John Nicholson’s attention focuses on Owen Hargreaves, the Geography supply teacher of the punditry world. Can you remember anything he said? Does he exist?
Unstructured jackets worn with soft shirts and nicely conditioned floppy hair. Not builder-at-a-wedding unfashionable, nor zany-party-fun-guy high-end tailoring. Colours are sober and largely neutral. Almost certainly owns deck shoes and probably irons his jeans.
Hargreaves’ clothes are designed to exude a sensitive sort of classiness. Often has a ruffled, unshaven look that could hint at a little bit of Mr D’Arcyishness, especially if wearing a wet frilly shirt which, sadly, is not requirement for a pundit.
Favours a black roll neck in winter which gives him a hint of Man from Milk Tray or possibly a high-class cat burglar.
Possesses an accent which veers all over the place like a dog trying to run on ice. Vaguely Canadian with a hint of German and general Englishness gives him a slightly exotic flavour.
Can speak other languages but is never called upon to do so. Never indulges in a ‘boy done good’ but seems reluctant or unable to invent anything especially original. Always appears to be about to say something interesting but never really does.
Hits & Misses
Not much form in this regard. His work has been confined to BT Sport for whom he’s sat looking slightly worried and inhibited for a couple of years now.
In fact I’d challenge you to think of anything he’s ever said. You can’t, can you? It’s as though he is a silent mime act, which may also explain his occasional wearing of a black roll neck.
Big Club Bias
Doesn’t seem to be biased for or against anyone despite high-profile international career, possibly because he’s not actually very interested in football.
Doesn’t seem to get passionate and yet doesn’t have a cool, analytical remove either. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t actually exist.
Loved or loathed
Neither. He is more usually ignored. Hasn’t made enough of an impression on the public consciousness to stir any strong emotion. Very much the supply Geography teacher of the punditry world.
Proper Football Man
Oh dear me, no. Owen is excluded on almost every basis from the PFM institution. Too boyish, too middle-class, too foreign, too successful, too bilingual, too floppy-haired, too much of the organic broccoli and beansprouts about him.
Doesn’t seem a candidate for practical jokes nor for causal violence or off-colour jokes about underwear. Looks like a single vodka would send him to sleep. The sort of player who would have his Aqua Libra spiked with a high-intensity Absinthe by a devilish-looking Reidy and then pushed into a pram and abandoned to the elements on the East Lancs Road.
Couldn’t even be said to be a top, top player because, despite club and international career, he didn’t come up through the brutal lower leagues of English football and thus can never be top, top in the way a far worse indigenous man can be.
Owen is, in fact, everything the PFM hates. The fact that he looks like a mannequin in a Paul Smith shop and not like a painter and decorator from Burnage counts against him in a major way. The PFM thinks Owen has only got his media career due to political correctness gone mad. In fact, they probably think he’s a lesbian. And votes Green.
Beyond the Lighted Stage
No obvious form in this regard. It seems like Owen goes home and sits quietly in a room on his own. The more I think about it, the more I suspect he’s a hologram.