McManamania and the 'mentality giants': BT Sport's all-angles coverage delivers the Champions League in all its glory

Telegraph football 08 May 2019 12:03

"We don’t need the second yet!"

19 minutes have gone at Anfield and, with Barcelona briefly finding Liverpool’s back door ajar, Steve McManaman’s nerves are already frayed beyond repair. This latest snippet of instinctive, counter-intuitive, commentary-box McManamania takes some serious picking apart - a distant cousin of the affected pessimism device that is “we’ve scored too early”, perhaps - but it captured perfectly the state of a heavily-invested man’s footballing mind.

The evolution of Champions League broadcasting in this country is a reasonably smooth three-parter. First, there was ITV - Brian Moore growling about Ryan Giggs “rrrrrrunning up the wing here”, greeting every Manchester United goal with “it’s there!”, Ron Atkinson briefly inflicting spotter’s badges, eyebrows and the wide awake club on our sacred lexicon, Clive Tyldesley, Jim Beglin, Bob Wilson, Amstel, PlayStation, Continental Tyres, the news will follow the conclusion of this game.

Then, in 2003, the Sky Sports behemoth - having already swallowed the Premier League rights whole - took a piece of the Continental pie away from terrestrial mouths. By 2015, BT Sport had blown them out of the water, later renewing their exclusive deal for both European competitions for a mere £1.18bn. Suddenly, ITV didn’t even have the highlights.

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