World Cup 2010: Why It’s Time To Reinvent Televised Football

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

You may also like...

15 Responses

  1. mintox says:

    I don’t live in the UK however on four occasions during this world cup I got my hands on a broadcast of the games from ITV and BBC and it was frankly appalling.

    It seemed to me that the producers were just going through the motions knowing that people would tune in regardless and that rather than challenge the viewers to think about what was going on, they were happy to put famous faces on the screen to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    It was in stark contrast to what we get here in Australia, a football market that because of the standing of the game here has to work hard on what they present to the public. The SBS channel were yet again exceptional as they have been since Mexico 1986.

    Each and every presenter, analyst and pundit is intelligent, experienced and the teams are of a diverse background that gives the viewer many differing views on the games and style of the teams.

    They are either former Australian players who have gone onto coaching or have played at some of the best teams in the world such as Lazio, Fiorentina, AC Milan, or they are football fans that have an intelligent view on the game.

    They are led by Les Murray who has been the face of football in Australia since the 70s and is a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

    Most importantly though, is that the backgrounds and experiences of the pundits, presenters, analysts and commentators are extremely diverse.

    We have everything from German, Italian, Croatian, Hungarian, Syrian, Lebanese Australian and English heritages, which is only right considering the multi-cultural background of the people who make up our society.

    It’s a shame then that the only differing cultures represented on the English coverage was that by people actually from other countries.

  2. Tim Vickerman says:

    But I wonder how many of those 20 million who tuned in really want a deep tactical analysis of the line-ups. The vast majority of the audience, especially for World Cup games, are people with only a passing interest. I have long since given up on listening to the punditry on live games and often skip it on highlights shows as there is little chance of gaining any new insight.

    I don’t know if it’s available as I don’t live in the UK at the moment, but I think an option to mute the commentary and just have the stadium noise should be a standard option on all digital games.

  3. admin says:

    It used to be an option on the red button, Tim, but it isn’t any more (it was replaced by the option to listen to radio commentary). As I said, I don’t necessarily think that deep tactical analysis is the answer, but I do believe that if they are going to analyse, they need to get it right. The level of surprise at England being so comprehensively undone by Germany was one very good example of the entire World Cup panel being amazed by something that had seemed likely to happen, umm, happening.

  4. Cuccir says:

    One thing that radio 5 do is split the match between commentators. I presume this is because the job is much more intense as they have to actually describe the action for listeners who can’t see it. Nevertheless, perhaps splitting between two commentators – a half of a half each – might freshen up the experience. It would give each commentator time to actually watch the game, without the pressure of description, and would avoid the tedious repetition of errors made by one for the entire match.

  5. ejh says:

    both broadcasters are more or less incapable of even putting up a veneer of impartiality

    However bad it may be in the UK, it is worse in Spain. One particular example came not during the World Cup, but at the end of the Europa League (ugh) final when the commentators actually sang the Atlético Madrid club song.

    Spanish TV and radio commentary generally aims to cultivate stupidity. I do not exaggerate. One symptom of this is the ¡¡¡¡Gooollll!!! style, in which any goal has to be shrieked about even if it actually went in thirty seconds beforehand, during an ad break. There are also, of course, sidekicks, whose role it is to join in.

    In a bar a couple of nights ago, I was watching Gol TV showing Iniesta’s winner over and again, with recordings of all the commentaries from different radio stations. Did I say “different”? No. In each instance there was a prolonged – very prolonged – shriek of ¡¡¡¡Goooollll!!!! in which all the sidekicks participated, one going so far as to sing the word “gol” repeatedly to the tune of the national anthem. This was, as I said, radio
    commentary. You think listeners might like to know how the goal had been scored, un pocito de descripción? They’ll be lucky.

    I personally think this derives from the inherent stupidity of the Barca v Real culture in which everything is attributed to officals at all levels favouring the party to which one does not adhere. But whatever it is, intelligence in football culture is pretty thin on the ground here, and it certainly doesn’t show its face, or indeed its voice, very much in commentary.

  6. Martin says:

    Danny Baker has always been class, but it helps that he’s actually a football fan to start with.

    I’d infinitely prefer the option of “no commentary” or just match/stadium sound to the increasingly irrelevant and occassionally soul-destroying banality of the likes of Tyldesley.

    Offering the choice of Chris Moyles (FFS!) just makes it worse!

  7. Martin says:

    ejh, I wouldn’t mind if our presentation and commentary was that awful if we had won the World Cup like Spain :)

  8. John (Hendon) says:

    The baffling thing where BBC’s football coverage (particularly on TV) is concerned is that watching their broadcast of almost any other sport almost becomes an education as you watch – I love hearing what Michael Johnson has to say during their Athletics coverage, John McEnroe is extremely insightful during Wimbledon fortnight (almost makes Tennis watchable). The only exceptions during the entire TV coverage of the World Cups on either side were Jurgen Klinsmann, Roy Hodgson and when he wasn’t drawn into the Shearer / Hanson festival of banality, Clarence Seedorf. 3 men whose football knowledge goes far beyond the Premier League. I’d much rather have watched Chris Waddle ranting with a bit of passion post match after England’s defeat against Germany than Shearer and Dixon coming up with opinions less insightful than my 2 year old daughter.

