Have Games Been Upped In The Media?

Aside from the notable exceptions of the ones you already know about, the TV and radio coverage of Euro 2012 has been rather good. Are Johnny and Al going soft?

Last Updated: 21/06/12 at 14:28 Post Comment

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

As we move into the latter stages of a tournament, for us, there is always a sense of melancholy. The early days when all was still possible and two games a day were on telly. A distant memory of a better time. Now, we have one a day and next week, not even that. It's all over too soon. We know when it comes to football some believe in quality over quantity however, we believe this is madness. More football is always better.

The same cannot always be said of football pundits though. The proliferation of punditry rarely adds to our enjoyment because one good pundit is really all we need but instead we are usually presented with three or more, often wearing unpleasant trousers in some fashion-massacring formation.

We've watched and listened to them all. Not a minute has been missed. So who have been our star performers so far?

On the BBC Lee Dixon performs consistently well and he gets our first gong. He can do tactics as well as anyone, especially on defending. If the BBC knew what they were doing, he could be their Gary Neville. But too often he has to share time with less interesting people and thus does not get a chance to be more expansive. He has the command and the common touch. In fact, we often feel as though he would actually like more to be demanded on him. He's an unusual football media type is Lee. Plain and somewhat unassuming and not especially alpha-male, he isn't yer typical sofa-based, legs apart, thigh squeezing ex-pro. This is probably why we've been enjoying his work.

ITV, always hampered by the on-rushing ad breaks, have had the greatest breadth of football characters on their sofa but rarely have enough time to use them all properly before the f*****g meerkat is back in our faces. We don't even know what the f*****g meerkat is selling, in fact, we're very confused about this whole f*****g meerkat bollix but we do know we want it to f**k right off.

This, we imagine, is pretty similar to what Roy Keane might say about almost everyone and everything in football and also about the f*****g meerkat. It is impossible not to enjoy his scowling presence on TV just as Gordon Strachan can also lighten a dull game, but it is Roberto Martinez who picks up our ITV pundit gong. He is an interesting position as both an insider - as a Premier League manager - and an outsider, as a foreigner. He hasn't always gone down the default routes - for example, he suggested Rooney should start on the bench in order to be inclusive and to protect a winning team spirit. The fact he conducts his business in fluent, sharp and expressive English only adds to his impressiveness. His has been a creative and pleasingly unusual inclusion.

Over on the radio, 5live have had the always enjoyable Waddler who seems genuinely confused as to how and why England have progressed despite being a bit rubbish at football. David Pleat is also often on hand like some old musical hall character. Many others come and go but it is over on Talksport where we are awarding our third pundit gong. It goes to Stan Collymore who isn't just a pundit, he's a co-commentator and a presenter all rolled into one, and he'd probably do a bit of tap-dancing while making an origami depiction of the female reproduction organs too if you asked him.

Stan's greatest asset is an almost limitless amount of energy combined by an ability to combine passion with analysis. In short, he works damn hard and it really shows. His research is comprehensive, so he'll know who plays for which club, his goals record in Europe this season and he'll top it off with his own opinion of the players' qualities and weaknesses. He does this pre-game, post-game and during the game. He's a football media machine that puts some other less committed and motivated participants to shame. Indeed, we have often felt he is palpably trying to show some others in his profession up. He's a massive asset to the hugely improved football coverage on Talksport and has rapidly become an important and hugely enjoyable force.

Overall, with the obvious exceptions of whom we're all aware, the quality of coverage on all outlets has been rather enjoyable and our carpet has remained largely unbitten. Are we mellowing, is our medicine just stronger these days, or have games been raised in the TV studios and commentary boxes?

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.

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Most Commented

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

Footer 365

Premier League: Manchester United's Juan Mata backs Louis van Gaal's winning mentality

Juan Mata has hailed Louis van Gaal and believes that the Dutchman will bring a winning mentality to Manchester United.

Transfer news: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger prepared to take gamble on Calum Chambers

Arsene Wenger admits signing Calum Chambers from Southampton is somewhat of a gamble, but one he believes will pay off.

Friendly: Raheem Sterling earns Liverpool 1-0 pre-season win over Olympiakos in Chicago

Raheem Sterling scored a lone early goal as Liverpool beat Olympiakos 1-0 in Chicago in the International Champions Cup.

Mail Box

Reasons To Believe That Van Gaal Will Be The Best

Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...

Are Pre-Season Tours Really A Problem?

Are pre-season tours really a problem? Liverpool went to Australia last summer and it didn't prevent them from having a good season. Plus, thoughts on LvG and keepers...

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