Eye On The Experts: Alan Shearer

Great value on the golf course but not in the TV studio, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers wonder if Alan Shearer just serves as a source of comfort for the average viewer...

Last Updated: 04/12/13 at 19:29 Post Comment

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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. Second man up is BBC Match Of The Day big beast Alan Shearer...

Style
Famous for his line of elaborate shirts, but paired with sensible slacks to create the unsettling overall effect of a bloke who has made some serious money from his medium-sized regional sprocket factory, retired at 42 and now plans to enjoy himself a lot at the golf club. Receding hairline is a legend in its own right.


Special Interest
Strikers and the business of goalscoring. Almost always approves of forward players cheating (aka "being professional").


Strengths and Weaknesses
Seems to be living every thumping header and thunderous shot, has a genuine enthusiasm of seeing good, powerful, exciting football. Generous in praise of things that have impressed him, and shares the rank-and-file viewer's awe at moments of magic. On the downside, is not blessed with an engaging voice, and does not have the gift of being able to deconstruct exactly what a player has done and why and then convey it to the viewer. This leads to a situation where he's essentially going "Wow! That was amazing! I liked it when he did that amazing thing."


Tactical genius or tactics truck?
We feel that Alan has actually raised his game over the last year, perhaps fearing the same fate as Hansen, or perhaps his competitive juices have been stirred by the praise heaped upon Gary Neville. He's given some more insightful views on why things have happened as they have on the pitch but, not to be unkind, this is improvement from a very low base. Worst moment remains the remarkable assessment that "nobody really knows a great deal about Hatem Ben Arfa", as if the bloke had arrived under cover of night from Mars, rather than being a French international. Even if that was an outlier, Shearer rarely projects the air of a man who has done much in the way of homework, which we suspect he would regard as being for weeds and nerds.


Leg squeezer geezer?
Alan is very much of the class of ex-professional who obviously believes that if you haven't done it, you have no right to talk about it. See the Colin Murray situation. Given that he is now rarely called upon to discuss football with a non-entity non-player, this isn't too much of a problem.


Bantersaurus Rex?
It was always said of Wor Al that, despite the bland exterior, he had a great sense of humour and was fond of a practical joke. Thanks, but no thanks. We can imagine him being "brilliant value on the golf course", but then again, we're not on a golf course, are we? High levels of matey banter with fellow pros on the TV, again reinforcing the impression that you're hanging around on the edge of the playground watching the cool kids have fun.


Cliché counter
High. A serial offender on the "say-what-you-see" side of things and never knowingly misses an opportunity to tell the viewer if a player will be happy (kicked ball in goal) or sad (did not kick ball in goal).


Why does he get gigs?
It's easy to sit on the sofa slagging Match of the Day and bemoaning the level of analysis or broadcasting flair on offer. This column has done its fair share, God knows. And Football365 readers have, over the years, made it quite clear that they don't rate Shearer. But are we a minority? Consider this: it might be that the BBC football bosses are idiots and don't know a TV personality that their viewers want from one that their viewers don't. This seems implausible. Or might it be that the average football viewer is happy with what he gets from Shearer. Sure, Shearer doesn't know too much about the non-obvious players, and he can't really tell you why xyz happened. But then, nor can the average viewer, so they find him reassuring and familiar, one of us. Is that so terrible, really? He's doing the job that he's paid to do, and at the end of the day, obviously, he'll have to be pleased with that.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

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

Johnny's new crime novels are here.

You can also follow Alan and Johnny on Twitter.

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Readers' Comments

H

e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Synergy
Toure: I am staying with City

G

uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

ceeps
Toure: I am staying with City

D

amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

MCFC87
Toure: I am staying with City

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