Le Gazza de nos jours

You may remember that some years ago ITV decided to spice up theit football coverage by employing Gazza, former footballer.  When transplanted to the studio Gazza was awful – incomprehensible; uncontrollable; and hence, promptly dispatched to a roving reporter role (which diminished in size and importance as the tournament progressed).  Those who had heard Gazza interviewed previously were not surprised by this.

Snooker has a long tradition of former players behind the mic.  John Pulman (former ITV commentator); Ray Edmonds; John Virgo; Clive Everton et al – all were decent former pros (in Pulman’s case an exceptionally good player at a time when snooker was fairly unpopular).  Currently former world champions Terry Griffiths (top coach and author of a how to play snooker book that actually taught the reader something); Steve Davis; Dennis Taylor; and John Parrott all now take their places in the commentary box or analyst suite.  To this group the Beeb are adding Jimmy White.  Those that have heard “the people’s champion” (the Princess Diana of the snooker world) interviewed will realise that this is a big mistake.  But car crash television has its own merits, so Jimmy’s introduction to the analysts’ box on Saturday will be compelling, although I suspect not in the manner the Beeb anticipate.

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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17 Responses to Le Gazza de nos jours

  1. John Spencer, cluttering up the commentary box with his dodgy sinuses after he’d been knocked out of tournaments…. Willie Thorne, only doing the gig to pay his gambling debts…. 😉
    I find Terry Griffiths’ commentary as impenetrably dull as his snooker. For years my nightmare was Thorburn/Griffiths matches. The heights of positional play those two guys could reach were magnificent, and they brought out the inactivity in each other!
    It could be worse than the Whirlwind though. Ronnie O’Sullivan in the box?

    • There was a huge irony when various commentators were co-commentating with Everton, who was writing damning articles in snooker journals and the Guardian, while his co-commentator was on the committee he was criticising. Everton views it from a journalistic perspective, the others are there to chat about their mates.
      Virgo infuriates me most. Thorne can occasionally offer a perceptive observation on positional play, Virgo adds little value, and my favourite observation from Dennis Taylor is his “and what a knowledgeable Crucible [insert other venue as appropriate] crowd” when they work out that snookers are required an applaud a simple pot – which is not a high degree of knowledge only simple arithmetic.

    • And another thing – on Ronnie I am castigated by Mrs landg for repeating at every tournament, “His dad’s a murderer” – which may be true but is tedious on the umpteenth listen.

  2. Cricket commentary on televison is crammed with idiot ex-players. The radio commentary is a lot better (especially if you incude the Aggers & Marks Slashy Subtext Snigger About Fadge Hour)

    • shaz_rte says:

      Agnew and Marks slash? Erk! I thought I’d heard it all :O)
      Rugby’s probably fared best out of the sports, where a number of the ex-players, such as Eddie Butler, actually have a brain and can write/commentate.
      Clearly I exempt Jeremy Guscott from that category!

      • I view rugby as the work of the followers of the left-handed path – after traumatic experiences at school, and avoid as much of its coverage on telly, radio, and papers as possible – with an honourable exception for Ian Robertson’s reports on Five Live. 😉

        • shaz_rte says:

          I used to be a rugby writer :O) Robertson’s a sound bloke. Rugby generally is well-served by its journalists, with the possible exception of whichever token dizzy blonde the Beeb is employing this year . . .!

          • JIll DOuglas isn’t bad. She used to work on Border TV doing sports reports and comes from a “rugby background” (as they say in the south east of Scotland). I feel sorry for her with the cycling though. I suspect it’s not her or the Beeb’s main interest – despite the fact that it’s probably our most successful sport at the moment and warrants rather more serious coverage than the red button extravaganza we occasionally get from velodromes around the world.

