Day: April 30, 2012

The Decline Of Match Of The Day

Viewers of the BBC’s flagship football programme Match Of The Day were treated to a somewhat extraordinary sight last weekend when presenter Gary Lineker launched into a somewhat bizarre impersonation of the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger complaining about refereeing decisions going against his team during their match earlier that day against Stoke City. Whilst this behaviour could arguably be described as offensive and certainly wasn’t funny, it also shone a light on the slow, drawn-out decay¬†arguably British football’s most venerable television institution. Match Of The Day will be fifty years old in two years time, and we can reasonably certain that this is a birthday that we will hear a considerable amount about. There is little that the BBC seems to enjoy more than eulogising its own heritage, and there can be little questioning its historical importance in the development of the televising of football in this country. It was the first regular, nationally broadcast programme dedicated to the national game (after a brief sojourn at its inception when it was shown only to viewers in the London region in BBC2) and it has been, barring a couple of brief intermissions when rights to broadcast matches were, somewhat inconveniently, lost to other companies, a mainstay of the winter schedules since then. For many, many years the ¬†format remained largely unchanged. There would be extended highlights of one match until...

Read More

Mungo S04E09

As the seasons change and the roosters will rise and fall, so the Mungo season finale must finally come to all men. Twohundredpercent raises a hearty and particularly jaunty-looking titfer in the direction of David Squires, whose Herculean efforts kept Mungo alive and better than ever before for the past nine months. However, our hero finds himself in a rather parlous situation, out of control in outer space at the controls of an errant Premier League-sanctioned rocket. With countless of his peers now jettisoned into the abyss – largely by mistake but who knows? – will McCrackas ever see...

Read More

The Return Of The Saints: Southampton’s Rapid Ascent To The Premier League

If there was any hint of tension in the air at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, it didn’t hang around for very long. It took them a little under sixteen minutes for Adam Lallana to give Southampton the lead against a Coventry City that had already been relegated from the Championship with room to spare, and the final tally was a 4-0 rout which confirmed a return to the Premier League after a break of seven years for a club which just last season was playing its trade in League One. For the second successive season, the other clubs of the division will have cause to stop and wonder how a club newly-arrived in their division could cut their way through it like a hot knife through butter and win promotion at the first attempt. When attention turns to the key players in Southampton’s successive outstanding season, two names spring immediately to mind – those of Rickie Lambert and Nigel Adkins. Lambert scored thirty-one goals in forty-five matches this season, including twenty-seven in the league. It’s a tally that took his total since signing for the club from Bristol Rovers in 2009 to eighty-eight goals in one hundred and fifty-five matches. Lambert hasn’t played in the Premier League before and at thirty years of age this could be his one and only chance to do so. We will...

Read More