As the debate about live televising of Test cricket rumbles on, allow me to make a few more points about an issue that will exercise more and more sports fans as the summer gets nearer.
Last week, a Commons Select Committee of MPs gave its judgment on the methods and arguments used whereby Sky Sports won the exclusive right to show all international cricket in this country for the next four summers.
The Committtee found fault with all the key parties, apart from Sky Sports, who were simply following their commercial instincts after all.
I don't blame Sky either, given their business ethic and that Rupert Murdoch has Tony Blair and Gordon Brown by the short and curlies, squeezing them via the patronage of his British newspapers until they are of no further use to him.
So Blair was never going to intervene - even though cricket is now the only major national sport in this country to have sold all TV rights for all competitions exclusively to a pay-to-view broadcaster.
My colleague George Dobell, writing last week in The Post, fingered the BBC 'as the real villains of the piece'.
I'd be the last to ignore the various imperfections in any vast organisation including the one that employs me yet I fear that some of George's darts aimed at the Beeb were ill-directed.
George suggests that Test cricket could be shown on BBC1, 2, 3 or 4 during the day. Not so on BBC3 and BBC4 at the moment where the data streams and satellite capacity used by both channels are simply not yet available during the day.
They are used for the CBBC and CBeebies channels before 7pm, which gather healthy figures. The television regulatory body only allows BBC3 and BBC4 to be used at certain times at the moment.
Of course, Freeview or cable costs extra. Having paid the #125 licence fee, viewers will have to pay more to watch digital programmes. Given George's apparent distaste for the principle of the licence fee, would he be happy to spend even more to get cricket on digital television?
His point about the highlights being broadcast on Five early in the evening must be tempered by the fact that many households can't get Five, on a free-to-air service, especially in the South East of England.
The Select Committee, in its report, 'lamented' that a terrestrial broadcaster exclusively in charge of a highlights package should be available to 95 per cent of the country.
That is in breach of the Ofcom regulations. The Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, was informed of this five months ago by the Keepcricketfree.com campaigners, but so far has not responded.
George asserts that the BBC 'let us down' by failing to submit a bid. Yet the ECB wouldn't negotiate on any scheduling compromise, as the BBC struggled with the summer ahead that would comprise a month of football's World Cup, two weeks of Wimbledon and four days of The Open.
I assume that George agrees that the BBC has a duty also to lovers of football, tennis and golf, or does he believe that cricket should take priority?
The ECB willingly cooperated with Sky last summer why else did the Ashes series not start until July 21, after Sky had broadcast interminable one-day internationals? But the same spirit didn't apply in negotiations with the Beeb.
So there was no point in bidding. The ECB had made its mind up long before serious negotiations started - the Select Committee said the ECB should have done far more to ensure a non-exclusive deal was negotiated.
Sky dropped the price it would have offered for a shared deal with Channel 4 or the BBC and upped it for an exclusive one once the ECB, with shameful nods and winks, indicated the whole bangshoot was available for a lot of money.
So the governing body of a major sport which claimed subsequently that it was trying all ways to ensure widespread coverage settled for the highest sum without exhausting all avenues.
The ECB's management board which confirmed the deal is made up of twelve influential figures. Ten of those are county representatives. With the counties heavily dependent on broadcasting income they were hardly likely to pass on a lucrative offer, even though the bulk of cricket-lovers would be sold short.
That body wasn't independent enough to act in the wider interests of the game. It saw the pound signs flashing and rolled over.
George wrote that Sky Sports isn't a 'niche broadcaster', as its detractors claim. He stated that eight million homes have a subscription.
That figure is made up of sports clubs, pubs and digital viewers via cable, as well as the usual satellite subscribers in their homes a fact confirmed last week in Sky's latest results.
The company is concerned at the churn rate the number of customers who don't renew their subscripitions. It stands at 10.6 per cent and is soon expected to rise to 11 per cent.
Sky has to attract 800,000 new customers every quarter to maintain its figure of eight million. You'll be lucky, guys, especially as the basic sub-scription for Sky Sports rises every year from its current #400.
