World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – BBC part 1

9 Jul

I’m not a great lover of international football at the best times. I regard myself as a Manchester City fan, someone who cares for the fortunes of the Blues, not for the Three Lions. Of course, I take an interest in how our players are performing for their countries, and I take great satisfaction in watching the likes of Carlos Tévez and Nigel de Jong strut their stuff on the biggest stage of them all. But with matches such as Ghana v Australia and South Korea v Greece not exactly enthralling for the viewer, I turned my attention towards the pundits, commentators and analysts to provide me with some excitement.

Looking first at the BBC, they have the trust of the nation. They are there for us every week, providing a comprehensive round-up of the weekend’s football with Match of the Day and there is a relaxed feel about their operation. Gary Lineker is a competent presenter, someone who is very comfortable with the pressure of live matches, and never likely to cause mass riots with any outlandish views. In the studio, it has been a combination of the regulars (Hansen, Shearer, Dixon) and the newbies (Adebayor, Seedorf, Hodgson) who have carried the flag.

Perhaps it’s a mixture of the pressure at the World Cup and the fact that we see him every week, but for me, Alan Shearer is about as lively as a dodo. He is a master at expressing the obvious, describing Portgual as ‘the better side’ following their 7-0 thrashing of South Korea. From a pundit, especially one who has played at the highest level, we expect insight, but Shearer doesn’t exactly provide this.

Hansen is another who has been around for what seems like an eternity. He displays inimitable skill with his combined use of alliteration and tri-colons (‘there’s no pace, no power, no precision’ and ‘he lacks tenacity, toughness and tackling’), but does remain realistic and amusing. Lee Dixon, as a City fan, has my respect immediately and he has proved what a capable pundit he is. Very knowledgable and surprisingly articulate, he has improved his reputation in my eyes. Roy Hodgson and Harry Redknapp were late arrivals to the BBC team, but have proved to be superb pundits. Both display great expertise, as is to be expected from such top-quality managers, and have been a pleasure to listen to.

Dutch midfield maestro Clarence Seedorf has arguably been the revelation of the World Cup. He has been regularly appointed for the high profile matches, despite a relative lack of punditry experience, and he has not failed to interest and impress the viewer. His views are measured and well articulated, whilst his grasp of English is stunning. Combine this with his stylish fashion sense, and the BBC pulled off a coup with his signing.

Now to our very own Emmanuel Adebayor. He may be superb, but unfortunately we just don’t know! He is a truly likeable guy and tries his hardest, but without intending to cause offence, it’s a struggle to make out what he’s saying; an idea rather harshly mentioned in three successive eposides of Mock the Week, by Russell Howard. I admire him enormously as English is not his first choice language, and I would love to be able to speak French as well as he does English, but surely the BBC realise it made a mistake with his inclusion. He was the ‘expert’ who was there whenever an African team played, and he seemed genuinely interesting and eager, but unfortunately, it was an effort to fully understand him. His contract has now run out, and he’s off to spend more time with his new-born baby daughter.

Part 2, focusing on the commentators and analysts coming up tomorrow.

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5 Responses to “World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – BBC part 1”

  1. Alec 09/07/2010 at 3:24 pm #

    A witty, intelligent piece Steven, or, as Adebayor would say, “ehhhh wheatereh iteenneloignet peas”.

    I dislike almost all of the major pundits and must disagree with your apraisal of Redknapp and Hodgson as pleasant and entertaining. I find their obviously deliberately developed cheeky Cockney chappy image nauseating.

    I always note how much sharper and genuinely insightful the punditry is on Football League matches and programmes such as “The Football League Show”, I believe because they value punditry skills above just being well known.

    • View From A Blue 09/07/2010 at 3:48 pm #

      Thanks for that comment Alec, you certinaly made me chuckle! I maintain that Redknapp and Hodgson are decent pundits. They both show emotion, which I feel is a necessity, whilst conveying their evident knowledge.

      I must confess that I haven’t watched a great deal of the Football League Show. However, from what I have seen, Manish is a competent presenter, and Leroy Rosenior is more than capable. Steve Claridge is someone who annoys me greatly, I very rarely agree with what he’s saying. He is just someone I would never choose to listen to.

  2. Judge 09/07/2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Really enjoyed the piece Steven and must agree with your assessment on Seedorf! He’s far better than his ITV Dutch counterpart Davids, although I guess I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see your judgement of him.

    • View From A Blue 09/07/2010 at 5:11 pm #

      Haha thanks le Juge! Tomorrow is in fact part 2 of the BBC summary, so you will have to wait until at least Sunday to read my assesment of Edgar!!

  3. Ricky 09/07/2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Another good post Steven.
    I have to agree with you that Roy Hodgson and Clarence Seedorf (or however you spell it) have been the finds of the tournament.
    I think that the main thing that the Beeb has over ITV is the AMOUNT of pundrtry that we get to enjoy. BBC gives you a full 15 minutes at half time (quite unfortunate if Manu is a pundit) whereas ITV (once the adverts for some small Korean car and Cheryl cole has finished advertising malaria tablets) there is little over 5 minutes for the audience to be bored by Kevin Keegan and his outlandish predictions (I speak of the “4-0” England win versus the USA).
    Rant over, keep up the good work

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