Sport is a cruel mistress – just when you’re ready to chuck it (say after another half-time summary from Shearer and Wright), along comes Roger Federer, like a lover with a Agent Provocateur bag in hand a funny look in their eye, and you’re right back where you started, trying to keep your heart inside your rib cage. But though we love sport warts n’all, how might a little corrective surgery improve its fading looks?
Here’s ten things to be nipped and tucked away from sight.
- Formula One grids with cars lined up in team order. It’s the drivers we want to see competing, not techies with telemetry print-outs and team anoraks.
- Grabbing a flag from the crowd and waving it on a lap of honour. Poignant at first, now clichéd and occasionally jingoistic. The Olympics ought to celebrate the Family of Man not a country’s sports budget.
- Any pundit with more than three year’s service should be pensioned off – we can only hear so much, then the teeth grate. Hansen and Lawro tell us nothing that they haven’t bored on about ad nauseum for years. Charlton can’t defend - who would have thought it?
- Commentators treating sport as a moral debate. Barry Davies and Alan Greene can turn a commentary into a Daily Mail editorial – they are not all good boys: get over it! And while you’re at it, what’s going on down there on the pitch?
- Yet more praising of Rugby players’ attitudes towards the referee. Yes they don’t do the dissent thing and yes Rooney and co should shut up, but I don’t call fisticuffs and worse with a referee trying unsuccessfully to separate the thugs, a fine example to our nation’s youth.
- WAGS. Let’s leave these cohabitees undermining national teams’ skills out of the sports pages – it’s not as if they are short of exposure elsewhere, even in the Guardian for heavens sake
- Big production adverts during international tournaments. I don’t want to see Beckham as a cowboy, nor Zidane playing football in a banlieu, nor Roberto Carlos doing anything except taking free kicks. They are bad actors in poorly scripted, overblown, 60 second melodramas which are destined to be forgotten the moment the real stuff starts again after half-time.
- Those beards Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and Big Sam send out to do the BBC interviews while they sulk in the corner about some slight or other three years ago. Grow up and speak to the people who support your team and pay your wages.
- Perimeter advertising hoardings that play a short animated film whilst we try to concentrate on the match. Who thinks those are a good idea, except for the Peter Kenyons of this world? Get rid of them now.
- Opening Ceremonies. They have as much in common with sport as the Eurovision Song Contest has in common with Slipknot. Say No! to singing kids. Say No! to traditional dancing in national costumes. Say No! to the poor sap reading the commentators’ guide as the BBC devote 25% of its annual live sports coverage to this tosh.
MouthoftheMersey February 13 2007