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Monday, 20 September 2010

A Room With A Swan

A few months ago, I wrote about my lack of time for the ‘Betfair front room’. I didn’t like it. The saving grace though, if any, was that at least the morons would be punished for their inane opinions by losing money, albeit someone else’s, and getting rinsed, albeit by other actors (yes, they were actors, because one of them turned up in Luther on a regular basis, much to my amazement. And disgust).

I’ve nothing against light-hearted approaches to football. I do get a bit fed up when the BBC mistakes ‘light-hearted’ for ‘not trying’ though, and this is exactly what I’ve found with Match of the Day 2.

If Match of the Day is among the BBC’s shiniest apples, then its Sunday evening counterpart is among Auntie’s rankest onions. Watching last night, my brain slowly turned to mush as I was drip-fed ‘inane’ direct from the telly. It was so discomfiting it was akin to how I imagine I’d feel if I was sitting alone in a room with a swan. Transfixed by the fact I didn’t have a clue how to react.

Shearer advocating the long-ball to Torres, ignoring Liverpool’s lack of width and creativity from midfield (their problem for two years now). Absolutely EVERYONE ignoring the fact that the game at Old Trafford was won, thrown away and then won again by shambolic defending. Analysis of Berbatov’s performance comprising of replaying his goals and nothing more.

Lawrenson lolling around on the sofa smelling of port. Motson chucking to himself like a pissed-up grandfather, tailing off mid-sentence and patronising Blackpool on an EMBARRASSING level. Shearer being a deadhead. Murray not being funny and aligning some of the game’s great visionaries with David Ginola. Painful battles of ‘wit’ between the host and ‘Lawro’, who, free from the restraints of Hansen actually offering some insight, did not need ANY encouragement. Having a laugh at Wigan through the medium of Benny Hill music. No one offering an opinion. Everything being generally half-arsed. Email us your version of our theme tune? Fuck off.

Now, as I have learned from over a hundred unanswered emails to Cheryl Cole, you should never identify problems, no matter how obvious they are or how eruditely you do so, without being able to propose a solution.

The BBC is missing a massive trick here. Forget all that X Factor / Strictly shit, Sunday evening is the real prime time telly. Football on Sunday evening, when none of us are down the pub, is perfect for them to really deliver something of quality. I don’t want to get wound up to the point of shouting at the telly because the coverage is just SO STUPID, I want to watch highlights from the weekend and see what some actual pundits make of them. I don’t just want to watch the goals from five games from a daft angle that make it impossible to tell what’s going on, who scored and whether there was any decent build up play whatsoever.

Sunday night really should be the BBC’s ‘Football Weekly’. Their pundits should be exactly that; people that comment on the game for a living and are respected by other people who do the same. James Richardson should present it. This much is obvious to me. Most of us are at home. Most of us are getting ready for work the next day. Most of us would lap up an intelligent highlights package and some insightful discussion presented to us in a way that realises we are interested in THE FOOTBALL. At 10pm on a Sunday, I doubt those with kids are sitting up watching telly with them. This is an opportunity to make something like the Sunday Supplement, or Goals on Sunday, available on terrestrial telly. And the BBC have totally ignored it, instead producing an indifferent free-for-all. And I can’t understand why.


  1. Can't agree, honestly. I find MOTD stiff and lacking in actual opinion because they are all mates with the players. Lineker is a terrible presenter and his puns are worse.

    I enjoy MOTD 2 much more, but noticibly the episode you cite had the ghastly 'Lawro' and the less than insightful Shearer as guests. (remember Shearer's report from the townships during the WC? First question - so when you were segregated, what was that like?' Numpty)

    Much better is Lee Dixon, who does actually analyse games well and explain them to viewers. Hansen's ok, but has become a parody of himself, and can't seem to be arsed these days. MOTD 2 also has guest manager on their sofa, who are far more interesting

    Sunday Supplement? Do me a favour. Journalists that think too much of themselves, toeing party lines that keep their vested interests happy - no better than the MOTD football pundits.

    As for Murray, well I quite like him. Apologies for that, but he knows that whilst football is important, so is realising that at the end of the day it's a laugh, and about far more than the 90 minutes. He'd not alway spot on, but like the Football League Show and Football Focus, for me the show is improved by having a presenter present (although the FL show HAS to drop the 6-0-6 style texts - it's inane, and an insult to the Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes who has to read them - she's a good presenter herself.)

    Would agree about James Richardson though, he's the best in the business.

  2. Great piece that! loved the idea about the BBC making Sunday their football weekly, agree James Richardson should host it (but he better keep that cad Gabriele Marcoti well clear)

    Won't hold my breath on the BBC actually doing it though.