The Wright Stuff

With its relatively recent descent into chest-beating populism, the BBC has left itself fairly open to criticism over the last few years in terms of its football coverage. This reached something of a nadir at the 2006 World Cup when England were knocked out by Portugal, and any pretence of rational analysis went out of the window. Ian Wright, sitting glumly in the studio, almost completely lost for words, was the most potent symbol possible for the crushing contradiction between expectation and the reality of the England team’s limitations. The news that he has been released by the BBC comes as no surprise to those of us that have been keeping a close eye on the BBC’s descent into ITV-esque tabloid broadcasting. You could learn about much as you need to about Wright from a telling interview with Jim Rosenthal for Channel Four’s “100 Greatest World Cup Moments”, which was broadcast on the eve of the 2002 World Cup. Rosenthal related a story about the match in St Etienne in 1998 in Argentina. He was watching the match when it became apparent that the ITV team was being targeted for extraordinary levels of abuse by the section of the Argentine support sitting immediately below them. When he turned around, he said, there was “Wrighty”, with a flag draped around his shoulders, goading them for all he was worth. The...

Read More