Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Inverdale

For the second Olympics in a row, the BBC have once again excelled in their coverage of the grandest sporting event, with their work in Rio de Janeiro largely being spot on.

Following on from the sterling effort produced in London four years previously, BBC are bouncing back from a number of years that questioned why they should be automatically gifted top sporting events, given their sub-standard coverage compared to other channels who had raised the bar.

Having promoted Clare Balding to lead anchor for the home games, things have improved immeasurably, but there still have been little bits for people to complain about. From the length of Helen Skelton’s dress to Chris Boardman’s rather innocent ‘sexist’ remark, there has been the odd minor slip-up – barring one clear blight to their coverage.

 

John Inverdale has long been at the forefront of anything BBC have done in terms of sporting coverage, with the exception of football, which has always had its own specialists dedicated to it.

Just four years ago, he produced one of those iconic moments of London 2012, sitting down and sobbing alongside Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase after the pair came in to claim silver in the lightweight double sculls in the rowing. It was a beautiful moment that encapsulated the mood of a nation that had completely taken the Olympics to heart and was so emotionally invested in the success of their own athletes.

It has proved to be something of a zenith in his career however, with the BBC’s consistently improving standards to match the world’s quickly modernised views leaving him solidly behind.

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Inverdale’s interview with Hunter & Purchase was a heart-warming moment from London 2012

This is no personal attack on Inverdale. He comes across as a well-meaning bloke, there’s no real malice in him, despite reminding me of Mark Lawrenson at times. But quite frankly he is an out-dated dinosaur in the world of modern broadcasting, seemingly kept along for sentimental value only to good old Auntie.

The flagrant chauvinism does rankle in a modern world where women are more than simply household objects, and should be judged on ability first, with so much time and effort having gone into becoming a superstar on the Olympic stage.

He has already been dropped from Wimbledon duties after claiming Marion Bartoli was ‘not a looker’. Sure, it’s something many of us men will have done while watching the tennis (because women love Rafa Nadal for his double-handed backhand, or David Beckham for his crossing ability!), but the difference there being we have not done so while in a professional capacity, live on national television. There’s a big bloody difference there.

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Inverdale’s comments on Bartoli saw him dropped from BBC’s Wimbledon coverage

His latest faux pas this summer seems worse however, being corrected by a clearly irked Andy Murray that he was not in fact the first tennis player to win consecutive gold medals at the Olympics, with both Williams sisters having already accomplished this feat.

This might have been a reasonable mistake had this been achieved 30 years ago, if still unexpected of a true professional. However this was so very recent, that this year had the big shock of seeing the Williams’ lose their first ever doubles match at the Olympic Games, as well as an unusual early defeat for Serena in the singles.

The comments of Bartoli’s appearance were one thing. This suggests he does not see women as equals in the sporting arena, that their achievements are not worth the same merit as the ‘real athletes’ and simply puts female sports on an inferior level, despite all the work by people to reach a standing of respect around the world.

 

Add in his comments on the riverbanks which once again went to the tired old joke of the Germans being the old enemy and you have a man who is so behind the times, he has no business representing our media on this great sporting spectacle. World War Two ended over 70 years ago now. Let’s move on shall we? Unless there is a bigger rivalry between Britain and Germany within the rowing community a casual observer like myself isn’t aware of?

This is not a case of political correctness for the sake of it. It goes far deeper than poorly-chosen jokes that could be deemed offensive and would usually be completed with a “no offense luv,” upon its delivery at some form of social gathering.

It might not be intentionally meant as an insult, in the same way that your grandparents might use phrases frowned upon in modern society now to refer to black people, with it having been a common term in their day. Regardless of whether it is said with malice, it doesn’t make it any less cringe-worthy. Especially when, as stated earlier, you are on national television with a microphone in your hand!

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Should Laura Trott’s achievements be respected any less than any male Olympian?

John Inverdale has shown constant disregard for women’s sport in general, seems to hold a genuine belief that it is inferior to others and will never change in that respect. How he can stand there and not feel that Laura Trott, Helen Glover or Sophie Hitchon have put in the same amount of time, effort, blood sweat and tears in as their male counterparts?

They have made the same sacrifices and every female Olympian out there deserves their respect for their endeavours. Given BBC’s array of up-and-coming bright and modernised presenters, commentators  and journalists, there is no reason for them to continue with Inverdale outside of perhaps the rugby.

