YOU Sheffield football fans should be ashamed of yourselves. That was the greeting I received from a neighbour the morning after driving home to Sussex from the Sheffield derby.
He wasn’t alone. During the following week after Remembrance Sunday, especially poignant as it was the centenary of the end of the World War One, I was met with several similar reactions. All of the protagonists watched the match on TV and were horrified by the sound of crowd noise drowning out a ceremony of remembrance prior to kick-off. And rightly so if it had happened in the first place.
In an era when many people’s idea of reliable news sources is increasingly selective to suit a narrative, it seems Sky television’s grovelling and belated apology for a technical error issued to the Press Association and the national Press, did not reach all concerned.
Anyone can make a mistake. As one who made many during a long career in newspapers, there but for the grace of God go I. It’s how you deal with it that really matters. This one, given the magnitude of the gaffe broadcast live in the UK and around the world, demanded an immediate explanation to viewers.
Sky didn't do that and instead responded in their own time and through other media outlets. Hence the outrage by those who failed to comprehend what was actually happening and were not, pardon the pun, put in the picture by the culprits.
Had it happened instead two days later before the Manchester derby, would Sky’s response have been so lethargic? The odds offered on that by betting giants Bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power who, worryingly, dominate Sky’s football coverage, would probably be extremely long.
Making the mistake in the first place is an internal issue for Sky. Failing to admit it immediately to its audience is a dereliction of duty. In this case it placed fans of both Sheffield clubs who respected impeccably the playing of the Last Post and a one minute’s silence, even if the bugler’s rendition of Reveille was eclipsed by applause, in a bad light.
Actor Ray Winstone earned his fat fee from Sky for reminding viewers during ad breaks to “gamble responsibly”. That should also apply to broadcasting. Shame on Sky.