    At work I had to stream RTE’s coverage of the tournament due to server issues, but the difference between the Graeme Souness on there and the Graeme Souness who appears on Sky is vast. Quite what the answer is I don’t know, but there is more chance of me walking to the moon than watching any football live on British TV before the European Championships.

  9. Scott Baikie says:

    Its a pity current Scotland and ex-Dundee United manager Craig Levien turned down the offer of being a BBC pundit because he is excellent when he is a pundit on BBC Scotland. Very insightful, tactical knowledge of both teams and willing to speak his mind and not just go along with Hansen et al. There was one point where Clarence Seedorf contradicted what Alan Hansen had said and Hansen verbally slapped him down for having the temerity to disagree with his all-knowing opinion. Personally I would have told him to fuck off either on or off camera (I seem to remember Gary Liniker bringing the show to a very shap ending after Hansen’s little hissy fit). As for ITV, don’t get me started. Gareth Southgate for me is the best one and is clearly a gentleman, but Andy Townsend is hopeless and Marcel Desailly is on another planet. I remember during half time in the Euro 2008 final him saying that Spain had got their tactics all wrong and that Germany would be happy with what was going on. This was after 45 minutes of keep ball by the Spanish where they had created chance after chance and looked like they could rip the Germans apart at will particularly with a fit Torres in the mood unlike in the World Cup.

  10. Scott Baikie says:

    Its a pity current Scotland and ex-Dundee United manager Craig Levien turned down the offer of being a BBC pundit because he is excellent when he is a pundit on BBC Scotland. Very insightful, tactical knowledge of both teams and willing to speak his mind and not just go along with Hansen et al. There was one point where Clarence Seedorf contradicted what Alan Hansen had said and Hansen verbally slapped him down for having the temerity to disagree with his all-knowing opinion. Personally I would have told him to fcuk off either on or off camera (I seem to remember Gary Liniker bringing the show to a very sharp ending after Hansen’s little hissy fit). As for ITV, don’t get me started. Gareth Southgate for me is the best one and is clearly a gentleman, but Andy Townsend is hopeless and Marcel Desailly is on another planet. I remember during half time in the Euro 2008 final him saying that Spain had got their tactics all wrong and that Germany would be happy with what was going on. This was after 45 minutes of keep ball by the Spanish where they had created chance after chance and looked like they could rip the Germans apart at will particularly with a fit Torres in the mood unlike in the World Cup.

  11. Joe says:

    I agree that we should have a red button option to mute the commentary but would we really want to listen to the constant vuvuzela whine? Although on second thoughts it might be better than the commentary!

  12. Jamie says:

    An interesting stab at change but sadly you don’t actually call out for any real tangible examples of what you’d like changed. Come on, let loose a little….

    For what it’s worth I agree that BBC / MoTD formula has become very tired. Time for Linker et al to be put out to pasture. I’d then go for the “fan” approach that has made the likes of Danny Baker, Adrian Chiles, Frank Skinner so popular down the years. They ask the questions that we fans would ask and in the main with no real fear of incrimination should they choose to criticise Lampard, Rooney etc. You always feel that Gary Lineker is only a TV advert away from meeting this players and that as a result he holds back on what really should be said.

    I’d then look to utlise experts (those in the game) that can add real insight. I liken this to the excellent range of articles in the Guardian that David Pleat writes (or ghost writes). He explains things that as an average fan I cannot see, or that my lack of experience can’t fathom. That’s what I crave at half time.

    I’d also encourage the pundits (however many there are) to be openly controversial if merited. Look at the lively debates you get on the Irish station from time to time.

    Lose the co-commentator and instead allow the commentator of coice to occasionally go back to the studio for comments or insight from the panel. Let’s hear in real time, albeit in short soundbites, what their opinions are.

    I’m not going to go into how we could utilise social media tools (here today, gone tomorrow in some cases), but I’ve really enjoyed watching Question Time of late and also following the debate on twitter at the same time. BBC/ITV could look at those as optional extras.

    Oh and I’d get rid of Alan Green and insist that 606 be run by Baker and Kelly for the foreseeable future.

  13. I think the point about the broad audience is a good one. Football on TV is watched by so many people that Hansen, Townsend and Shearer may well have been shackled for years with a direct remit that they shouldn’t be too technical due to the broad range of viewers. It’s a fanciful notion but I’ve got to cling to it for my own sanity, even if it doesn’t explain the odd appearance to the contrary (O’Neill, Hodgson, etc.) Regardless, nothing excuses the shocking lack of preparation they displayed at times.

    Some good suggestions above – I’d particularly like to see a culling of the cult of the co-commentator. Some games should be billed in the TV listings as “featuring a 90 minute stream-of-consciousness monologue by Mark Bright”. Before the World Cup I rented DVDs of the 70, 74, 78 and 82 finals, and it was truly refreshing to hear the co-commentators about half a dozen times in the entire match.

    The fact Alan Shearer accused Danny Baker of being drunk, simply because he actually had an opinion or two, spoke volumes.

  14. Ben says:

    Agree with most of your points. One can only hope Newcastle start the season abysmally, Hughton gets booted out and Shearer returns to the only corner of the country which thinks he still has something to offer…

  1. January 14, 2011

    […] Cynical challenge fannst bresku þulirnir slakir og Two Hundred Percent hakkar þá í sig líka og vill líka breytingar á fótbolta í sjónvarpi […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>