You can’t teach an old dog to respect gender equality. Shooting him would be too far (he’s not Richard Keys bad after all), but it’s definitely time to severely restrict his duties. His purpose is run; bring on the new, hungrier and modern-minded batch of reporters.

 

Want further reading on Inverdale? These are both well worth a read:-

Daily Telegraph – Why does everyone hate John Inverdale?

Vice.com – What it means to be John Inverdale 

 

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TDD

It has been staple viewing for any football fan over the past few years to tune in to Sky Sports News and watch the drama unfold on Transfer Deadline Day, as clubs across England battle among themselves to get last minute business done and strengthen their squads ahead of the coming season.

It was entertainment for one and all to basically see these multi-million pound businesses realising that they hadn’t done their business correctly and there was still work to be done with just hours on the clock remaining. All by fax, apparently.

Sky Sports News was the place to be at on the final day of August and January, with their raft of reporters scouring the length of England to bring you the breaking news as and when every major deal broke and every surprise transfer leapt into materialisation.

But now it appears that the bubble has burst and it feels as though Sky Sports News has jumped the shark with it’s sensationalising of the final day of transfer dealings.

The people at Sky appeared to catch on to how popular the reporting of this day had become and opted to dress it up a little bit. Suddenly this was no longer a news programme, but had drifted into the realms of entertainment. The integrity of this news show has slowly disintegrated before our very eyes.

This has been something that has appeared to be on the way since HQ was added to the title of the channel, with the sofas and fancy gadgets supposed to engage the audience more and make it seem less of a ‘news’ show – but with Transfer Deadline Day, it really reached it’s zenith.

Even just those little things that drew us in at the start have slowly lost their appeal, becoming tired and repetitive to the point that you feel like it’s holding the show back. Any entertainment show (which this has become now) knows when a joke has become stale and freshens things up appropriately and it is time for SSN to address these things.

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A popular figure at first, Jim White has gradually lost favour with football fans

Things like Jim White to start off. At first there was a lot of charm to the way he got overly excited about the exchanging of contracts between two businesses, the way his voice leapt a couple of octaves upon the breaking of a rumour surrounding a Championship-based player.

It was endearing before the higher-ups sunk their claws into him, making him their designated face of Deadline Day and seemingly giving him a nudge to exaggerate those things that initially gave him appeal, taking it beyond a fun quirk into something far more annoying, as he now attempts to make beige details a fluorescent colour with his words.

For he is now stifled by the fact that things have changed within the football world. Clubs have gotten wise to the daft idea that they should attempt to fit in much of their major business within a 24 hour last-gasp window and now at least try to do their deals earlier on in the transfer window.

They will at least get things done in the final week of allowed business, leaving a host of highly-trained journalists shunted out around the grounds on Deadline Day repeating the same small titbits over and over again in a way supposed to draw some form of interest from the viewer.

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We no longer see this sight after fans took things too far last year

The poor sap stood at the Emirates merely repeating that Arsene Wenger hinted a couple of days ago that something, possibly could happen got the rawest of deals as Arsenal failed to so much as send a player out on loan on the final day of activity.

The man based at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground was faced with a similarly  soul-crushing task as he was entrusted with making young centre-back Tiago Ilori’s loan move to Aston Villa sound like a big deal, presumably cursing the fact he was even there, given the Reds had achieved their transfer business before June even came to an end.

Such was the paucity of things to actually report upon in those final two hours having drafted ‘the big guns’ on, that they even stopped to analyse the traffic numbers on the Sky Sports website, to strangely find that their transfer blog was the most widely visited page there. Quelle Surprise. The delved even further to find that Manchester United (the most widely followed British club worldwide) and their wrapping up of the Anthony Martial transfer was the most popular story from that blog. Cue millions of jaws dropping to the floor at that news.

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Kate Abdo felt wasted in the prime role this year without the rest of Europe involved

Having recovered our mandibles from the carpet, we saw Kate Abdo completely wasted in her role towards the end. Abdo specialises in being multi-lingual and being able to translate news breaking from around Europe, but with the transfer window having shut a day earlier elsewhere in Europe, there was little to do. Especially as we didn’t even get a Scouser to talk to throughout the day.

Why Natalie Sawyer was demoted into an earlier seems strange, as that cheeky, knowing way she presents helps counteract the human time-bomb that is Jim White, dialling back the seriousness of the triviality that surrounds us all without breaking Sky’s sensationalism of the event at hand.

The one plus point of the day was the banning of fans from surrounding the poor reporters stuck outside following the purple dildo incident, with the sad group of delinquents having gotten worse and worse as time has gone on, each doing their best to get their faces on TV, screaming at the top of their lungs that John Walters has signed for their club.

