Reviews

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, 14 August 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: An Olympic hangover means Dixon’s debut fails to inspire

It’s been a gruelling few weeks for fans of sport hasn’t it? Ever since Spain cemented their place as football’s frontrunners at Euro 2012, there has been a disorientating vacuum of sport on television and no amount of frantic bashing of the Sky remote has been able to render any nourishment for s...

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Team GB and the BBC could do with heroes like Neymar and the incredible Hulk

I don’t know about you, but even though the Olympics are yet to actually begin, I’m pretty sick of them already. I’m fed up of seeing clowns from the Government on Sky News demanding that the underclass should stop complaining that they can’t afford a pint of milk and just swoon in admiration at t...

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Carlisles united as Clarke delves deep into racism in the game

Can you feel it? We’re in that disorientating period in the football calendar when everything’s not quite right. There’s no football on the TV; other sports like cricket and bloody cycling are beginning to barge their way onto the back pages, and most distressing of all your squads on Fifa are all...

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Lawro plays the Twit as BBC confidence turns to England despair

It’s easy afterwards, in the hazy mist of reflection that hangs mournfully across the country each time the England team are wrenched from a major tournament, to neatly nestle back into the default self-loathing English mind-set and pretend we were always doomed to fail, fated to forever chase the...

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: England make it hard to watch, while Sky’s legend makes the game look easy

Another week, another panic-inducing evening spent watching the England team then. This whole edge-of-our-seat, fine line between death and glory shtick that England have peddled out for years is now growing quite tiresome. Just for once, couldn’t we be like Germany and be ruthlessly efficient and...

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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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Tuesday, 03 April 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: One year on from Keys and Gray but is Sky burning any brighter?

It’s been around fourteen months since the corridors and offices of Sky Sports were rocked irrevocably by the now-infamous sexism scandal surrounding part-man, part-ape Richard Keys and his bosom buddy Andy Gray – the worthy winner of Nuts magazine’s 2006 ‘TV Personality That Most Resembles a Baby...

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A tough week for the ‘football family’ but the future’s looking bright, and looking orange for the Toon Army

It has certainly been a difficult old week in football. Quite rightly, the grave events surrounding Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba dominated all stratums of the game over the past seven days, and by extension all of the football coverage too. This resulted in a strange ambivalence amongst the week’s acti...

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Failure, hope and horror – just another weekend in the lives of Leicester City and ESPN

Despite the fact it has reached the ‘business end’ of the competition, I have so far abstained from reviewing ESPN’s FA Cup coverage; this is for two purely righteous reasons. Firstly, I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to watch England’s foremost domestic cup competition and I a...

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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, 28 February 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Youth vs. experience at Wembley as Sky take on the BBC in a battle of broadcasters

So, it was a giddily exciting weekend as the competition that ranks just above the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in most clubs’ priorities came down to its final two contenders; the mighty Merseysiders from Liverpool and the Championship underdogs of Cardiff. As is customary in these circumstances, th...

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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, 07 February 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Serious lessons to learn from Fashanu’s footballing family

I’m fairly certain we can all agree that football has its fair share of problems. If it is not the shady transfer dealings of murky agent types skulking around the bins at Tottenham’s training ground, it is the ignorant grunts of ill-informed morons as they boo a man purely for being the brother of ...

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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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