It’s Monday night, in case you haven’t noticed, and whilst listening to Midlake’s epic ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ (the opening tune ‘Roscue’ is still competing for duty on the bench of my Desert Island Discs team), I am watching Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football offering.
From the build up, I could possibly have been forgiven for thinking I was about to witness “The Best League In the World” in action, but then I remembered this was Crystal Palace versus Sunderland. Move along, nothing to see here?
Sky have paid an obscene amount of money to entertain us with rubbish like this. Obviously, they are obliged to show us some of the Premier League dross as well as yesterday’s Manchester derby who provided for our entertainment a grand total of no Mancunians.
If yesterday wasn’t exactly a glittering advertisement for Richard Scudamore’s ‘product’, then tonight it’s little short of embarrassing. Two lumpen teams lumping the ball, a large number of makeweight foreign players and Colin Wanker.
Colin Wanker is a delightful anagram of the charmless Palace manager and pensioner whose gleaming white teeth appear to have taken over half his face. At half time, I am pleased to see that Mr Wanker’s team are losing and have not been awarded what we in the game call ‘a stick on penalty.’
With the album now at and end, I switched the sound on the TV and a nondescript host whose name I don’t know gets Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher to analyse the game. And they’re full of enthusiasm, despite all the evidence I have seen which suggests they should be reaching for the strychnine (I am reaching for the red wine), pointing out this and that; anything except the inability of half the players on the pitch to control and then pass a football. Alan Parry commentates as if England have played Germany off the park.
I suspect this dire game is on a Monday night because they assume we will watch anything called football on a Monday night but prefer a main course for a Sunday afternoon and of course they are right.
I would imagine every single player on this pitch becomes a fresh millionaire every year and – whoosh! The second half is underway – they’re no good.
Sky have done something really clever with the sound too.
Anyone who has ever been to a game knows that fans can be sweary. But now, you hear the chanting and singing as if they were all chanting and singing with handkerchiefs in their mouths. “Uh uh uh uh!” which is probably “You’re gonna get your fuckin’ heads kicked in!” for all I know. The only swearing that reaches the TV audience is from the benches of both teams and the bobby bloke sitting in front of Mr Parry.
The greatest league on earth? Well some say it is but on this evidence it’s the professional equivalent of two pub teams.