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The hidden side of commentary

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Steve Wilson | 15:46 UK time, Tuesday, 15 November 2011

There are two things which seem to surprise people about being a Match of the Day commentator more than anything else.

The first is that we are actually at all the games you watch on a Saturday and Sunday night; the second is that our commentary positions are not sumptuous, warm converted executive boxes with a steady supply of finger food and coffee.

The reality is they are often rusty old gantries hanging from the roof of a stand with everything covered in a thick layer of dust and grime pre-dating John Motson's first sheepskin.

When I first joined the TV team back in 2001, not every game was covered as it is now. The games which looked likely to provide the biggest stories were selected to have a commentator on site, while one would be on duty at Television Centre to dub commentary onto whichever game proved to be the best of the rest, and the remaining games and goals were covered in a round-up.

When the BBC won the Match of the Day rights back from ITV in 2003 the format changed, and since then every game featured on a Saturday or Sunday has had a BBC TV commentator in attendance.

Match of the Day commentary positions vary according to the age of the stadium but, mercifully, they are never indoors as you will often find abroad. There is nothing worse than trying to capture the atmosphere of an occasion when you are stuck behind thick glass in a booth so well sound-proofed that you may as well not be in the ground.

I remember going to Benfica's old Estadio da Luz before it was rebuilt. It was one of the world's greatest stadiums, but the commentary position for Radio 5 live's coverage of a qualifier between Portugal and Ireland came from the very back of the top tier in a brick-built hut with a reinforced glass window at the front. I couldn't hear a murmur of the noise from the 80,000 crowd and may as well have been watching on a giant TV screen hanging from a hot-air balloon.

The same was true in the Parc des Princes in Paris for Arsenal's Cup Winners' Cup final against Real Zaragoza, at Dynamo Kiev's old Olympic Stadium and, for some of the worst commentary positions, you just have to go to the Nou Camp in Barcelona. Whatever the weather, I think every commentator I know would agree - put me outside.

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

The vast Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow provides a challenge for commentators. Photo: Getty Images

The toughest position I have ever had to work from was in Moscow when England lost to Russia in the Luzhniki Stadium in 2007.

Going to the ground the day before the game to watch Russia's training session we discovered that our position was somewhere behind the corner flag built above the back row of seats right at the top of the huge stand. When you consider the stadium has a gap between the pitch and the running track and then another bigger gap between the track and the front row of seats, I reckon our perch from the very back must have been getting on for 150m from the goal away to our left-hand side. I could tell it would be tough to identify an English goalscorer in any scrambled melee from that distance, let alone a Russian.

What made my mood worse was that Sky TV had managed to get themselves a perfect position right over the halfway line about midway up the stand. I could almost hear what people back in the office would be saying: "How come Martin Tyler called the goal so well on Sky while Wilson was making a prat of himself?"

So it was not only the fear of watching Steve McClaren's team suffer a damaging defeat that was bothering me as I took my place with Mark Lawrenson before kick-off.

The adrenalin was pumping, England could not afford to lose and Russia had to win. I was desperate not to make a mess of such a big game.

The atmosphere as I started commentating on the teams coming out of the tunnel was one of the best I have ever experienced. Smoke, flares, and ear-splitting noise - fantastic. I was just praying that my eyesight would not let me down as I peered through the smoke at the players lining up for the anthems in the far distance.

Then they started unfurling the flag. It started just below our feet in the very back row of the stand filled with thousands of Russian supporters. It was like the longest roll of carpet you have ever seen, stretching from one end of the stadium all the way to the other and was longer than the length of the pitch.

Over the heads of the fans it slowly spread. Down and down it went, revealing the Russian flag with a giant snarling bear in the centre.

Now I like Martin Tyler and have the utmost respect for him as a commentator, but I confess I could not smother my smile as the flag inexorably made its way right over the top of his head and down to the track below. Commentating from underneath Moscow's largest flag - now that's a challenge!


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Steve

    Brilliant article.... and really good to know that MOTD has "live" commentators, even if not covering match live, nothing worse than dubbed commentary that you see on a video tape.... love hearing what the commentator said in the moment, not with what he knew after the event.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with Ruud, get Colin Murray OFF MOTD2, he ruins that show for everyone.

  • Comment number 4.

    I genuinely think that the pundits dislike him. He keeps making these snide little comments that are supposed to be funny, but at best they give him a polite chuckle, followed by the death stare. Also, he knows nothing about football.

  • Comment number 5.

