Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saint And Greavsie

I have never been a great fan of football preview shows, but I made an exception for Saint and Greavsie, a wonderfully light-hearted programme which broadcast on ITV at Saturday lunchtimes.

The programme commenced in 1985 at a low point in English football. Following several events of hooliganism, culminating in the Heysel Stadium disaster, English clubs were now banned from European competitions, and football fans had a lower image than ever. If you were a Saturday regular you were very quiet about it! Not only that, but many grounds remained in a shocking condition, a result of which was the Bradford fire, and the crowds were boxed in with heavy policing and high fences.

The show was presented in an American talk show style with Ian St John as the straight man presenter and Jimmy Greaves providing the comic relief. There would be previews of the day's games, some features and interviews, and a look at the previous weeks' action. It was often like listening in on two old blokes in the pub reflecting on better days.

It was a big success and lasted until 1992, when it was taken off air - the reason being that Sky had won the rights to the new FA Premier League.

Here is an example of a show from 16 December 1989, which featured Howard Kendall's return to Everton as Manchester City manager, Charlton's ground sharing at Crystal Palace, and an interview with Stephen Hendry.

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