Saturday, June 17, 2006


From what I have seen so far this tournament, I am much preferring the BBC coverage to what ITV is putting out.

The major difference to me is the difference in studio analysts. The BBC crew look all relaxed either at the stadium or in an airy, spacious studio whilst the guys (and girl) over at ITV look to have been allocated a broom cupboard in each of the stadiums. I'm also not too sure why none of the ITV guys have questioned why they have to stick straws along their jaws either.

The line-ups are the big thing for me:

Hansen, Shearer, Leonardo, Strachan, O'Neill, Wright, Desailly.

Townsend, McCoist, Venables, Allardyce, Pearce, Okocha, Hasselbaink.

Enough said?

Strangely, even Ian Wright appears bearable so far - reigning in some of his more 'hyper' traits. I think Strachan and O'Neill can offer decent insight and doing appear shy of telling it 'how it is'. I'm also looking forward to seing if any Celtic tension rears it's head during the tournament and I'm sure Gary Lineker could coax that out of them. I quite like Leonardo, although he seems to miss the 'pretty boy' gags that have been thrown his way and he seems now to be morphing from 'Leo' into 'Layo'.

Over at ITV, Okocha and Hasselbaink are a waste of time. Hasselbaink just appears to be permanently confused (perhaps he is contemplating what the straws are for) and Okocha just looks plain bored. For the England games, the premier team is the trio of Allardyce, Venables and our very own Stuart Pearce. Allardyce offered nothing to remember apart from that he's always 'fancied Crouchie', Venables has a look that worries me - as if he may 'lose it' (could be worth watching) whilst I hope that Pearce is finding his feet in the role of analyst - his observation that England had "a wake up call before their wake-up call" suggests improvements are needed. Hopefully, his time over there will turn out to be an ITV funded scouting trip which will yield half a dozen reinforcements in time for pre-season training.

One thing which is beginning to grate is the commentary teams. Apart from Peter Drury on ITV who I think is a good commentator, the rest have not impressed at all. Particularly irritating is Clive Tyldesley, who seems to be the 'number 1 guy' for ITV yet rarely displays any impartiality (and I thought he was bad covering United games). The decision to allow Gareth Southgate into the commentary box is dumbfounding, and is observations such as "John Terry could be dangerous from set pieces" add nothing. Middlesbrough fans must be concerned if this guy needs to deliver a rousing chest-thumping half-time team talk.

Over on BBC though, John Motson has gone beyond being mildly amusing, with the air of an elderly relative you have to be patient with whilst they confuse people and names up. During the Brazil v Croatia game, he actually confused Ze Roberto with Ronaldinho on a number of occasions. I think he is even beginning to wind-up co-commentator Mark Lawrenson - although that may be no bad thing in itself. The only alternative to Motty appears though to be Jonathan Pearce, who's over the top enthusiasm was ideally suited to a fledgling Channel 5 (or is that 'five') and I cannot listen to another game with 'insight' provided by Mick McCarthy, who I'm thinking needs Bob Murray to take over at the BBC to put him out of his misery in the commentary box.

From the little I have caught so far on radio (909), the commentary on there is hands down the best I have come across. From all his failings as the national manager, I do like listening to Graham Taylor and think he provides some of the most insightful summarising around. The main commentators appear to provide a far, higher standard as well, not appearing to want (or need) to steal the show as some of their TV counterparts seem fond of.

Check out a more in depth look at the World Cup media coverage over at Finals Fantasy and also check out theex-pat World Cup blog

vote it up!


Gavin Cooper said...

Great article Danny - you pretty much said what I have reflected on the commentary so far - thank god for the red button on bbc commentary to five live!

Simon said...

I only wish itv had a red button to put 5 live on as well as both bbc & itv commentators are trite, dull and uninformative / uninformed.

However I must bring you to task on Venables, I believe he is an ideal pundit. He seems to have huge knowledge and insights which none of the other pundits, on any channel, seem to have. He really is a football genius and I hope that for the good of the game he is brought into the England set up as an advisor to Ferguson's mini-me - I mean Mclaren. If not then could he not be brought up to Manchester for a year to act as a tutor to Pearce? I like Pearce as a manager of men but we lack direction on the pitch, we lack a slight edge, an ability to see an opportunity and suffer somewhat from a lack of confidence, so the players want to try to walk the ball into the net. Consequently we waste opportunities and don't score when we should. Venables might inject some wherewithall into the team, helping them break down "big" teams and score more frequently when we are on top of a game.

As for Motson, is he turning into Henry Blofeld without the charm?

Anonymous said...

In total agreement. Whilst watching the Italy v USA game (which, at the time was 1-1, and USA down to 9 men, and Italy down to 10) David Pleat said the AMericans were playing a 4-3-2 formation (does that not add up to 10 outfield players?!), then Peter Drury said, when the Americans got the ball in the net (for a disallowed goal) "there's the equaliser"!!
It realy does beg belief!!

An Outside Agency said...

Heheh. I guess we all see things differently, mate. I'm enjoying ITV much more than BBC and – despite the fact that Tyldesley is a Mune – I don't mind his style.

Here's my take on the same subject...

Keep up the good work.


daztheblue said...

A few nuggets to listen out for,

Mark "thats what I'm talking about" Bright
David "when I was at Tottenham we... "looked into signing/nearly bought him/drove slowly past her" Pleat
And the commentators for the Argentina v Holland game, you'd think we were watching City v Spurs for high drama. Messi may well be a fantasic player but give it a rest. Bringing the ball under control and passing it 5 yards doesn't make you a world beater- ask Claudio Raynor. It was a poor game played at training ground pace between 2 teams who were happy for a 0-0.
I think ITV have to try and sell the games more than the BBC for the advertising, If its a poor game they won't say as much as people may turn over. Where as on the BBC there more inclined to say it like it is.

Linekers=footy, Ryder=golf.