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Daily Mail (London), March 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Oxford Fail Screen Test


Byline: BRIAN SCOVELL

THE best thing about Britain's first footballing pay-per-view experiment was that it cut David Mellor's Six-O-Six programme short on Saturday.

Mellor was just recovering from the shock of being sworn at by a man claiming to be a Nottingham Forest fan when it was time to switch to live coverage of Oxford's less-than-compelling 0-0 draw against First Division leaders Sunderland.

Unfortunately, the history-making event from the Manor Ground was devoid of any excitement until the final seconds.

First Oxford substitute Andy Thompson struck a post and then Sunderland defender Chris Makin saw his curling shot brilliantly saved by on-loan goalkeeper Paul Gerrard, who was playing his final game before returning to Everton.

Asked whether he would have paid [pounds sterling]7.95 to watch it, Sunderland's manager Peter Reid joked: 'I haven't got that kind of money.' Sky spokesman Chris Haynes said it would be five weeks before the final viewing figures were in from the cable companies and described the pre-match estimate of around 10,000 as 'a guess'.

League spokesman Chris Hull said: 'PPV will form a significant part of the future broadcasting of football and this match will help us gauge the public's reaction.

We are interested in securing the future of all 72 league clubs and therefore need as much information as possible on PPV before the next round of talks start over a new TV deal. …

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