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Tuesday, 04 October 2011

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Tevez, tantrums and Trigger? The pundits pull no punches when it comes to Carlos the Jackal

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Sqf Chris Pettitt

By the time this weekend came around I, like most, was sick to death of hearing about Carlos Tevez this, Carlos Tevez that, suspensions, fines, lip-readers, caveman, Aleksandar Kolarov, Argentina, Mancini. The whole overblown schism engulfed the country’s consciousness like some toxic mist and resulted in hours and hours of furious blustering by angry former pros; and when the sports editors ran out of ex-footballers, they began to quiz other sporting icons. Rugby legends first, then golfers, then cricketers and it just continued to spread; at one point I think it was even brought up during the cross-examination of Michael Jackson’s doctor. By the end of the week, every single person that has ever set foot in Manchester had had a microphone thrust into their face and asked to denounce Carlos Tevez as a whingeing Satanist with bad hair. So that’s enough, I don’t want to hear any more about Carlos Tevez!

So Carlos Tevez was the focus of much attention as Match Of The Day began on Saturday evening. The week’s events had ensured that Man City’s short trip to struggling Blackburn would be the feature game of the day. Jonathan Pierce was first to air his grievances over Tevez’s conduct, focussing on the plight of the fans and how many had paid “£1,000 to be in Munich”. A little misguided I thought, considering that presumably the City fans that did travel were not paying to just see Tevez, not to mention the fact that most will have had no idea what had occurred until they returned home to the ‘TEVEZ IS THE DEVIL’ headlines.

MOTD’s studio pundits also made public their dissatisfaction with Tevez; this week it was Dixon and Shearer, which coincidentally makes them sound like a naff 80s pop duo not helped by them turning up in matching shirts. Dixon was particularly perturbed by Tevez’s seeming lack of respect and advocated that “books should be thrown at him!”. Again, a little harsh I thought to have the entire Man City squad lined up hurling Shakespeare’s complete works at a cowering Tevez.

The mood was lightened at MOTD later on when the ever-calm and bronzed Gary Linekar finally put the Tevez saga to bed and informed us that it was 40th year of cuddly John Motson’s BBC career and that was indeed news to toast; this column salutes Motty and his ever-joyous wonder at describing the beautiful game. The montage of Motty commentating over iconic moments of the last four decades was a spine-tinglingly poignant touch.

There were other punditry peculiarities on Sky Sports News earlier in the week. The mammoth list of ex-players who regularly turn up to talk us through games for the channel a’ la Soccer Saturday is long and varied. There was however a new face for Spurs’ midweek Europa league game, or what is left of a face at least. I was surprised and a little anxious as brittle-boned Darren Anderton was on reporting duty; could he possibly make it through the entire game without breaking his jaw on the microphone or something? I don’t know because I couldn’t bear to watch so please let me know if he did indeed survive the evening.

I can only surmise that Anderton was called up due to dwindling numbers of available bodies; the problem arose again on Sunday during the build up to Spurs’ big derby showdown with Arsenal, as the man Sky Sports News was pressing for predictions ended up being Trigger from ‘Only Fools and Horses’. You plonkers!

I couldn’t possibly let this week pass without mentioning "the Silence of the Rams” and Leicester City’s humiliation of local rivals Derby on Football League Live. I actually attended the game but thanks to Sky+ and the fact that I have fewer social engagements than Colonel Gaddafi, I was able to watch the entire thing again upon returning home. Quite clearly I am crowbarring the mighty Foxes’ fabulous victory in to this column to further revel in the untempered joy that a 4-0 hammering can bring. However it does afford me to highlight the often-overshadowed live coverage of lower league games on Sky and the fantastic regular contributors it boasts; Don Goodman, Bill Leslie and Andy Hinchcliffe all deserve a mention. On the flip side there’s also the doom-faced Peter Beagrie but we can’t always have it all our own way can we? Just ask Carlos Tevez.

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Chris Pettitt



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