Calmness Trumps Overexicted Shouting

4 05 2013

You can rely on moaning gets to hark back to the golden days but don’t worry, most of the time they are obviously talking rubbish. However when it comes to football coverage on TV the moaning gets may have a point.

From the technological angle one could argue that today’s coverage is much better; we have better cameras and more angles than they used to, matches are in high definition and our pundits use arrows and circles to explain their wonderful ideas. From the taste angle one could argue that the cacophony that now surrounds football makes football look and sound godawful.

Anyone that watches The Big Match Revisted on ITV4 would instantly notice the differences from thirty years ago; the players looked older, the kits looked better and the goalkeepers were gloveless. They would also notice that football  programmes were calmer.

On Tuesday morning’s repeat the main match was a Third Division match between Watford v Brentford – Third division football as the main match!!!, another charming difference between then and now – and even though the match was quite exciting – the final score was 3-3 – everything was described in a calm fashion. The first goal came from a Watford penalty and Brian Moore not only calmly supported the ref’s view, he described the penalty’s aftermath thus;

“1-0 Watford”

Throughout the commentary calmness was Moore’s hallmark;

…….“Smith!!! Getting in there!!!……….A goal of beautiful simplicity”……

 ……”It looks as if we have the making of a good match”……

……”So Watford who were 1-0 up, are now behind”……

……”And Blisset makes it 2-2!!! ……….. Even Watford look surprised the goal was given”…..

……”Phillips, a nice touch!!!………. Oh it wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be”……

……”So Steve Sims, not happy with it (the penalty) but that’s the linesman’s decision” ……

……”It’s there! 3-3!”…..

……”Anyone that was here can go home tonight and say they’ve had their money’s worth”…….

Thirty years ago there was no prolonged shouting or orgasmic explosions. Peter. Drury. Didn’t. Excitedly. Punctuate. Every. Word. In. Every. Sentence. To. Make. Everything. Sound. Like. A. Historic. Moment. Tyldesley’s pre-prepared lines and Townsend’s trademark verbal diarrhoea were absent. All we had was Brian Moore, Hugh Johns and Martin Tyler delivering calm measured commentaries whose only punctuation was a slight raising of the voice during exciting goalmouth incidents.

Every time I watch one of these repeats it’s a welcome relief from the hyperbolic formats we have to put up with; a single presenter, a single commentator, photos, or even humble words, used to explain what happened in matches they didn’t cover, no-one fished for controversy in the convivial interviews with managers. So-called important information nowadays –  results, the announcement of clubs being promoted, the continuation of long winning runs – was read out in passing after the match action.

Nowadays the critical ilk of Townsend, Keane and Shearer have hegemonic control of football punditry. Thirty years ago society didn’t need the sharp tongued criticism of personally offended ex-players, the nearest thing I heard to a criticism In Tuesday’s repeat was “Phillips, a nice touch!!! ……… Oh it wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be”.

In case you’re still unsure about this here’s a chance to judge for yourselves. Do you prefer this…..

…..or this load of bollocks?;

Would you rather have this….

….or this pile of shite?

My Dad really disliked Brian Moore. At first I thought that this was because we naturally mistrusted ITV in our house (we were a Radio Times family) but my Dad’s wasn’t motivated by anti-ITV prejudice on this matter, he simply felt that Moore had his favourites. The line; “Here he goes again……… “Winterbuurrn!!!!!!!!!!!”” has remained with me since the early 1990s.

My Dad’s  attitude influenced me to mistrust Brain Moore, although my prejudice was more based on our family’s anti-ITV prejudice. Watching the Big Match Revisited has convinced me that I was a little too hasty. Today’s commentators are less and Moore is more.



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