Double screening

I experienced the same thing with both kinds of football at Christmas – watching a game while listening to the commentary from a different game. It’s very disconcerting.

Try it if you don’t believe me. Place two TVs side-by-side when there are fixtures with simultaneous kick-offs, mute the volume of the contest you are interested in, and listen to the sound from the other. Or just take my word for it that it’s hard.

I would guess it’s a challenge faced by many Chelsea fans in America unless they are lucky enough to frequent a pub that only shows Blues matches. If we are scheduled for the traditional Saturday 3pm slot, chances are we clash with four or five other games.

I’m currently in North Carolina, and on Christmas Eve I went to a bar 20 miles outside of Charlotte to see the New Orleans Saints against the Atlanta Falcons in the penultimate NFL game of the regular season. The Saints led the division, but a victory for the Falcons would see them leapfrog into first place.

At the same time, the Carolina Panthers were up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (in the stadium where we took on PSG in the 2015 pre-season), and the Panthers were level at the top of the table with the Saints. So imagine Chelsea playing Spurs with a three-point lead but them having a better goal difference, while Arsenal are on the same number of points as us and are taking on West Ham at home.

The pub was showing both contests, the hometown Panthers on most screens and the sound from that on the PA, while the Saints were only on a couple of sets. It took concentration: cheers from ‘big plays’ by the Panthers would often trick you into thinking that something important had happened in New Orleans. The exciting moments in the Saints match of course invariably occurred during stoppages in the Charlotte fixture.

Fewer than 48 hours later I had the same thing in a downtown bar at 10am on Boxing Day where I went to watch us play Brighton. The action from Stamford Bridge unfolded in silence on one TV, while Manchester United’s draw with Burnley was a multi-screen event with commentary. I almost missed Alvaro Morata’s opener because it took me 30 seconds to realise the second half had started.

Despite the discombobulating disorientation, both the Saints and the Blues won to make it a double Christmas present. I hope your Yuletide season was as enjoyable.