I wrote to BT Sport last week complaining about the physical pain inflicted on my brain and ears during successive nights of Champions League football.
No-one should have to listen to what passes for commentary from a character called ‘Fletch’ and his cohort Steve McManaman twice in 24 hours.
They are embarrassingly preachy and maddeningly inaccurate.
‘Fletch’ reads from a prepared sheet of facts which make him sound dull rather than clever (no-one’s bothered about what happened in a match 15 years previously), while McManaman whines and whinges about anything that takes his fancy, but always in a pro-Liverpool way.
The action unfolding in front of them is incidental, a mere sideshow to them having the opportunity to foist their opinions on those of us trying to enjoy the fact that Liverpool and Manchester City are being tested for a change.
The pair spent much more time banging on about Neymar’s failure to track runners during the Liverpool/Paris Saint-Germain game than they did the Brazilian’s part in his side’s splendid second goal.
Football is becoming borderline unwatchable on the TV because of the obsession with big-name punditry and commentary from ex-players whose opinions you would rarely seek. Does anyone really care what Andy Hinchcliffe thinks about the Leeds United goalkeeper?
The fast forward button is a lifesaver for Match of the Day and that dire EFL highlights show hidden in the depths of satellite television, but obviously it’s not an option for live football.
No doubt Martin Tyler, a man who never misses an opportunity to thank professional sportsmen earning vast fortunes in part thanks to TV money for playing over Christmas, will be the main commentator when Chelsea host Liverpool on Saturday night (September 29) and no doubt he will use his privileged position to tell us what he thinks about Mo Salah’s dip in form and why James Milner is far superior to Jordan Henderson (he is) when he should leave all that stuff to Gary Neville, the one ‘expert’ capable of expressing an opinion eloquently and honestly.
Radio football is even worse. Posh delivered a thrilling performance at Gillingham last Saturday, but by the time I arrived back in the boro I was fuming at the drivel-filled talkSPORT commentary of the Brighton v Spurs game.
I have no idea how good that game was, if Harry Kane had recovered his match sharpness or if Brighton intend to bore their way to Premier League survival because, either side of the obligatory betting adverts in the middle of the half, the commentator and his analyst Stuart Pearce preferred to talk about the number of lookalikes their producer had, a bingo fetish and a love of Kylie Minogue concerts.
Do these irritants not realise we can’t actually see what’s going on the pitch? We need someone to tell us what’s going on. That’s surely their job?