Date:Thursday April 8 2010
We all know who they are, the buffoons who bewilder us with their abhorrent abuse of the English language, their unforgiving bias and their blatant lack of knowledge on the subject for which they are employed to speak about. They are of course, football pundits.
From Paul Merson's mispronunciations and bumbling nonsense on Sky Sports -
'In this league, any team can beat any other - and to prove it there were seven draws yesterday.
'People just looked lost. Too many players looked like fish on trees.'
- To ESPN's Tommy Smyth, with a 'y'. His 'onion bags' and complete lack of knowledge on any team or players he so happens to be commentating on, or indeed, football in general have resulted in thousands of muted TV sets.
'It's 1-1, and if there are no more goals it'll be a draw.
'Kelly knows all about Luis Enrique because he played against him for the Republic of Ireland against Portugal recently.'
Luis Enrique is Spanish, Tommy Smyth, a ball bag. Seriously, why are these people on television?
Aside from playing football once-upon-a-time, these pundits, or 'experts', have absolutely nothing about them that qualifies them to be able to give their opinion on anything other than their own past experience.
A definition of an expert, is someone who is 'widely recognized as a reliable source whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public.'
Neither Paul Merson, Tommy Smyth nor any of the other buffoons that talk about the beautiful game can be considered an expert by any stretch of the imagination.
Pundits' comments are riddled with bias towards their favourite team, rendering their ridiculously limited and distorted viewpoints worthless to the millions of football fans tuning in to hear balanced and insightful pieces of information regarding the sport they love.
How do these ex-footballers get their opinions aired? I can't tell if it's to cause controversy on purpose, or if their affiliated broadcasting company genuinely believe that they are contributing something useful.
To put this into perspective, Merson on Sky Sports is the equivalent of getting an ex fruit picker from the Cornish apple orchards, and sticking him on Newsnight once a week to explain the growing economic friction in rural England's agriculture sector.
He can pick apples, but that's about it.
Just because you were somewhat involved in a particular field (quite literally), does not make you an expert in it.
If ever you wanted a better example of this in practice, look no further than the BBC's infamous 'Lawro's predictions'.
Is their a solution to any of this? To be honest, no.
I just can't see any shift in policy change amongst the upper echelons of the sport broadcasting industry anytime soon - and it's a crying shame.
They think that football fans want pundits with which they can relate to, the everyman ex-footballer they can imagine as one of their mates down the pub. Personally, I think that they are way off the mark with this one.
If we wanted pundits with as much knowledge as our mates down the pub, we wouldn't be tuning in to their nonsensical chatter in the first place.
Fans want real experts who can give educated breakdowns of passages of play, and who can pronounce players names properly.
Is this too much to ask? Probably.
Date:Thursday April 8 2010
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