          • shaz_rte says:

            Yes, she appears to know what she’s talking about! The Beeb (and other channels) have in the past been guilty of employing female reporters for their looks and not their knowledge. Worst by far was Beverley Turner. I recently read a book of hers, and she whined about how no one had taken her seriously — and then admitted in the next breath that she’d told everyone how she didn’t know anything about motor racing.
            I can vouch from personal experience that you have to prove you know twice as much as the blokes before you get taken seriously. The coverage of Jacqui Oatley’s Match of the Day debut shows not much has changed in the 15 years since I started.
            The cycling coverage is dire — Hugh Porter knows his stuff, but drones a bit. It’s about the only sport the BBC hasn’t lost ;O)

      • I didn’t mean literal slash, just they keep making flirty remarks at each other 😀 Last Week Aggers was trying to get Vic to swinm naked in the paddling pool behind one of the stands. I think they’re doing it on purpose, especially Marks. He has a very sly voice.

  3. shaz_rte says:

    Hah! You’ve clearly sat in on one of the lectures I give in my Sports Journalism module, which talks about the trend towards former players moving into journalism. Nothing, but nothing, can be worse, though, than Sally Gunnell, laughingly described by the Beeb, as a journalist.
    I still have nightmares at the thought of her ‘interview’ (using the term very loosely) with Kelly Holmes after one of the big championships (might have been the world) where Holmes accused those who finished ahead of her of taking drugs. Gunnell giggled inanely and made some bland comment to round off the interview. When the Beeb later dispensed with her services, she whined about how she’d been hung out to dry and hadn’t received adequate training. Oh, right, I’ll be applying for a job as a brain surgeon on Monday. I’ll need training from scratch, though!

    • The Gunnell interview with Holms was outrageous. A potentially huge story under her nose and she missed it. I couldn’t see Michael Johnston missing that sort of thing.
      Of course the presence of Phil Yates (is that the chap?) now irritates the British team to such an extent that they by-pass him. Probing questions of the sort that people at home are asking, and much kudos to the guy for puffing away on his fag as the athletes compete and he is oblivious to the Beeb cameras on him.

      • shaz_rte says:

        Michael Johnson’s a bright bloke and a good summariser — and that’s the key thing. Asking former sports people to comment on what they see is just about OK. It’s passing them off as journalists and commentators that infuriates the grumpy old hack in me.
        And the main problem, as evidenced by Gunnell and Colin Jackson, is that they’re too close to their old team-mates and won’t ask any question that might upset someone.
        I shall now descend from my soapbox!

  4. Can I please say that I just almost snorted irn bru out my nose thinking about Gazza – I had forgotten how bad he was!! Utterly incomprehensible is the description!!
    I remember, even at my tender age, asking “dad, what is gazza saying?” – the reply to which was “i dunno son, i dunno”
    He’s even worse than john barnes who intersperses his breakneck speed analysis and comments with ill-placed and timed racial rants.
    I remember watching him and paul ince doing a piece where they complained that no black managers got given top football managerial jobs in the UK. I remember agreeing with him. Then i remember thinking ‘wait a minute. he had perhaps thee biggest football job in UK at the time, and proceeded to royally screw it up!not even do a bit badly, he was horrendous!”
    I do feel a bit sorry for him after c5 banished him to the touchline during football matches. we now get colin murray’s rotten commentary.
    Speaking of john virgo, why is it when he says “where’s the cueball goin” or “oh dear, he’s put too much in that shot” the shot is invariably quality, and the cueball doesnt pot?

    • That comment was quality.
      Colin Murray is marginally better on Fighting Talk, but was shown up by the recent revival (for one week only of the original JOhnny Vaughn – who avoided the sexist gags and served up an entertaining hour based on sport and politics).

      • Colin Murray’s “ironic jokes” about women in sport are getting too much now, and he encourages the worst in his guests. It’s really gone downhill.

        • I completely agree. I’d quite like Eleanor Oldroyd or Jill DOuglas to tell him this.
          I never thought I’d pine for Dominik DIamond’s Sports Call but when Colin introduced the guy from Nuts magazine I thought that was it for Fighting Talk. I’ll keep an eye on the RSS feed and if Rawling and Bunce share a show or Kelner is on I’ll be listening (incidentally on women in sport did you see Kelner’s piece in the Guardian about Jacqui Oakley – it was very good, and apparently she’s a close personal friend of his having worked together in Radio Leeds).

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