The highest audience reached by Sky Sports last year was 2.24 million for
Arsenal against Manchester United. Cricket came nowhere, not even on the radar. Yet, for the Champions' League Final, ITV attracted ten million viewers for Liverpool v AC Milan. In 2004, 20 million watched England lose to France and Portugal in Euro 2004 on terrestrial television.
I appreciate that football garners the big sporting audiences but Sky Sports just scratches at the surface. Yet more than 30 million watched the Ashes battle on Channel 4 last summer, culminating in eight million for the Oval Test.
If Sky attract a million viewers for any day of a Test match next summer I shall be amazed. The population of the UK is about 60 million, with 25 million homes.
The ECB must shoulder the blame for a situation that will continue to anger so many cricket-lovers. Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport were content to wring their hands and not get involved because the Prime Minister didn't want to upset Murdoch.
The parting shot from the Commons Select Committee should be plastered on every wall in the ECB's offices - "It is the ECB who must take the blame for any decline in the interests of the game."
DJ bringing fresh vibe to jaded game
The football industry can be a jaded, cynical world and that also applies to the journalists who cover it. But Birmingham City's capture of D J Campbell ushers in a breath of fresh air to banish our cynicism for at least a few days.
I can't recall a footballer behaving more impressively at a transfer press conference than this lad.
Okay, he's 24 and a father, so it sounds patronising to call him a lad, but his fresh-faced, boyish enthusiasm for what lies ahead is endearing.
Soft-spoken and shy he may be, but he couldn't stop bubbling over at the prospect of facing Arsenal, just a week after steering Brentford to FA Cup glory against Sunderland. Pride, humility and respect oozed out of him.
After endless TV and radio interviews, he could remember the name of every one of his inquisitors and thanked them warmly for their interest in him.
We are not used to being treated like that by Premiership footballers, I assure you.
And it was lovely to hear him admit that when Birmingham came in for him, he and his beloved mum shed a few tears together, as they reflected on his progress from gifted teenager with an attitude problem to Premiership footballer, just 18 months after working in a warehouse.
Judging by a promising cameo of 20 minutes against Arsenal, D J Campbell won't be fazed by his new challenge. And his rise and rise will be monitored by a media corps grateful for a newcomer without baggage, pretensions and substantial ego.
Taking on easier targets than Ferguson
'He's got to take a look at himself. There were 15 fouls given against his team in the first half alone at home and he was out there contesting every one. He must think that is right and that is a problem. I hope he can accept criticism'.
Now who is the manager offering that advice? And which manager is he aiming his remarks at?
Given his track record, you'd be entitled to think that someone in the profession has at last plucked up the courage to take on Sir Alex Ferguson. Yet, unbelievably, those quotes came from Ferguson himself.
He was talking about Mark Hughes and his Blackburn team that turned over Manchester United. Yet again, Ferguson confirmed he was the most graceless, charmless loser in English football.
This is the manager who rubbishes referees as a matter of routine, who has made harassment of match officials by his players an art form.
Hardly a week goes by without Ferguson bringing the game into disrepute with his ridiculous whingeing, yet the Football Association just let him roam free.
The mildest rap on the knuckles suffices, yet the FA will happily take on easier targets. The latest is the Crystal Palace chairman, Simon Jordan.
He is appealing to the FA's disciplinary panel over a #10,000 fine for his closely-reasoned remarks over a referee's performance.
Jordan's critique in his Sunday newspaper column was sensible and logical, light years ahead of any Ferguson ramblings.
But the FA might regret going for Jordan because he says 'I'll ask the panel to talk me through really slowly how Sir Alex Ferguson has escaped censure for the third time in five weeks after allegedly calling referee Steve Bennett a 'f****** cheating b******' who'll 'need a police escort out of here at full time'.
Good for Jordan. But will the FA grasp the essential point that there shouldn't be one rule for ambitious, lippy chairmen and another for venerable control freaks who show no respect for referees?
Ferguson's rant about the fourth official allowing only six minutes extra in the Blackburn match - only six minutes! - just demonstrates how successful he has become in voluntarily diluting the regard held for him by the football community.
He is a parody of himself, indulged by far too many who wish he'd take his assorted paranoias into retirement.