Fun

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Millwall, Chiles and Aguero ensure unedifying scenes all round, but let’s keep the One Direction boys out of it

It was a weekend of football in which the seamier, more ugly side of the game sprang forth. A dispiriting reminder of a time we’d hoped had passed; a nightmarish collage of unedifying horror and depressing folly. Yep, Adrian Chiles was fronting the FA Cup again. Obviously, the game on Saturd...

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Tuesday, 09 April 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Di Canio attempts to form his first impression while West Ham’s Brady dispels hers

Fascist, egotistical, divisive, authoritarian, plain bonkers; these words are ringing around all our ears right now thanks to a recent media storm it’s been impossible to escape from. No, not the death of a former Prime Minister yesterday, although I can see why you’d think that. Instead it i...

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Tuesday, 02 April 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Sunderland swap experience for explosive as all eyes focus on Wearside

On the day the new bombastic series of Doctor Who crash landed on to the screens of the BBC, there was the cataclysmic beginnings of a regeneration of a different kind in the otherworldly realms of the North East. That’s right, Martin O’Neill, football’s very own wide-eyed madcap enigma was u...

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Gazza’s running out of chances while England run riot in San Marino

Let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of guff on TV isn’t there? In the ever-burgeoning crevasse of broadcasting channels, the sheer volume of half-baked tripe and lightweight, hollowed-out husks of regurgitated twaddle leaves the average viewer starved of visual stimulation and viewing conten...

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Munich is top of United’s problems but Nani ain’t one

Last week saw a big few days for Manchester United. Prodigal son and spray tan admirer Cristiano Ronaldo sauntered back into town with the same cocksure swagger and over-preened sense of self-worth he left with four years ago, and along with his slightly misfiring team broke the hearts of his...

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Tuesday, 05 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Comical Colin losing his seat could mean Match Of The Day 2 losing much much more

It could be argued that watching football on television has become a full-time endeavour. Well obviously for me it is because each week I force my rambling and churlish thoughts on the subject on to your computer screens in a senseless demonstration of puerile envy. But for all of us now, it ...

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A lack of fanfare for the Final but Swansea make worthy champions nevertheless

There was a time in football, about six or seven years ago when it all became a bit tedious. Mourinho’s Chelsea and Fergie’s United were so far ahead of everybody else that those two goliaths monopolised the English game completely. It seemed as though every piece of silverware was theirs to ...

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Schmeichel talks us through United’s trip to Madrid while Piers talks down to Owen

For me this past weekend’s football was filled to the brim with acute annoyances and irksome irritations. To start with it was FA Cup Fifth Round and all the best games were on ESPN, and as I’m still too cheap to upgrade it means I had to go without. On top of that, my beloved Leicester didn’...

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Tuesday, 05 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Deadline Day drama as Simon gets angry and Peter gets lost

The more attentive among you might have noticed we endured the annual manic torture–fest that is Christmas recently, indeed you may still be recovering from it’s stress-pounding effects even now. Probably the most excruciating facet of the festive period, aside from having to spend uncomforta...

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Not-so-safety Hazard means the game’s integrity takes another kicking

There just aren’t enough programmes on TV that include adults kicking children are there? Since the good old days of exploitation and corporal punishment were deemed “unacceptable”, we’ve slowly evolved into a culture in which little toe rags run around doing whatever the hell they please. Sm...

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A boring birthday for the FA as the stars fail to shine

For most people, an evening out at the local pub will be a largely stress-free excursion filled with raucous banter, sorrowful introspection and a touch of casual xenophobia. Nights out in this great country have followed that tight format for hundreds of years, never wavering in the face of adver...

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A weekend of woe for Walters as the BBC put him centre stage

Do you remember the glory days of Saturday night TV? That wistful time before Simon Cowell was given the keys to the kingdom and filled the weekend evenings with a symphony of garish fairy lights, screeching teenagers and Louis Walsh. Things were so much simpler before: you knew where you we...

