Tag Archives: Lawro

The end of all things

Ok so. Last night was billed as the second biggest football event in the sporting calendar.

The culmination of two years of qualifiers, group stages, knockouts. On top of that there was history in the making as well. Spain could lift an unprecedented third major football trophy in a row.

This was it. The big one. How would a television heavyweight like the BBC cover this? Bearing in mind that only a week before they’d drowned us in footage of Gazza’s tears in a rabble-rousing montage of hyperbolic knee jerk inducing imagery so strong that it even had my dog barking along to God Save the Queen like a humble citizen.

The final itself didn’t disappoint. Even the neutral was swayed by the way that Spain’s tika taka approach ripped through the Italians. Four goals. Super Mario getting emotional. What a game!

Well. Unless you’re the BBC.

You see, it seems that the BBC think the tournament came to an end last week when England crashed out. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Europe and the world aren’t actually English, the Beeb didn’t give the impression that they gave a flying toss about this game and the pomp and ceremony that surrounded it.

Like sulky kids who want to take the ball home cos they’re not deployed up front they decided that the final of the European cup was barely worthy of their attention.

Let’s start with the magnificent pre-match closing ceremony. A chance for the hosting nations to shine and show the world that they really can throw a party. Forget the early skirmishes between fans, Ukraine & Poland want you to know they did a good job in their no expense spared appeal to the world.

Well. To most of the world. The Beeb decided all that gubbins was wayyyyy less interesting than Lineker, Shearer, Hansen et al indulging in a quick round of dull-as-dishwater pre-match analysis where they talked about subjects as inciteful as Spain’s playing style, the genius of Pirlo/Iniesta and the volatility of Balotelli.

If you wanted to watch the culmination of enough spending on entertainment by Poland & the Ukraine to rescue Greece (for an hour) then you had to do it through that precious resource known as the red button. Otherwise you just got to hear Alan Shearer telling us that Spain were a good team.

Want to see this or see what Alan Hansen is wearing?

Then there was the game itself. Blimey what a game eh? Enough to get anyone excited. European finals. Spain rampant. The world cup awaits? I figure the only person watching who wasn’t excited was the ever-depressing presence of co-commentator Mark Lawrensen, who appeared to spend the entire game moaning about players making too much of being tackled and wondering why Liverpool ever sold Alonso. At one point I thought I heard him swear and I wondered about all the kids who stayed up late to watch the final as accompanied by his depressing dirge.

That was when things got weird. Cos the BBC must have thought of that. They only fucking had a red button offering CBBC commentary for kids. In a bid to escape Lawro’s suicide-watch banter I switched up immediately.

The result was a three-way-amphetamine-pumped-see-saw between unwitting genius, absolute banality and a nihilisitc absence of anything that had me laughing, cringing and wondering where the respect for the tournament had disappeared to in equal measure.

The CBBC presenters weren’t so much commentating, but having a conversation about football generally. But not a conversation you have in seasoned opinionated pub talk terms. A conversation you might have with someone who wants to know what football is but no-one knows in the conversation. So you just end up asking each other stupid questions until someone is brave enough to change the subject or physically kill the other two.

They barely noticed when Torres scored as they were having an argument about how to explain the offside rule. It was like listening to three twenty-year old Alan Partridges on student radio go at it. In fact my listening was greatly enhanced by imagining them as wearing Alan Partridge masks.

This image haunts my dreams now

Suddenly the football genuinely didn’t matter. It had been superseded by a farce that wouldn’t have looked amiss in The Thick of It. At one point a CBBC commentator pointed to the prophetic powers of a watcher who had texted in to say “Spain should win because Paella and Nachos are better than Pasta and Pizza” there then ensued a small debate about whether Nachos were Spanish. At some point Spain scored again but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered any more. The football was an afterthought. Farce was the true winner and society as we know it is approaching a spectacular climax of irrelevance.

The contempt shown by the media for any tournament when England crash out is encouraging though. Roll on the Olympics when we can hopefully expect to see the red button offering up the cast of in the night garden making excitable noises during coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies.

Anything’s got to be better than Sebastien Coe!


Ashes to Ashes

Ok so. What happened again last night?

Oh yeah. Our national team put in a piss-poor knockout display, held on for penalties, which they lost and the nation groaned a sigh of collective disappointment while a few mouth breathers decided to have a bit of a fight.

No surprises there. I’ve been feeling that hollow exhalation for years now. Despite my best intentions I still have a modicum of support for the national team. I have no idea why. It’s like smoking, a poisonous and vile compulsion towards self harm. To be honest I’ve cut down on the supporting habit pretty heavily. From the flag-wearing, shirt-sporting, pub-singing posterboy of 16 years ago I’ve managed to bring it down to the ‘watch it on the telly at home in a fug of apathy’ level.

My withdrawal from the England habit doesn’t stem from our failures though. Only an idiot stops supporting a team because they fail. The sort of idiot who doesn’t ‘get’ the idea of supporting. Winners don’t need support. Losers do. Supporting winners all the time is just basking in other people’s glory, which is a bit like stalking them.

No. I struggle to support our national team cos the players and a lot of the fans aren’t very nice people. And because the press & media are so fixated on falsely raising our hopes that the weight of excessive expectation is something of a national pastime.

Take last night for example. Did anyone watch that montage the Beeb ran before kick off? It was like a clip from the finals of x-factor. A series of emotional shorts set to a tub-thumping soundtrack designed to elicit nothing more than expectation, excitement and the secret feeling that we could do it. So much for the national press talking about lower expectations. The minute we lucked out against Ukraine by virtue of a disallowed goal people were already looking to a tasty repeat of the 96 semi against Germany (which we also lost on penalties).

Never mind that we couldn’t beat France in our first game, who Spain comfortably defeated without a striker… Where there’s a national press there’s hope. Except Lawro. If he’d provided the soundtrack to the England warm up montage perhaps the country would be waking up today feeling euphoric that we made it to penalties without conceding 10 goals. Personally I’m secretly relieved. If this is the media with low expectations then imagine what they’d be like if they won? God it would be unbearable. As would seeing John Terry holding the trophy aloft, so let’s be thankful for silver linings.

The timing is perfect anyway, we shift the national weight of expectation onto Murray at Wimbledon. And that should keep us going til the fucking Olympics, which we’ve spent the last fucking year counting down the fucking days to!!!