You see, with Martin O’Neill, the BBC have got a real chance. They’ve got a chance to put an intelligent, articulate broadcaster on their channel. An authorative, experienced coach who steers clear of hyperbole and jingoism, and instead offers a clear and easily comprehensible analysis of what he has just seen. Instead, though, the BBC seem intent on sticking with the likes of Ian “I Don’t Care About Anyone Apart From England” Wright (an actual quote from the Holland-Serbia match) instead.
I know that the BBC have to cater to everyone, and I sometimes think that I’m in a minority when I say that I don’t mind the BBC’s regular squad. Yes, I know that Mark Lawrenson is unfit to hold an opinion on anything. I know that John Motson, for all his encyclopedic knowledge, is well past his prime. I know that there is no real reason, aesthetic or otherwise, why Peter Reid should be allowed within a thirty yard radius of a television camera. But Alan Hansen is still the best pundit on the television, and Gary Lineker is a safe pair of hands, as long as he can be prevented from flag-waving for England.
But. BUT. BUT! There is simply no excuse, and there can be no justification for the way that he was treated during and after the match between Serbia & Holland yesterday afternoon. The constant butting in, the piss-taking over his opinions, and the constant, dull-as-ditchwater references to England and, crassest of all, the jokes about Serbia & Montenegro’s name (you see, it spells “S&M”… hur hur hur…). It is, frankly, lame that the BBC should allow this to go on. For the first time, I’m going to be in a situation where I’m considering swapping sides for the matches thta both channels are showing. I never thought this would happen. But, then again, I never thought that the BBC would allow it’s match analysis (during the World Cup!) to become “Ian Wright’s Variety & Jingoism Hour”.