    Agree with comments 3 and 4 - how on earth hasn't James Richardson got that job yet? He's by far the best football presenter around: Football Italia was superb, and so is the Guardian podcast he does now. Sort it out, BBC, if you can pay Hansen that obscene amount of money you can at least get some actual talent on the sofas.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Steve

    Very interesting article.

    Speaking of dubbed commentary, does anyone know what it's called when a commentator/reporter reports on a game, obviously after the event, but describes near misses or goals in the way a live commentator would? It would usually be found on a goals programme or Champions League review or something.

    Whatever it is, it should be outlawed.

  • Comment number 7.

    @2 and 3- Colin's voice does slightly annoy me but I'm surprised you don't like the "snide comments" he makes to Lee Dixon and any of the others- I think it's great to bring them down a peg or two. As for this article, fantastic and interesting.

  • Comment number 8.

    If it was coming from someone who knew what he was talking about then it might be funny. As he doesnt have a clue, it just makes the whole dynamic awkward to see. I would find it hysterical if Lee Dixon snapped and battered him.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh, and another thing BBC. Nobody ever has, nor ever will, care what 'Savage Says'.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Colin Murray is an excellent host. He brings the right amount of levity and is immeasurably better than the previous incumbant. And believe me, he knows plenty about football - certainly more than Alan 'no-one's ever heard of Ben Arfa' Shearer and Alan 'will this do?' Hansen.
    Although I do agree that the BBC should make some room for the outstanding James Richardson.

  • Comment number 11.

    @9 - Disagree with that too.

  • Comment number 12.

    Not a fan of Shearer (must be the most dull man on the planet), or Hansen either, or any of the presenters bar Gary Lineker who is innately likeable, weird crisp adverts aside. But at least they all try and discuss football in some level of detail. I have never heard Colin Murray express an insightful opinion on anything, he seems far more interested in the superficial side of the game.

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    Does that make him worth listening to? I dont think it is a saving grace that he states his opinion, as that is his job. In fact, it counts against him as his opinion is usually inane.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Radio 5 commentators are usually not afraid to tell us about the (lack of) facilities in the commentary box, but they also deserve great credit, particularly Alan Green.

  • Comment number 16.

    Leave Colin Murray, he's fine. James Richardson is better than Lineker.

    Clear out Lawrenson, Hansen and Shearer (the worst of them all). Is Alan Hansen really paid £1.5m a year by the Beeb? They should be glad they've moved the studio to Manchester as it will cut the Stockport-London beeb-paid £1,000 a time taxi bill.

  • Comment number 17.

    i think the whole MOTD team are great. seriously cant understand these people who think colin murray is rubbish. i think he is brillant and that goes to the rest of them aswell. i would to see these people who think they are rubbish do a better job. the truth is they cant. keep it up MOTD!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Nice article, enjoyed it. As for the BBC pundit/presenter debate, I quite like Colin Murray personally, though I do agree that James Richardson would be better than, well, anyone really. As for Shearer; how can an ex-footballer contribute virtually no insight into the game?

  • Comment number 19.

    I think Colin Murray does a great job on MOTD2. The idea of the host for that show as opposed to the main MOTD show is to be a fan rather than an expert. I don't think his poking fun at the pundits does them any harm, and as with banter in any other situation, they have a little pop back. It tends to work best when the likes of Lee Dixon and David Ginola, or a current player or manager is on the show. Not sure that Shearer has a sense of humour

  • Comment number 20.

    I have to say those of you complaining about the bbc's pundits should try listening to Ray Hudson commentate over here in the US on GoalTV. Worst commentator I have ever heard. He has now got a ridiculous cult following because of his obsession to scream, shout and come up with the most god-awful metaphors to describe the actions of la Liga players. Check him out on YouTube.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ray hudson is my hero

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm Scottish and live in Australia, there is nothing I'd love more than to watch MOTD with those commentators!
    Seriously, you moan but I have to put up with:

    1. Foxsports (where they show the "EPL") the Expert Analysts are Mark Bosnich & Robbie Slater.... those two are the worst!!

    2. ESPN - here's a list of commentators that I need to put up with, Gabriele Marcotti (worst sounding Italian American Ive heard), Ray Blackstone, Shaka Hislop (As a co-commentator!!!) and the worst is Tommy Smyth...

    ...Tommy Smyth (commentates the major European games) simply has the worst voice in football, if you don't know who he is please youtube him and just have a listen.... Let me know what you think?

