Two weeks ago I wrote a piece in which I highlighted my thoughts on the overanalyzing of the game of football. I’ve now decided to have another gander into the world of the “experts” that tell us every in and out of the modern game.
In 1992 the Premier league was launched and with it the new dawning for English football. More cameras, more analysis, more games, more programs, more money, more more more more more. As a fan I was totally blown away by the amount of footy I could watch and rarely missed a minute.
Andy Gray (AG) and Richard Keys (RK) had pause, rewind, funny squiggly lines and machines that kept us up to speed with every action of the new product. Life was good for the fan of football – as Keys (doing his best Bill O’Herlihy impression of being apparently clueless) served Gray up to the public as the football expert and started a trend that has been totally ruined and twisted in today’s programming.
The difference was that AG came into the world of football punditry on the back of a successful stint as an assistant to Ron Atkinson with Aston Villa. He had tactical and managerial credibility. He had been to the dance and could definitely talk the talk.
Fast forward 24 years and RK and AG are gone from our screens and we are being fed tactical and managerial advice from Thierry Henry, Robbie Savage, Michael Owen, Jamie Redknapp, Jamie Carragher and, up until his appointment at Valencia, the darling of the media himself, Gary Neville.
These lads have little or no experience in top level management and yet we are being force-fed their opinions as if they were experts. Great players maybe, but top managers? Eh, not yet. Call me old fashioned but the people I love to listen to are Harry Redknapp, Roy Keane, Graeme Souness, Liam Brady, Ian Holloway, Johnny Giles and would someone please hire Big Ron, if not just for the entertainment value alone.
I am trying to remember what these guys have in common. Oh yes, they were all managers and therefore have the credibility of men who had to make decisions to win or at least not lose football matches. I notice another thing these lads have in common – they rarely get to play with the toys and the squiggly lines as Redders, Carra and Gaz want to play with the diddlees and doddlies.
Of course Gaz is currently employed by Valencia and what a job he’s doing there – did the Valencia lads not see the squiggly lines, stop starting of every aspect of the game and of course the tactical knowledge that has helped propel England to the top of world footy (tongue firmly in cheek here). Maybe they did – and maybe that’s why they aren’t doing as well as Gaz would have hoped.
Football has long been portrayed as entertainment, so please let’s take it out of the hands of the stats men and back to the people who enjoy it. Let managers and coaches deal with that stuff. If we are getting expert analysis, let’s get it from experts; for example former and current managers and coaches. These are people with the experience of handling the responsibility of running a dressing room. In my humble opinion they are more entertaining anyway.
Harry telling the Paulo di Canio stories, or Ian Holloway talking about his chickens is simply outstanding entertainment, so if we can’t have our game back – can you please let Harry or Ian have it?
Failing that – just hire Gordon Strachan more often.
John Andrews, Pundit Arena