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Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Big Sam Hammers home his credentials as the FA Cup heralds Joe’s return

“On CV, who is there to beat me?” was the question. “Sir Alex?” came the reply. “Arsene; perhaps Rafa?” Not the bullish claims of Mourinho as you might expect. Not the mad rantings of Neil Warnock either. No these were the lofty claims of Mike Bassett… erm, sorry Sam Allardyce on Saturday ev...

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Love or hate him, 'Mourinho' shows Jose really is the Special One

There are times in this cruel cruel world of ours when desperate sad acts like myself look up to the heavens mournfully, unleash a shriek of despair before dropping our heads to the ground and mumbling incoherently about life being terribly unfair. In my case, it’s usually something to do wi...

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Tuesday, 04 December 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Adrian Chiles and The FA Cup try, and ultimately fail to make the Wimbledons common

We are taught from a very young age that all things essentially fall into one of two categories; good or bad; right or wrong; noble or evil; Gary Lineker or Joey Barton. Except the subtleties, the shades of grey that only creep into our ethics as adulthood tightens its relentless grip, prove...

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Michael Owen ensures we’ll remember, remember the fright of Movember

When the wise Jedi minds of future generations look back at the metrosexual, iPad-obsessed, self-serving era we currently reside in, they will quite rightly grimace and ask just what the hell we accomplished. We allowed Piers Morgan to prosper when he really shouldn’t have; we created and fo...

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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: No room for confusion as Edgar Davids reminds us all who he is

You know, as we loiter in this age of decadent, endemic wholesale filth; a world preoccupied with the selfish needs of the few; a world in which sex, violence and sleaze are championed more than love, peace and honesty; a world teetering on the edge, tipping ever closer to a mass orgy of self-serv...

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Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A feelgood Focus for Muamba is the highlight of the BBC’s wonky weekend of football

As ever it was a big weekend in the Barclays Premier League. This after another extraordinary week in football with those League Cup games ending in rugby scores, referees accused of all kinds of ungodly crimes, Andrey Arshavin actually being of some use, and even Ashley Cole managing to go ...

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A shortfall of laughs as Redknapp, Corden and co play the fools

In these bleak, recession-hit days of austerity and hardship, we are all frantically searching for ways to forget our woes and feel a little better about things. Often, we look towards our local footballing heroes for an escape, but even that’s turning sour right now. A game seemingly awash ...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Bad luck stories abound as the Scots take on Wales in a clash of the misfiring

It’s a universal truth that some people are just plain unlucky. These desperate souls, through no real fault of their own, just get a rough deal in this bad ol’ world and spend their days enduring an avalanche of ungodly misfortune and rudimentary shite. And don’t suffer the misapprehension that t...

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Tuesday, 09 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: The headline acts of El Clasico put on one hell of a show

Here’s one for you. On the eve of each new football campaign, which match whets the appetite most? Liverpool vs United? Spurs against Arsenal? The Steel City derby? Personally for me, it’s the prospect of any match in which Mario Balotelli will come up against anybody as deranged as he; Craig Bell...

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Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Sky soothe the Monday blues with a long weekend of football action

There was a time once when Monday was a day set aside for nothing but despair. Perhaps a day of recriminations as the heady exploits of the weekend come gushing into view and you’re forced to confront the disastrous consequences of your misdeeds (John Terry?) Maybe a dispiriting comedown aft...

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Rodgers will never walk alone as the US cameras follow Liverpool around

I think it’s fairly reasonable to suggest that the first few games of the season have not quite gone to plan for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool. Sunday’s defeat at Manchester Uniteds hands ensured that it’s the most dispiriting start to a football season since that year Middlesbrough handed a debut...

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A more civilised way to talk about football perhaps, but it all comes down to Rooney’s gash in the end

Any long time readers of this column will be acutely aware of my ill feelings towards the current football malaise we reside in: the international break. A fortnight long forced abstinence of domestic football with only a scattered group of international fixtures to keep us going. Mercifully...

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Tuesday, 04 September 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Harry has a new game as Redknapp makes his Match Of The Day bow

All in all, it’s fair to say that the summer of 2012 will be looked back on with a great deal of fondness by the vast majority. Sure the weather failed to resemble anything remotely “summery”, and we may of had to put up with the usual bunch of sycophantic ne’er-do-wells in the Big Brother h...

