Johnny And Al On Laurie And A QoS

A Question of Sport is very much a milk pudding of a show - comforting but ultimately makes you sleepy. On the other hand, the Laurie Cunningham doc was excellent...

Last Updated: 07/03/13 at 16:56

Latest Articles

F365's Complete List Of January Transfers

Post comment

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

33 comments

He's handsome, he's sexy, he was absolutely sodding amazing at the football...but our boys are a bit uncomfortable with default reverence. He's a pundit...

All Articles

A Question Of Sport is something of a television institution, having started in 1968 long before television was actually invented. It was initially a programme about garish V-necked knitwear and later helped millions realise which haircuts were currently highly unfashionable. For a couple of years it was even part of Emlyn Hughes' care in the community scheme.

This week, it reached its 1,000th episode, despite the fact that no-one can be found who has watched it since 1989. To celebrate its longevity, the teams this week comprised previous captains. Obviously, this thrilled us as we can't get enough of John Parrott's wit, in the same way we can't get enough of inserting a red hot poker up our own fundament. Willie Carson seemed to have morphed into an old lady but Bill Beaumont, who put 14 long years in at this TV coalface, appeared to have aged just ten years in the last 40. This is the advantage of looking 55 years old when you are just 20.

As befitting any institution, it has changed very little. There are no concessions to the modern world. It's not had an 8 Out Of 10 Cats makeover and invited on oddly tanned people from The Only Way Is Essex. Nobody calls anybody else a c*nt.

Even some of the rounds remain exactly the same as they were 40 years ago. The Mystery Guest was always our fave as a kid. This week it was David Ginola in a book shop and Sam Torrance playing snooker to a soundtrack of The Nashville Teens' 1964 version of J.D. Loudermilk's classic Tobacco Road. We hadn't a clue who either of the sportsmen was, but then we never did, and anyway we prefer Spooky Tooth's version of Tobacco Road.

Like all shows which feature sports people, there was much unnecessary touching of arms and slapping on legs and backs. Why are they so tactile with each other? The humour, as it always was, could be strictly defined as 'banter'. In this universe of funny, being bald is hilarious, as are old photos of a panellist looking somewhat different to how they do now. In Ally McCoist's case this meant being dressed as an extra from an Ultravox video. All of which was fun if hardly compulsive viewing. Indeed, such shows seem to be a lot of fun to take part in but much less so to watch. Everyone has a good time, you can see that, but it's very much a milk pudding of a show; comforting but ultimately makes you a bit sleepy.

Perhaps the best round is the final one which they call Sprint Finish but is actually just charades, the oldest of parlour games. Sadly, it ended just before Matt Dawson (now incredibly in his ninth year as a team captain) had to 'perform' Pippa Funnell.

The old clips of ex-presenters Davids Vine and Coleman made us feel very old. However, we were cheered immensely by old pictures of Ian Botham sporting the quintessential highlights-and-mullet hair of the mid 80s when cricket briefly became the new rock 'n' roll before turning out to be an AOR power ballad.

QOS could easily run for another 1000 episodes. It's light and fluffy and just about passes as entertainment. It harms no one and nothing and in an era where cruelty of one sort or another passes as entertainment, perhaps this is a good thing.

From the ridiculous, then, to the sublime: a brilliant documentary called First Among Equals - The Laurie Cunningham Story. The thoroughly unpleasant side of 1970s football got a thorough airing with the tales of National Front at the games, ball-bearings thrown on the pitch and all the rest of the disgusting indignities heaped upon Laurie and his black contemporaries. It's impossible to watch without feeling anger and shame, and a relief that those days are gone - although, as John Barnes (one of a who's who raft of contributors) points out, racism in football is still alive and well, if more covert.

Equal and opposite to that, though, is the joyous footage of the young Cunningham, for whom the expression 'poetry in motion' might have been invented. There are some terrific contributions from people you might expect - Batson, Regis, Sir Les etc etc, And equally from some that you wouldn't - his first Leyton Orient manager, a woman he used to go dancing with, and Peter Reid, who compares Laurie to Ronaldinho and chips in with a brilliantly bizarre anecdote about garlic king prawns that is worth the price of admission on its own.

The love he inspired in his colleagues and younger black players is plain to see, often painfully so, making his desperately sad end at just 33 all the harder to bear. This is a superb TV programme. Check it out.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here

Alan's football and cricket books are all in one place here

Follow Alan on Twitter here

or Johnny here.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

O

ne of the conclusions from this list is that Man City should never buy a striker in January - good luck Wilfried Bony....

Savinator
F365's Top Ten Worst January Panic Buys

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Referee Michael Oliver to make final call on Diego Costa 'stamp' ahead of Chelsea-Manchester City game

Referee Michael Oliver will have the final say on whether Diego Costa is banned for this weekend's game against Manchester City.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company