    I miss BBC..... If Perth's weather wasnt so good I'd move back purely to get away from Tommy Smyth & Shaka Hislop... the rest I can put up with! article!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    I still remember the days of Elton Welsby on The Big Match and the mid week highlights program. Or Elton Wel-biased as we used to call him.

    No matter which match, what ever the result, who ever the scorer, he still managed to link it all to Liverpool FC.

    It was all worth it though, when Thomas scored that last min winner at Anfield in '89.
    The look on his face- priceless!

  • Comment number 25.

    Agree with criticism about Colin Murray, he is annoying to say the least, quite clearly the blue eyed boy he is everywhere, would be better presenting one of those mind numbing reality progs or stick to 5 live on a Friday night. Used to like Alan Green now he believes all the hype, brilliant commentator but the continual moaning and repetition when he gets a bee in his bonnet about something is excrutiating, and the phone in !!!!!!!!!!! its not all about you ALAN

  • Comment number 26.

    And getting back to the point of the article...

  • Comment number 27.

    Quite right #26 felt like airing my views, got lost in translation.

    When I used to watch La Liga and Serie A always wondered which flights commentators used to catch to get from Uk in afternoon and be in Spain a few hours later, yet another illusion burst you'll be telling me there is'nt a real santa

  • Comment number 28.

    Have to disagree with the negative comments about Colin Murray. I think he is a superb host for the Sunday night show and interacts well with the pundits whoever they may be. I couldn't think of a better host for MOTD2 to be honest. Watching Chiles present the ITV football makes me cringe and yawn at the same time. Keep up the good work Colin.

  • Comment number 29.

    I still chuckle over Murray’s comment about Joey Barton when Twitter’s finest finally shaved off his moustache after scoring a goal. Barton said that he was worried that his wife would leave him, to which Murray’s response was “if she hasn’t left you by now she never will.”

    Anyway back on topic. Yes, I am surprised that the commentators are at the matches they commentate on because the post-match dubbing is awful. I think I would prefer to watch the matches without commentary and just as a goal is about to be scored a giant red herring swims across my TV screen.

  • Comment number 30.

    Agree with comments in support of Colin Murray and all of the BBC team - they are absolutely brilliant, and make both MOTD and MOTD2 a pleasure to watch. I would also add praise to the utterly marvellous commentators on 5Live, every single one of them.

    I would also add that despite flippant comments from other I do care what 'Savage Says' and while not always agreeing with his sometimes strong opinions I respect immensely the fact that he is not afraid to say them.

    Overall I think the BBC coverage of football as a whole is fantastic, and will cry a river if the highlights ever go back to ITV.

    PS I do agree with Savage about Scottish football though.

  • Comment number 31.

    A really interesting article Steve, I've always wondered how commentators identify players so quickly from teams that they are unlikely to have covered before?

    Also how did you find the transition from radio to TV? Did you have to change your commentating style much or did it all come naturally?

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi. Please can you sack Jonathan Pearce.

    The man is probably the WORST commentator ive ever heard. Ridiculously biased, always making mistakes, oh, and what about Italys' first game of the World Cup? For some reason, what only he must know, he had to say every italian players name in what can only be described as the WORST italian accent since Rocky. I was literally writing a letter to the queen asking for my TV licence money back for having to sit through it.

    How he got promoted from commentating on ROBOT WARS(!) to MOTD is beyond me.

    Please, the man is inept.

    Every MOTD watcher and tv licence payer in the uk.

  • Comment number 33.

    Can we not call for people to loose their jobs please. I know the "I pay my liscence fee" argument will be rolled out but asking for someone to be sacked is going a bit far.

    They may have families to look after, not mentioning the confidence dent loosing your job can bring.

    No wonder we had a summer of rioting when our society has become so self centered that other people are not taken into account.

    Wait for it... But I pay my fee!! etc

  • Comment number 34.

    Colin Murray is getting better and better as he relaxes into the role. He's down to earth and entertaining. And Lee Dixon is also a brilliant analyst. It is Alan Shearer who the BBC needs to get rid of. He's as dull as Chiles is on ITV.

  • Comment number 35.

    Colin Murray and Gary Linekar are both good in their roles - but different. No problem with that. Lee Dixon is great, but why does Alan Hansen seem to spend half of his time trying to talk over his co-pundit?

    There is no Radio 5 commentator I dislike, but I have to agree with #25, Alan G ain't as good as he used to be....alas.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't have a problem with Colin Murphy but then a glove puppet would have been better than the plonker who's moved on to make ITV coverage so poor.