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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Mischievous Murray makes Match Of The Day 2 anything but the Muppet Show

It already feels like the 2012-13 season has been going for months. Arsenal and Tottenham have had about three different periods of crisis already; Sir Alex claims Wayne Rooney isn’t pulling his weight, despite only having played one and half games; and Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is al...

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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Neville looking sharp as Sky’s fantasy football begins

The beginning of a football season is always a curious period. Our much-cherished teams turn up at 3pm on opening day looking ever so slightly different from the last time we saw them. New kits, new colours if you live in Cardiff, new players and sometimes even new managers. Whatever misty remnant...

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Euro Vision begins as ITV and the BBC vie for Championship glory

Ok, so it might not feel too much like summer right now. It’s about 10°C outside, caravan parks are under water and the only suntans in sight are painted on the vacuous plebs of Geordie Shore. But I promise you, we are there and that of course means only one thing: the European Championships have ...

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Chelsea win, but there were plenty of losers in the final day of football

There are some days that it simply doesn’t pay to be a non-football fan. We have a tendency in this country to lurch en masse into things and render them inescapable to the more indifferent among us. We latch on to an event, a past time, even a television talent show and let it consume us until we...

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A final day fanfare for Sky and the Blues

It all came down to this then. It’s been a gruelling journey, epic in its fluctuating fortunes as the favourites for the crown jostled back and forth. Each weekend millions looked on, eagerly cheering their chosen heroes, willing them to put in the performance that would clinch the prize they so ...

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Tuesday, 08 May 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A long time ago in a Stadium far far away, ITV began their FA Cup Final coverage

The 2011-12 football season will probably be looked back upon with a real intrigue in future decades. It has been a long, incident-strewn expedition encompassing an abundance of controversy, drama and despair. It is hard to remember another campaign with more extraordinary talking points. The Luis S...

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Tuesday, 01 May 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A bad week for some as United falter and the Olympics fail to inspire

It ended with Liam Gallagher bopping along to his own record at the Etihad last night in the her-uge title showdown between the Manchester giants on Live Ford Monday Night Football. Basking in his own genius is probably a nightly ritual for Gallagher junior but what certainly hasn’t been a regular o...

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Time is running out for the Football League Show but Reading and the Saints defy the odds

Back in the hazy midsummer days of August 2011, while hoards of frenzied teenagers were marauding their way through the streets of London setting fire to police cars, looting Poundland and generally ruining Boris Johnson’s holiday; I was indulging in a regular pre-season pursuit. Like every footba...

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Tevez, title races and titillation in a terrific week of football TV

Well, it was a helluva’ few days in the Premier League title race last week wasn’t it? The fortunes of the twin Manchester clubs are weaving increasingly erratic patterns as the burden of the top trophy begins to heap its weight on their slumping shoulders. The last seven days or so have seen a numb...

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A tough week of watching tough men taking tough action; and then there was Gary Neville on Super Sunday

There are many boulevards open to footballers when the time finally comes for them to hang up their boots, delete Sir Alex’s number from their Blackberry and say goodbye to the pantomime-drudgery of the Premier League. Obviously, the twin favourites for many pros are either a cushy job coaching the ...

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A mad Mario meets a melodic Manc and the result is perfect harmony

The twin worlds of football and music have not always been cosy bedfellows. Lest we forget the audio abominations that still stain jukeboxes up and down this land: ‘Fog On The Tyne’, that god awful attempt by Ant and Dec to appeal to people other than 12-year old girls during the 2002 World Cup, ...

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Tuesday, 06 March 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: QPR’s cautionary tale of success, greed and sweaty men is a real winner for the BBC

In every avenue of the vast road map of life, there have been distinguished comedy legends. The political world has Boris Johnson, Gordon Brown and Margaret Thatcher; in the music fraternity we have all had a good giggle at Keith Richards and Gareth Gates; and let’s not forget Jordan… she doesn’t re...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: An evening of Eurotrash as United make their Channel 5 debut

European football returned to our screens last week as our plucky English clubs once more ventured to the four corners of Europe to mix it up with some of the mightiest names in continental football; goliaths such as Barcelona, Inter and FC Metalist Kharkiv could all be on the horizon. As the week b...

