Monday, 14 June 2010
ITV Ruins Football; Dave resists World Cup
Aside from Rob Green amusingly spilling the ball into his own goal as the advertising hoardings beseeched him to ‘stay alert’, there was little to smile about in terms of the insight and opinion we were treated to this weekend. Unless, that is, upon experiencing frustration and bewilderment, you grin maniacally. The quantity of football on the telly was enough to have most of us wallowing like a pig in the proverbial, but sadly for ITV, its coverage of said football wasn’t.
Despite not being rich enough to afford an HD TV just yet, we feel a certain amount of sympathy with those viewers who were treated to a Hyundai advert instead of Steven Gerrard’s opener. Despite ITV’s previous on this though, there’s no point getting upset – relying on technology occasionally produces mistakes or glitches, as we have been finding out with Microsoft since the 90s and will continue to find out years from now, when the machines have taken over and humans are forced to live in their sock drawers as punishment for wrecking the planet and not all being as brave and humble as England’s John Terry.
Of course, it’s not easy to be spot on every time – especially not in live commentary. However, Andy Townsend’s and Clive Tyldesley’s assertion that James Milner – ill all week remember – had been hauled off against the USA after half an hour because he had been booked was absurd. It may have played a role, but why had he been booked? Because he’d been totally scorched for pace by Steven Cherundolo. Twice. So why was he substituted for the quicker Shaun Wright-Phillips? Because he’d been totally scorched for pace by Steven Cherundolo. Twice. And without defensive cover, Ashley Cole was penned in trying to deal with Cherundolo AND Landon Donovan and was definitely not getting forward. Not an encouraging scenario when the only passes your midfielders seem capable of playing is rolling it out to your full backs or lumping it forwards, either towards Emile Heskey or out of play altogether.
Tyldesley wasn’t finished either. He later went on to refer to Jose Mourinho ‘sniffing around the Manchester United striker’. This would have had some credence had he been referring to the only Manchester United striker at the tournament, Wayne Rooney, but he wasn’t. He was referring to Nemanja Vidic. Who is not a striker.
At least Tyldesley is just about able to tell you what’s going on. The English obsession with former players as pundits though, needs a better explanation, which, given the level of their contributions, it would be pointless asking any of them to provide. While the BBC wins the battle of the regal Dutch forenames (Clarence trumps Edgar every time), their presence is mystifying. More so when ITV deemed it appropriate to have Davids in the studio for the Germany match. A Dutchman being asked about the Germans? They HATE each other. You might as well get an apple in to comment on some onions. Or have given Davids a boomerang. Adrian Chiles struggled manfully but uncomfortably, folding his arms and leaning over the arm of his chair like a man in a pub who is worried the girl he’s with will be thinking about his ‘body language’.
Also, I have never seen so much slo-mo as in the England-USA game. They LOVED it. We must have watched about 60 minutes of actual football and half an hour of slow motion replays of Capello reacting to every incident in the same way – arms out, face creased like a ballbag after a bath. And we’ve seen that much of David Beckham sat on a bench in a kit for the last three years, that we really don’t really need more of him doing exactly the same thing in an M&S suit instead. PUT THE FOOTBALL ON.
ITV aren’t alone, of course. On a rare excursion to Sky Sports News in between matches we were delighted to find that they were saying the Serbia-Ghana game had finished 1-0 to Serbia, despite describing a Ghana penalty beneath. At least, over on the BBC, Mark Bright had the fortitude to sum up the Algeria-Slovenia match in a single word: ‘Boredom’.
Not every channel has become as obsessed with crowbarring the World Cup and James Corden into every single programme though (the BBC somehow managed a Doctor Who episode with football AND Corden on Saturday night). Top Gear archive and occasional TV channel Dave are running a mostly-fictional-but-with-real-life-resonances football comedy on their website.
What it basically consists of is a no-mark five-a-side team, representing Dave, but coached by a man who appears to take all the content of his conversation from The Sun’s Little Book of Football Adjectives and Phrasings. The team itself is a bit like The Sun too, in that it consists of very little information or back-story, but does contain a few tits to keep us entertained.
A pretty boy with a high opinion of himself, some fairly average no-hopers and a goalkeeper so embarrassed about being in goal he’s asked for his face to be pixellated throughout; it’s possible Dave are using their own football team’s travails as a metaphor for England themselves. Oh, and David Baddiel’s in it, as the head of Dave, who quite clearly can’t be arsed – one of his better moments on telly since Fantasy Football was scrapped.
At ten minutes per episode, as we found this weekend, it at least means you can get some light relief from the tedium of matches like Algeria-Slovenia, rather than listening to messrs Lineker and Shearer confessing to knowing absolutely nothing about either team and commenting only on how boring it’s been. Or Keegan looking like he wants to curl up somewhere dark and die.
You can watch it here: www.joindave.co.uk/fcdave. Dave are also running a competition through which, following the inevitable failure of FC Dave to win anything, your side could win a season at Powerleague and give Dave a better name. They’ll give you a sponsorship package and entrance to a Powerleague 5-aside league of your choice. The winning team will be featured on the Dave website, which hopefully is amazing exposure and will get you lots of fans, credibility and popularity in the blogosphere and beyond. Hopefully.