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BT's Choice Of Live Game Tonight Has Proven Contentious Among Fans

BT's Choice Of Live Game Tonight Has Proven Contentious Among Fans
By Gavin Cooney

The consistency of picking Manchester United for live broadcast is evidently good for ratings, regardless of who has the rights. The broadcast policy in Ireland for the Champions League has been to show United as often as possible, with only perhaps Liverpool capable of rivalling United for audience share. It has been the same across the water: a United FA Cup game hasn't been hidden from live broadcast since 2005, and now BT Sport are pursuing the same policy with the Premier League.

Tonight, they have their cameras at Vicarage Road for United's trip to Watford, which could be a good game. Watford are genuinely very good, and could cause United some problems, while there is the subplot of Marco Silva potentially being the best coach to come out of Portugal since Mourinho.

Yet it is not the most attractive fixture of the night. That would be Brighton v Crystal Palace, which is a first Premier League enactment of a randomly bitter rivalry. The rivalry all kicked off in 1976, in a series of ill-tempered  FA Cup replays. When they were eventually separated 1-0 in the third game, the defeated Brighton boss Alan Mullery had a pot of hot coffee poured over him by Palace fans. He tossed a collection of coins on the ground, jabbing at them to claim that's all Palace were worth. The enmity persisted, with Brighton's 'Seagulls' nickname supposedly chosen in opposition to Palace's 'Eagles' and it reached farcical levels in 2013.

A championship play-off semi-final second leg was won by Palace, but they were confronted with quite a welcoming sight in the away dressing room: a shit. Brighton apologised for the, er, incident.

And tonight, the rivalry reaches the plane of the Premier League for the first time.

Yet it isn't on TV, with United/Watford picked instead. It has proved somewhat contentious:

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