Sunday, 8 August 2010

This afternoon with Richard and Jamie

Messyrs Keys and Redknapp can flag-wave for the “best league in the world” and the latter’s own father all they like. We just wish they’d wave a white one.

Sunday's Community Shield wasn't a bad game; I rather enjoyed spells of it. There were goals, the better footballing side won, we were treated to a new goalscoring face in Javier Hernandez and enjoyed the funniest goal we'll see all year. So why was I left feeling deflated? Two reasons, one greater than the other: Richard Keys and Jamie Redknapp.

The lesser of my gripes first. Redknapp has long been derided for the level of his analysis. Women like him apparently, so that’s ok. I liked him a lot as a player. I was lucky enough to watch him as a 16-year-old for Bournemouth before Graeme Souness snaffled him away to Anfield. But his punditry is a bit like watching Chas cook a fried breakfast, while Dave talks you through it. He tells idiots what they ought to have already spotted, just in case they haven't.

"He's opened the beans, Richard. Now look at the way Chas pours the baked beans into the saucepan there, while keeping his eye on the bacon. He’s using all his experience there, Richard. I believe that, I really do."

For his first season or two in the job, Redknapp was a harmless, earnest presence in the Sky studio. He brought a bit of enthusiasm; he knew a lot of the players so he could offer some personal insight – all told, he was mildly irksome at worst.

These days there’s a bitter edge to him that borders on the teenage. He gets irrationally worked up about things, as if some producer’s told him to get more irate. You got the impression today – during the rather off-topic World Cup post-mortem prior to kick off – that not only did he want to throttle Fabio Capello, but that Capello’s lack of Englishness was his main reason for wanting to. He was really going for it; the phrase “he’s lost the plot” cropping up at least once. It’s as if he has become cheerleader-in-chief for his dad’s quest to land the top job at Soho Square. And Keys was only to happy to egg him on.

Now on to Keys. I’ve recently got Sky Sports again, after a hiatus of several years watching it in the pub and not having to listen to him very often. I was quite shocked by the man today. Whereas he used to have the awkward-but-affable keenness of a man that’s only discovered football recently, he’s now morphed into an unpleasant and slippery Murdoch propaganda merchant, cunningly disguised as a Lego man in a cheap suit.

Here’s just one of his endless plugging attempts from today, paraphrased reasonably accurately: “If you haven’t watched a Sky game in 3D yet: it’s sensational. Trust me”. You work for the goddamn channel Richard – don’t insist that we trust you. Just tell us what you’ve got.

Why the ruddy heck would we trust you, when you seem to spend dedicate the majority of your time on air to trumpeting on about the “best league in the world” and how we must make sure we don’t miss the “big game on Monday night” – even if said fixture is Big Team A inevitably trampling on Relegation Fodder Team B.

Today he kept on informing us that, after the disappointment of the World Cup (a tournament entirely broadcast on terrestrial television, let’s not forget), it was great to be looking forward to the big crunch games between the Manchester Uniteds and the Chelseas again. Well, no Richard, it’s not really. Some of us would rather watch Chile v Honduras or Schalke v Stuttgart at the moment. The Premier League is losing its lustre and, judging by Keys’ and Sky’s tub-thumping party line, Sky more than a little worried.

In the wake of BT Vision being allowed to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 to its customers, Sky’s response is to move Sky Sports News off Freeview (taking Jeff and the boys with it) and, going by this month’s listings, shunt rather more live games to Sky Sports 3 than it usually does. You imagine the folk that flog Sky Sports’ advertising space are finding it a slightly harder sell this summer.

There are so many reasons why the Premier League is not what it was. But one of the biggest reasons is that it's getting a bit repetitive. And yet another season of Richard Keys telling us that the latest drab derby game "could turn into a classic in the second half" is distinctly unpalatable. Richard and Jamie may think Capello should have gone this summer. Well, there's plenty of us who think they should have been given their P45s by Sky too.


At the end of the Sky broadcast today – during that tediously jokey, show’s-winding-down-so-we-can-all-talk-over-the-top-of-each-other bit – Redknapp and Andy Gray were mocking Keys’ bright orange tie. Somehow Hernandez’s name cropped up, and Jamie Redknapp dimly wondered aloud: “What’s ‘orange tie’ in Mexican?”

“Stylish,” was Keys’ response. Goons, the pair of them.


Anonymous said...

brilliant post mate.

Remember when Redknapp said that Alonso was instrumental in LFC's 4-1 victory over Man U when he didn't even play. He seems to find such zeal to attack people like Rafa and Capello and as you say, it seems that "Capello (and Rafa)’s lack of Englishness was his main reason for wanting to".

Narrow The Angle said...

As @Eddie_Wilcocks has rightly pointed out on Twitter, it wasn't Graeme Souness who signed Jamie Redknapp from Bournemouth, it was Kenny Dalglish. I used to know this; not sure how time has altered my memory and given Souness credit he didn't deserve. Of course it was Kenny.

Andrew Steel said...

That was, literally, a world class post. I'm literally nodding my head off in agreement. Literally over the moon.

Anonymous said...

The rot's been setting in for a while. Ever since Keys asked whether a 2-1 defeat is better than a 1-0 defeat in the Champions League group stages, I've felt hesitant about handing over my £50 a month. Yesterday's question whether modern defensive midfielders are really just sweepers, albeit playing in front of the back four, was just as odd (but not as odd as Key's clear belief that he just pinpointed a significant shift in modern tactics). Hardly anyone in England, bar Hoddle, has played with a sweeper in the past decade - it's hardly a new thing. What on earth compelled him to ask that yesterday??

Anonymous said...

Great post. Lego man in a suit made me laugh a lot.

Wayne said...

Personally, I wish there was a red button to turn off ALL football presenters, expert commentators and analysts.

I once watched a La Liga match in a bar in Seville. The programme started seconds before kick-off. At half time we got 15 minutes of national news and seconds after the final whistle the titles rolled. Maybe Spanish TV works on the assumption that anyone who watches football understands it?

Davey said...

Couldn't agree more!

But punditry on the BBC can be just as tiresome.
Is Mr Lineker actually interested in any team outside the 'top 4'? (except Leicester City of course!)

Perhaps he should just make the permanent switch to presenting golf and the BBC can find someone slightly less smarmy.

Wayne said...

I'd always admired Hansen's analysis but on Saturday he expertly described "how" David Jones scored his free kick for Wolves, "He flicks it up, it goes over the wall and in the goal". Yes, we saw it Alan!

If there must be a presenter then, by law, it should be Danny Baker.

Jonathan said...

Just stumbled across this. Excellent post, nicely written. Top work sir!

"What's orange tie in Mexican?" Hahahaah!!

That faint thud you just heard is idiocy descending to new levels.

Narrow The Angle said...

And let's not forget, Gareth Bale "literally has three lungs".

Literally - he's a freak of nature, y'see?

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