    Dixon has probably matured into the best sidekick. Hansen is OK when he has to do a proper analysis but most of the time is just spouting. No time for Savage, Shearer, or Crooks and as for the great majority of 'guests' - you might as well pull in the guy off the nearest bus stop for all the interest it adds

  • Comment number 37.

    I would agree with the posts that talk about Colin Murray being a good host. With MOTD2 being the last thing on over a weekend with regards to football, he certainly lightens the mood. There isn't as much mumbling with him in comparison to Gary Linekar either.

    I do however, really dislike John Motson. He just seems so far behind the action all the time and even on the 5live 'Monday Night Club', his opinions seem to be either well wide of the mark, or repeating exactly what has just been said. It seems to me as if the BBC are keeping him around for traditions sake.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lawro is the best pundit. Time for Hansen and Shearer to be binned. Why can't MOTD2 have the professional feel of MOTD as well. It's like its been produced by a bunch of primary school children. Stupid animations. Murray should stay on the radio, I think his sense of humour and ramblings are suited there because they have the time for it. TV has a tighter timescales for production. Lineker is also good. Steve Wilson, hmmmm. Dodgy, I recall he said in one of the games during the 'friendly' international tournament South Africa. 'If USA reach the final, then frankly, I'll eat my hat' - guess what - they did! Did you have fun eating the hat Steve? - Idiot. Shame Motty has cut down his commentary commitments, he is great on Monday Night Club on 5Live. Will miss references to 'Drogbar' when he goes.

  • Comment number 39.

    What clearly is not a myth though is that the commentary heard on Match of the Day is clearly recorded after the game and therefore is with the benefit of hindsight.

  • Comment number 40.

    @38 - a bit harsh. It was the Confederations Cup, by the way, not a friendly tournament.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I suppose. But people are so quick to say "such and such is an idiot" or "Mr X needs to get sacked". It is all so reactionary.

    My own opinion is that MOTD2 is my favourite football show on the television, by far. I enjoy the more irreverent style, and Murray and Dixon are a perfect combination. If you want bare action and straightforward 'analysis' - then MOTD on Sat night is the one for you. For a slightly more sideways look at the weekend's events, then it is MOTD2. Frankly im just glad that we have both to choose from.

  • Comment number 41.

    Richardson would be an excellent host. As for Savage, well I have to say his stint presenting on 606 was by far and away the worst piece of Radio broadcasting I have ever listened to. He mostly derided those who didnt agree with him and spent a great deal of time getting into personal spats with the callers.

    However, blessed are we that Adrian childs is confined to ITV. He wins hands down in the battle for most 'inane presenter'. On saturday he likened the spanish coach to a tobacconist , " he looks as though he should be selling you pipe, rather than being a football coach" , brilliant Adrian, just brilliant.

  • Comment number 42.

    If commentators really are at every game why does it sound so much like the commentary has been dubbed on afterwards and why is MOTD happy with this?

  • Comment number 43.

    Theres little wrong with MOTD apart from 2 things 1 it tries to cover too much ie lesser games but deeper coverage would be better and 2 You need to remove Alan Hansen. Hes utterly awful for a myriad of reasons and needs to be shown the door. Far too comfortable, far too sure of himself and far, far too long in the job.

  • Comment number 44.

    @33 Totally agree with you there.

    I think all of this "Person X needs to be sacked" and "I pay my license fee" needs to be reduced a bit. I think that Colin Murray is a decent host and better than Adrian Chiles was but he is still not brilliant. James Richardson would be an interesting addition to the team but it's unlikely to happen anytime soon. I agree with some people though, I think Motty is losing his touch.

  • Comment number 45.

    Theres only 1 person I would love to see on the MOTD 2 sofa. Levity, gags and a top ex-footballer to boot. Gazza!

  • Comment number 46.

    Dear Steve,
    I have not listened to MoD since moving to Sweden in 1981 (a pround year) but I well remember the gantry hanging above the shelf at WHL. My heart bleeds for you poor, frozen and much maligned commentators. But not knowing if you'll scroll so far as to read my humble note, I do feel a small moan coming on, especially after seeing last nights England-Sweden game. A great many Swedes names end in -son and my good sir it is indeed pronouced so, son, as in son of Sam, Sunday Bloody Sunday etc. It ain't pronouced -sen as in Senegal, center forward etc unless of course it is spelt so, as in the ex gooner, Jon "faxe" Jensen. So please kind sir, would you and all your hard done by, frozen to the bone and much maligned colleagues please refrain from trying to speak à la Scandinavian and call a son a son. I wanted to strangle last nights Sky man Who invented a whole new team for Sweden, Sebastian Larsen, Martin Olsen etc

  • Comment number 47.

