Johnny & Al's Olympic Football On TV

Our telly boys don't like to be told when and how to be excited, but they did enjoy the BBC's coverage of the Olympic football. When, until the men arrived that is...

Last Updated: 27/07/12 at 13:39 Post Comment

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One of our pet hates is being told how to feel about things by any form of media. We get especially grumpy about being told how to feel in advance of the events actually happening.

You can't and shouldn't prescribe emotional responses to your artwork, be it a painting, a plate of food, a spectacle or a TV show. It's arrogant and smacks of insecurity. When a programme is puffed up in advance as being "very moving" we find ourselves shouting "we'll be the judge of that, thank you very much."

At the moment we're under attack from the BBC telling us - no, instructing us - to be excited about the Olympics because the BBC is a bit excited. Or maybe even a bit worried - they've lashed a lot of cash on it, after all.

"Don't miss a minute," they keep chanting at us, like it's a mantra designed for us to surrender our ego and free our soul.

Well we may well will miss a minute. Perhaps even a lot more than a minute. How d'ya like them apples?

We expect to avoid whole days of the Olympics, despite the BBC inventing a live interactive video player to keep us up to date and informed. The dirty secret amongst all the hype is that some of it will be very boring to a lot of people.

However, the Olympics is being sold to us as a form of excitement somewhere near to being on brown acid at Woodstock while watching The Who play excerpts from Tommy as the sun rises. But the reality is that a lot of those Olympic hours will actually be some bloke shooting arrows at a target or a posh bloke in a dinghy or a lass dancing around a gym mat holding a long tape.

Now we like seeing a lady straddle a pommel horse as much as the next pervert but we won't pretend that the next 16 days are going to be anything more than intermittently gripping. This is not to diss the Olympics, but more to pour a bit of cold water on the hyperbole which the BBC is winding up. Nothing could live up to the promise of their prolonged sporting orgasm.

Anyhow, and pleasingly, the games kicked off with women's football.

We make no bones about this; we like women's football (at international level especially) and we enjoyed the opening game of GB v NZ.

There was Gabby Logan - brisk, professional, likeable - fronting up the programme. On the sofa alongside were pundits, international players Faye White and Sue Smith. The former looked like a sensible sort who might sell you a personal loan at the Halifax, the latter like Judy Jetson on mescaline, sporting a 1950s futuristic hair cut and looking like a space-age bobby-soxer. Excellent. We sat up straight and pointed at the TV, mouths agape. This doesn't happen when Alan Shearer is on... or at least not in a good way.

To be honest, it's just refreshing to see someone different on the football TV, not the same old golf club smuggins. And all three did the job well. Why can't we have them casting an eye over the men's football? "Because they're women" is just not a good enough excuse any more.

We noted that the ref in the women's game wore unnecessarily gothic thick black eyeliner and we think this would be a good look for Mark Clattenburg. The football was decent - a pretty scrappy game but a reasonable start for the home team. Unlike the Honduras v Morocco game the next day, there wasn't any distinctly un-Olympic rolling around and feigning injury. Nor was there Stuart Pearce informing us that "football is football...if I'm being honest" and making us sink to our knees in despair at the inanity. What dross must they have edited out in favour of this low-rent drivel?

That despair is multiplied when Mark Lawrenson appears. He has the look of a bin man who has been stung by one too many wasps. Sadness follows him like a dog follows a butcher on a bicycle.

For the Senegal big one, Gary Lineker had Alan Hansen and Robbie Savage with him. They were at least pleasingly enthusiastic with the Scotsman commenting that Big Micah had clearly eaten all the pies. Savage's hair and tighty whitey jeans are distracting, but not in a good way. We feel the Welshman needs a make-over to turn him into a 50s sci-fi cartoon character and are very much hoping that Sue Smith can take him under her wing.

Garth Crooks turned up. He increasingly looks like he might be melting. He did his thang; little stream of consciousness word collages that might be profoundly philosophical or might have been cut out at random from a media information pack in the loo beforehand.

This whole GB business - by the way, we hate the term TeamGB (no gaps). For a start, it is a tautology; there is no opportunity to play football for GB solo. Team is a given. It's not necessary to state it. Brazil are not TeamBrazil, in fact, no other side is a Team.

We've heard it explained that the TeamGB thing was done to please advertisers because it's easier to fit into headlines, packaging etc than Great Britain Olympic Team. Anyone who has watched the torch go by, preceded by its trucks of Lloyds TSB, Coke and Samsung, will be familiar with the queasy sense of corporate intrusion on the whole sporting shebang. Or perhaps the football side are TeamGB, not just GB, to remind us all that we are all in it together. Either way, we wish they would dial it down just a little bit.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

Alan's book is called 'Gin And Juice: The Victorian Guide To Parenting' and you can check it out here.

And read John's book, 'The Meat Fix.'

Follow Alan on Twitter here or Johnny here.

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