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: No handshake for Evra and no love lost between the partisan pundits at Sky

Think about this for a second. How many times do you think you have seen Luis Suarez’s hand this weekend? Ten times? Twenty? A hundred? I’m sure I’ve seen his wandering hand more than I’ve seen my own two in the past 48 hours, such has been the swirling media-frenzy since he refused to settle his di...

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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A prosperous week for Liverpool in the cups but off the field is a different story

The days leading up to the weekend’s FA Cup Fourth Round ties were not particularly pleasant for many football fans, a week in which the unseemly and murky face of football was glaringly apparent. Many column inches were devoted to the tax-evasion trial of Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, as well as th...

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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Confusion reigns at City as Coleman fluffs his lines

Have you played Football Manager 2012? You may wonder how a game brimming with data, facts and incalculable statistics comes to contain such a dearth of information. Well, in the early stages of the games development, some spotty oik is charged with the task of finding someone close to each of the 7...

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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Manchester disunited but the magic of the FA Cup is alive and well

The much talked about magic of the FA Cup was present in abundance this Sunday during the huge third round Manchester showdown, in fact there was more magic contained in the 90 minutes than during a Paul Daniels swingers party. Chris Foy’s card tricks, a disappearing City captain and most mystifying...

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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Stelling and his merry mates bring festive cheer and genuine fear in the absence of any football

If we boil it down, there are two distinct ways to spend the festive period. You either endure the holiday wallowing in a pit of desperate desolation, alone with no hope of joviality, good tidings or communal kinship. Sat crestfallen in front of Eastenders on Christmas night, nursing a bottle of gin...

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A battle of wits ends in defeat for Worthy’s warhorses, but football marches on

Let’s face it. Our footballing heroes don’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to brainpower and academia do they? A cautionary glance at the post-match interviews every week on Match Of The Day show us superstars struggling to grasp the complexity of questions such as, “How do you feel the ...

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A love-in for O’Neill as marvel Martin ruins Rovers’ day

It was clear at 1pm on Sunday what the overriding theme of the day was going to be on Sky Sports’ Live Super Sunday. Ed Chamberlain, growing more and more comfortably into the role of football anchorman, opened the afternoon’s football coverage by loudly proclaiming, “Sunderland’s new era begins tod...

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Tuesday, 06 December 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: The rise and fall of the sprightly Savage is far from a waltz in the park

Do you remember the first time you ever saw Star Wars? That intoxicating and bedazzling rush of pure unadulterated excitement as you sat slack-jawed, unable to wrench your eyes away from all the bright lights, whizzing space ships and questionable acting? And perhaps you also remember the desolate f...

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Tuesday, 08 November 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: ITV begin to repay their debt with a feast of Man City delights

It’s the 12th June 2010. Seven thirty-four on a warm summer’s evening. My friends and I are huddled around my television, just as a million more expectant eyes are doing at the same moment up and down the nation. Then pffft … nothing. A moment’s darkness was followed by some guff about Hyundai cars ...

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Tuesday, 01 November 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A bad week for JT just gets worse and worse as the news hacks attack!

It’s been a bad old week for Chelsea and England captain John Terry hasn’t it? The on-going racism row between Terry and his accuser Anton Ferdinand has been front and back page news since the incident occurred a week ago and the story shows no signs of halting. Like most I have seen the footage...

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Mancini’s Manchester magicians spoil the party… and this column

Why always me? This week I was going to talk to you about the light-hearted Sky Sports knockabout quiz Take It Like a Fan. I was armed with reams of faint praise for the show and was readying my keyboard for a glittering review and even a possible recommendation for you all to check it out. But al...

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Football on Sky is becoming a fairytale thanks to Wilkins the Wizard

So we were repeatedly told that it was the ‘biggest club game in world football’ as Liverpool and Manchester United met at Anfield on Saturday for the ever-intense North-West derby. The fevered atmosphere was apparent at Sky for Live Ford Football Special and there was an almost fairytale mood in ...

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