at a regional Aussie Rules footy game.
    Les and Preachy Craig and latterly Simon Hill are fine. But in the evenings, surely.
    And I have a hunch Johnny Warren might have been a tad overrated.
    Has the length of time since his demise coloured the said Johnny in a warm, peachy fuzz??

  2. Dave Brown says

    I’m not sure, I reckon SBS’s coverage of the A-League resembles the competition itself.

  3. The interest in the game probably isn’t there from the commercial networks, and they’ll probably shove 3 minute ads midway through a half leading to the constant criticism of their coverage. Plus I reckon more and more calling teams will call from studios rather than the ground in the future to save time, costs and stress (I know radio stations for NRL games frequently do this for games outside of the Sydney Metropolitan area for example).

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    In answer to Richard…

    Totally agree Vaughan, it’s Fox Sports all the way these days.

  5. Dennis Gedling says

    It seems that SBS was happier ‘living in more interesting times’ when it came to supporting the sport trying to get it respect and that seems to have been done to a degree. In recent times they have never been able to compete with Fox and Bein Sports for coverage rights. It seems strange they would treat what football they do get to cover like a ginger stepchild.

  6. LUKE & Vaughan: I love Les Murray.
    Wasn’t in any sense trying to denigrate him. I relish his insane way of expelling the word ‘foodbol’ from the Murray mouth cavity.
    And I’m very fond of his love of the round-ball game.
    I’ve been following ManYoo since 1952 when my Welsh-born father took us all back to Wales. By Orient liner through the Suez Canal!
    And found on his arrival most of his siblings had all moved to Manchester, including 88-y-o Gran., with a few others ensconced in nearby Cheshire.
    Saw ManYoo play the hated pale blue-shirted City on that trip. Mind you, back home in Geelong in the Fifties the only way to follow English football or any other sport from Europe was via the Time Magazine or snail-mailed English papers from the aforesaid rellos.
    Then when I moved to PNG in the early Sixties the Geelong Addy had taken to publishing English footy results (the EPL was called Division 1 back then, from memory) and Mum would airmail me the Monday Addy.
    It would arrive in Moresby about Friday, but if it was a bad week with Ansett and TAA (no Qantas to PNG, then, either) we’d have to wait until the folo’ing Monday.
    That was in the days when Vic. papers did NOT acknowledge there were R.L. and R.U. comps played north of the Murray.

  7. Richard Youngh says

    It is very disappointing that subs is not showing the European championship league games.
    For Australian to see the top players compete can only improve the levels out here

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