Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The World Cup of punditry

Now I'm no football fan - obviously as I'm a Wolves fan, before anyone feels the urge to crack that joke - but having a flatmate who is a fanatic, I haven't been able to avoid the World Cup.

But, far more interesting than the football for me, as a forced observer, has been the performance of the rival pundits on the BBC and ITV.

The BBC scored a cracker with the amusing Clarence Seedorf - a Dutch footballer apparently - whose feature on that ball that bends around corners in particular was hilarious, and actually quite enlightening.

And seemingly in direct competition was the ITV's own Dutch signing, Edgar Davids, who was really not as interesting, let alone funny! Bless him, but he didn't seem to cotton on to the age-old pundit banter and hilarity...

And don't get me started on Gareth Southgate, although I have warmed to him, probably because I was the only bloke in the world who laughed at the Pizza Hut ad he did after missing a penalty.

But leading the way of course are the two frontmen.

Gary Lineker, who is starting to get very irritating with the way he raises his eyes when cracking a sarcastic little funny, compared to Adrian Chiles, who seemingly can't stop saying "why do we do this to ourselves?" when talking about any match (and I presume the bumper ITV contract would be the primary reason Adrian)...

Also disappointing, particularly last night (a semi-final between Holland and someone in blue which weirdly saw Mr Davids absent from the ITV panel, when you would presume this was THE game to have him on?), was the lack of a commentary pundit.

I love these guys; the bloke who has to sit next to the actual commentator, usually an ex-pro, and give us a bit of professional insight into what has happened.

I only saw the first half, so perhaps this was rectified later, but from what I heard, the ITV commentator was alone (I don't know who he was, but he did an admirable job in the face of adversity), probably freezing on a gantry, the wind gusting around his ears, wishing to have Mick McCarthy or someone alongside him to share in the thrill of the game, although it was really boring.

Sad really, I always enjoy comparing the professional commentator to the ageing footballer, who always seems to disagree with his gantry comrade.

Still, with ad revenues being what they are on commercial television, I suppose it would be no great surprise if Gary Gillespie turned up in South Africa (who knows, he may even commentate via satellite from London, or Liverpool, or Milton Keynes) only to find a P45 in his rented bedsit.

Shame, because we could do with a pundit during the game rather than Adrian 'I-look-like-I'm-sad-even-when-I'm-happy' Chiles, God love him.

But perhaps that's just me. Football fans are a strange bunch, so may well have loved every minute.

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