Joe’s Crow Country

I SEEM to have gone full circle with football pundits.

There was a time when I would be interested in what they had to say. I was a younger man, and wanted to learn more about the game. But after a few years of Alan Hansen saying “diabolical,” or “two banks of four,” I got to the point where I hit fast forward between games on Match of the Day.

Now, as I have become more knowledgeable, I like to listen again. But only because its become fun to scrutinise their lame attempts at analysis. The quality of football punditry has hit an all time low, and something has to be done about it.

Journalists have started speaking out against the likes of Shearer and Redknapp, but so far their objections have come in the form of commenting on Twitter, or podcasts and publications with a cult following.

In one of the most high-profile articles to berate the situation, The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel called Match of the Day a “golf and social club,” for those involved, and stated that “nobody on the show is challenged, and this breeds complacency.”

He is correct. Shearer seems happy to turn up, tell people what they already know, and banter with his mates for a few hours.

Hansen has been churning out the same catch-phrases for a long time, and therefore diluting their meaning. Lawrenson tries to play the joker, but lines like “who needs a V6 when you’ve got a 2 Lita” (about striker Leroy Lita), are neither funny nor shrewd.

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Shearer admitted during the World Cup that he didn’t know anything about Slovenia or Algeria, England’s opponents in a group games. On Match of the Day last week, he admitted “no one knows a lot about him,” when talking about his beloved Newcastle’s new signing Hatem Ben Arfa. This is the same player who has eight caps for France, once commanded a �10million transfer fee, and is considered a prestigious talent.

His most recent mistake was more factual. He called Manchester City’s David Silva, David Villa, several times, despite them playing in different nations. Once is a slip of the tongue. Persistent offending is lack of knowledge.

I appreciate that punditry can be difficult, but there is no excuse for not doing research or not knowing the names of players.

It would be refreshing to hear someone with a genuine and precise knowledge of world football, whether they are a former player or a journalist.

Otherwise football fans will continue to listen to the same old inaccurate dross.

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