    Really interesting article, good to hear about the commentary side as it is often taken for granted.

  • Comment number 48.

    #46. interested to know how you pronounce, I don't know, umm... let's say 'Barcelona' for example? Do you pronounce it as is customary to your language and the language spoken by people listening to you or do you fake a Spanish accent and pronounce it as if you're missing your two front teeth? Indeed, although I will concede that Swedish words are not overly difficult to pronounce on the whole, expect perhaps the 'sj' sound and a few others heard in and around Skane there are a vast majority of languages around the world where words without an 'English' equivilant would be nigh on impossible for English speaking people without sounding ridiculous.
    Whilst I understand your point I don't believe it is either down to ignorance or inability to pronounce 'Son', it is just that maybe there isn't any need to come across as trying to sound Swedish either.

  • Comment number 49.

    @22 - Gabriele Marcotti's accent is annoying. But he's not actually American at all. He's Italian born and bred. But I think he went to university in America. Hence that terrible twang.

  • Comment number 50.

    This article contains very little insight for anyone sad enough to care about what goes on behind the scenes at MOTD. And anyway, who actually thought that the commentators didn't go to these games? A nice tale from Moscow Steve, but a little more substance next time would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 51.

    Much better to switch the sound off and make your own mind up about the games or discuss with friends.
    I find it banal that the pre and post match analysis often takes 3-5 people to talk about the same things without adding value and then to also see they get paid for doing it at rates you couldn't believe. Hansen £40k Lineker £------- and as this is all paid by the taxpayer via the licence fee it makes it a mockery when a significant number of people in the UK are struggling to survive.

  • Comment number 52.

    #22 - I feel your pain.
    Tommy Smyth is a nightmare, not only a horrible accent (nothing against his origins, honest - just "his" accent is dire) but he cannot decide if he wants to speak in Americanese Football speak or English !! The goalkeeper was not "wrong sided" he was sent the wrong way. And it was at the taking of a penalty not a "PK" ..... I could go on!
    But be thankful that he is not their Number 1 anymore. At least not here in New York.

    Instead for the early kick-off in the UK which is usually shown by ESPN (around 7.30am New York time) we have Ian Dark and Steve McMannaman. Not exactly the dynamic duo, more like a poor man's Laurel & Hardy. Please someone tell them that they are NOT FUNNY and the banter they have between themselves is just drivel.

    Its great that we see more live football here with Fox Soccer and ESPN than I can back home in the UK but who remembers going to Majorca in the 80s and watching the 3pm Saturday game with the Spanish commentary turned off and Radio 5 Live turned up instead - Even better if it was the same game !!!

    Sorry to be off subject but we don't get MOTD2 here I am afraid so I dont even know who Colin Murray is..........

  • Comment number 53.

    So what if the BBC send commentators to every game? They just do the interviews. The commentary is done afterwards - at the start of every single game the commentator namechecks some player who will score or get sent off, the same with when a sub comes on. None of them are particularly good at feigning suprise either.

  • Comment number 54.

    Great article here, interesting to know, and great story about Moscow. Colin Murray I have really warmed to. Very relaxed and is perfect for MOTD2. Keep it up Colin.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm not advocating that we all learn to pronounce names correctly. As you point out it can be extremely difficult. Just a "yours bitter and twisted" gripe from me, as I hear it week in, week out on the EPL channel in Sweden from supposedly knowledgable commentators. I think its mainly because they seem to put so much emphasis on the -sen bit. Maybe i'll send Charles Manssen(sic) over to put them right. :)

  • Comment number 56.

    #53 Spot on. Drives me nuts too!

    I used to think Claridge was the worst commentator but Garth Crooks is by far the worst. He's constantly talking over other guests, insists on always being right even when he is blatently wrong, and is smug beyond belief. Pompous and arrogant spring to mind. What has he done in football anyway apart from get a Gotcha! from Mr Blobby. And can you also provide him with some shirts that fit him, not ones which fit him years ago please?

  • Comment number 57.

    #52 - haha I couldn't agree more, nothing against where he's from but why would you let him be the voice of your network I have no idea!
    You can tell his co-commentator is thinking - why me, I've pulled the short straw again!

