Eye On The Experts: Jamie Redknapp

Ten years! Ten years! That's how long Jamie Redknapp has been on our TV screens. And yet he has never knowingly said anything insightful. That's worth applauding...

Last Updated: 23/01/14 at 16:48 Post Comment

Latest Articles

British Coaches Abroad: Roy Hodgson

5 comments

Before England, Roy Hodgson has enjoyed something of a nomadic football lifestyle. He talks Sweden, life away from England and English players moving abroad...

Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

8 comments

Cesc Fabregas tops WhoScored's list of debuts from the weekend but you might also be surprised to see Patrick van Aanholt and Andrew Robertson in there...

All Articles

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at some of football's pundits and commentators and try to pin down what makes them good, what makes them bad, and what makes them ugly. This week it's the pwoper football man in the scrotum-crunching pants, Mr Jamie Redknapp.

Style
Wears clothes that are modish and slim-fit to the point of looking like they might have been designed for a man who is one size smaller. Often favours the black suit, white shirt and black tie. But rather than being a ZZ Top-style Sharp Dressed Man, he looks like he's on his way to a funeral; the funeral of punditry, perhaps? Sports what used to be known in the 80s, for reasons we never understood, as 'designer' stubble. Often appears rather tired these days, as if all that sitting in a chair and talking is taking it out of him. His voice is Cockney-lite, with all the colourful idiosyncrasies of an East End accent stripped out and replaced with estuary tones.


Special Interest
Fings what are top. Spurs, Liverpool, West Ham (and close family).


Strengths and Weaknesses
He's celebrating ten years as a pundit now. Ten years, dude, in a highly paid job which lots of other former footballers would love to get. So, you know, some people at the top in TV land must perceive him to have significant strengths.

Jamie is a good-looking man. He is young, or at least youthful enough to be considered young by a TV executive, which is probably not the same thing at all. For a lot of the key target audience, your Soueys and your Hodds are not just older than their dads, they're getting up there to grandpa age. Jamie's handsome, he's charismatic, he dresses fashionably, he has a pop star wife, or at least a wife who used to be a pop star. You cannot, in all fairness, say that about Bryan Robson. The again, he'll be 41 this year, so if you're 18, he must look quite old. In other words, he can't play the youth card any more.

As regular readers know, we try not to be beastly in this column. We want to see what those who like the pundit see. But we're struggling to find any strengths to Jamie's game other than the fact that he doesn't frighten the horses.

He seems too obviously pampered to be a man of the people. Even his staunchest supporters would have to concede that he has had a leg up the TV tree due to his family name. He doesn't seem to be required to do much work in terms of prep, and we generally don't find him saying things beyond the obvious.

But it gets worse. He is either related to, or friends with, quite a few players and managers and thus we think the viewer can justifiably ask whether he has a conflict of interest when discussing them. In most other walks of life where careers and huge sums of money are at stake, it surely wouldn't be allowed. You don't turn on the BBC News to hear David Cameron's brother Allen discussing how Dave got on in Question Time, do you?

This was never more apparent than when he punted his good pal Tim Sherwood for the Spurs job as a "proper football man". He treated his role on live TV as little more than being a ra-ra merchant for his mate. Maybe we'd all do the same if allowed, but it is fundamentally wrong.

We would be able to tolerate this 'insider' type of behaviour just fine if it came with some level of real insight as to what, say, Sherwood does or is as a coach, or person. Just going basically "he's a top bloke he's my mate" is not that thing.

This degree of nepotism goes largely uncommented on and unchallenged and, actually, the victim ends up being Jamie, in a sense: how can your credibility as an analyst not be harmed when you're bigging up your pals without challenge?


Tactical genius or tactics truck?
Frankly we wish he'd sit in a darkened tactics truck peering out of the gloom, his face only illuminated by the glare from a VT machine, as it might inject some gravitas into what he says. Especially on Champions League nights, sitting next to giants of the game like Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness, he feels lightweight, although this may partly to pretty up proceedings and lower the average age/intimidation level. Souey has sometimes been seen to flinch at Jamie's words, and give a Fulton Mackay in Porridge-style twist of the neck as some inanity rubs him up the wrong way.


Leg squeezer geezer?
Yeah yeah, he likes a good slap on an ex-pro knee, does Jamie. We imagine his life is conducted as though he is forever in a TV studio with a footballer. Was probably taught how to do it at the breakfast table by 'Arry and Frank Snr. Joshing about haircuts and a tie with a garish stripe before he was out of short pants. We long to see him lean out of a car window to give an interview and thus establish if this is a genetically inherited skill.


Bantersaurus Rex?
His blameless bystander's role in the Andy Grey/Richard Keys unpleasantness (a classic bit of banter from master Bantersauruses) revealed a chap who wasn't at all from that nasty old school. There is no doubt that Jamie is a nice lad and that is worth celebrating. We're of the view that he'd like to do top, top banter but is probably a little too nice. Does adverts with his dad. Well, who doesn't?


Cliché counter
Many moons ago now, we were among the first to point out that 'top top' was his default prefix for any critique. We did this so often and with such witheringly devastating wit (erm...obviously) that it has stuck as his unofficial nickname, even though he has long since exorcised it from his canon of personal clichés. However, Jamie is not an orator, nor does he glory in language, nor in originality of thought, so inevitably most of his work is a string of well-worn expressions and comments strung together with as few conjunctives as possible.


Why does he get gigs?
The yoof vote, maybe, as mentioned above. We're sure he's very personable and nice to have around the place. Reliable too. This must count for a lot because if you're shut up in a TV studio for five hours looking at a TV screen, it'd get wearing if everyone was like, say, Geoff Boycott (though much better TV viewing, obviously) Those awful soft focus ads he did with Louise for whatever holiday company it was suggest he's seen as appealing to the surely ever-shrinking demographic who just can't book their own flights and hotels and inexplicably prefer to have someone in a cramped, over-heated office do it for them while wearing a red polyester jacket like it's still 1985. Are these also his TV fans? We don't know but ten years man, ten years. It's a long time.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Check out John's new series of crime novels about a football fan, set in Middlesbrough, are here.

You can also follow Alan and Johnny on Twitter.

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

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Champions League: Emergency keeper sends Ludogorets through to group stage

Emergency keeper Cosmin Moti saved two penalties as Bulgarians Ludogorets Razgrad made the Champions League group stage.

Arsene Wenger confirms injured Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will be out until New Year

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is unlikely to play again this year after having surgery on his injured ankle.

Villa and QPR shocked, Leeds lose

Aston Villa were shocked 1-0 at home by Leyton Orient in the Capital One Cup second round, while QPR lost at Burton and Bradford beat Leeds.

Mail Box

Should Kagawa Play Ahead Of Mata?

That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...

Well, This Isn't Going That Well Is It?

Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property