    What is Andy Gray up to these days? Foxsports or ESPN should snap him up!

  • Comment number 58.

    I have to agree with all the criticism for colin murray. Irritatingly unfunny. Needs to keep his opinions to himself as he is clueless. Lineker brings class to the role of presenter by letting hansen etc get on with analysis. I don't want to hear murray and his snide comments thank you

  • Comment number 59.

    @56 - lol!

    Bring Andy Gray back!! Savage is horrific on 606. He supposedly "speaks his mind", but never really says anything particularly controversial. Just gets into pointless spats with callers. Used to like Mark Chapman, but even he's a bit annoying these days.

  • Comment number 60.

    I have always been a big fan of BBC football commentary. Given the choice of watching the same game on Sky, ITV or BBC - it's the BBC every time. It's not just the commentary either, the production is richer and less flashy, more concerned about the football and less about the graphics and the infernal thumping music and sound effects. If you can't get excited about the football, I say, don't bother watching! Only the terminally stupid need to be hit on the head with flashing lights and loud noises!

  • Comment number 61.

    As a commentator have you ever wondered what has been the most successful English footballing surname?

    I have compiled a list of which names have the most appearances in an England shirt.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm a big MOTD fan and I much prefer it to the offering's from rivals.

    However, one thing that does irk me, and irks me more as time goes on, is this constant need to keep telling you what's coming up, as if you're so fickle that you're going to change channel at any point.

    I've tuned in because I want to watch football, not the constant links telling me about football.

    It just takes time away from real action. How on earth is this justified Steve?

  • Comment number 63.

    Steve, I would like to know who your commentating role-model was?

    For me the greatest commentator ever was Barry Davies and it was a real shame he was mostly overlooked by the BBC for big finals in favour of John Motson. Davies had a wonderful authoritative feel to his commentary which was came about through his intelligence, insightful and often cutting remarks. His change of pace and tone at exactly the right moments combined with a great storytelling element stood him apart from his contemporaries like Brian Moore, who tended to just shout "IT'S IN THERE!" whenever a goal was scored.

  • Comment number 64.

    The biggest irk for me on the MOTD (1 and 2) is the lack of real tactical analysis. We just hear the same stilted rubbish from the pundits

    Time was Hansen would give create analysis, but some egghead in the BBC has vetoed that, hence Shearer's vapid input.

    They rarely disagree (when get three people in a pub discussing the same incident, they would) rarely have anything insightful to say, and I generally just fast forward all the comments now.

    Now, i'm not calling for job losses here, but maybe they could up the level a little bit? The people watching are football fans. We want more. Hansen is capable, maybe (?) even Lawrenson and Dixon.

    As far as the blog, it's interesting to hear about the commentary posts, but its hard to feel too much sympathy for those paid to watch football.

  • Comment number 65.

    *give great analysis

  • Comment number 66.

    Lawro is the best pundit



  • Comment number 67.

    Forget "...they think it's all over...", "...your boys took one hell of a beating", and so on and so on. The best piece of commentary ever has to be after Hatem Ben Arfa's goal for Newcastle against Everton at Goodison Park last season, surely?! "It wasn't even Arfa chance, but he didn't Arf take it well!"

    Take a bow, Steve Wilson!

  • Comment number 68.

    Regarding my post at #38. I've just checked the footage and it was actually Guy Mowbray that said USA wouldn't reach the final in a derisory manner. Apologies Steve.

  • Comment number 69.

    The format of The Football League show is the best, shows the goals and then chat for a little bit, no messing around, no cliches, no talking about set peices just goals.

  • Comment number 70.

    Interesting piece

    Onto the comments about MOTD. Well I like Colin Murray, yeah he's not always serious but he's a fan and I find him refreshing. As a Spurs fan I've got to agree that Lee Dixon is a really good pundit (gawd), he actually does make proper analysis as opposed to many of his colleagues who just highlight obvious things on goals - i.e Shearer. Hansen used to be good but he's gone spectacularly downhill and is now just a shadow of what he used to be with the odd traditional catchphrase. I don't mind Lawrenson, although his analysis isn't the best, he does actually seem to work hard - he's always on football focus or radio 5 too, whereas Shearer and Hansen only do MOTD1 unless there's a big game on the sunday in which case they show up.

    I always used to enjoy Pat Nevin as a pundit too, but he doesn't ever appear on tv unless its channel 5.


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