But the reality is that Deadline Day has jumped the shark, as there just genuinely isn’t the drama necessary anymore to dedicate ones’ self to a sick-day in front of Sky Sports News in the hope that something major will occur. Do we honestly think people would give a damn about THAT Saido Berahino tweet if it had happened a day previously? Or if anything interesting had actually happened?

Bringing in ‘esteemed guests’ to provide idle guesswork about everything and anything has done little to whet the appetite, as the whole format has become a very dull affair, in which the vast majority of the participants have devolved into parodies of themselves.

Sky Sports News’ coverage of Transfer Deadline Day is no longer essential viewing, with the mild scraps of information that do occur being able to be recounted in a brief 5 minute read.

This will at least save you several hours wasted in front of a television being shouted at by a man that believes in a hype that has long since died out, with Jim White simply a running, unfunny joke these days and actual news being pushed aside to make way for devolving sideshow that is football.

Grealish

It’s a story that seems as long and repetitive as time itself: Young player makes an impact, English media fights among each other to see who can create the most hyperbole about him.

Often it seems irrelevant as to his nationality – a youngster from abroad who excels immediately in the Premier League is greeted with a chorus of media complaining as to why the godfather of football cannot produce talent as exceptional as the young protege from sunny Spain/Germany/South America.

However, when the new kid on the block holds British roots, the reaction from those in the fourth estate’s sporting alumni becomes all the more ridiculous, with predictions of greatness cast upon them from the word go, one or two promising performances seemingly being enough to judge the way a player’s career is set to turn.

As England’s wait for major international honours grows longer and longer with every passing year, it has seen the media jump on any signs of potential from the up-and-coming in the country, clutching at the hope that they will turn into the next Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson or Paul Gascoigne.

We have already seen this happen once this season with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, with the promising form of the striker leading him to being dubbed the ‘saviour’ of English football.

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Harry Kane is another to have felt the pressure of media expectation

Any person with a cooler head and no requirement to sell papers will tell you that they are already awaiting next season to see as to whether Kane can follow up his feats for this campaign or whether he will turn out to be another one-season wonder, but given the Spurs striker had the audacity to go a couple of games without a goal, the media men and women have already started sourcing their next silver lining.

Tim Sherwood’s new look Aston Villa have caught the eye for the fact that they are not the dullest team to have ever played football anymore, and given the media-savvy manager’s penchant for giving younger players an opportunity, Jack Grealish has been granted a chance to impress.

Grealish did well in his first Premier League start as Villa drew 3-3 with QPR and again caught the eye as Sherwood secured victory on his return to White Hart Lane, but it is his performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final that has got the media drooling.

Grealish was very impressive as Villa defied the odds to make it through to the final, with the attacking midfielder heavily involved in both goals as the Midlands outfit triumphed over Brendan Rodgers’ side, indicating at a bright future.

However, the reaction has been excessive once again, with even the usually level-headed Daily Telegraph’s sport page (the BBC did likewise) led with the headline ‘Tug of War Over Grealish’, with there apparently set to be a major tussle between both England and Republic of Ireland for his services on the international scene.

And we are talking senior football here. Not for an under-21 call-up, with Grealish already representing the Irish at that level, as he has done for every age group, but with Grealish somehow warranting a place among established senior players.

Not let’s get one thing straight here: Grealish only made his first start for Aston Villa in January as he lined up in the third round victory over Blackpool and failed to start a single Premier League game until he was selected against QPR on April 7th. Or 2 weeks ago, at the time of writing.

QPR have been largely easy to impress against as an attacking player this season and Spurs were already in holiday mode by the time Villa beat them, so these were ideal opponents for a youngster to be thrown in and be able to make an impact, leaving just Liverpool as a performance to really purr about.

So one impressive performance on a big stage and there is already a ‘tug-of-war’ to ensure that England secure the services of Grealish for the future, again completely overlooking how he might develop over the next few years (and completely ignoring the performance of Fabian Delph, who was fantastic and already in the England squad).

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Grealish has represented Republic of Ireland at youth level

One can perhaps understand as to why Republic of Ireland want to assure themselves of his services, despite having nurtured him through the international system thus far: Grealish is by all accounts English. Aston Villa is his hometown club having been born in the Birmingham area.

Bur Ireland have repeatedly been forced to think outside of the box when recruiting players as their pool to choose from is quite slim, often seeking out parents or grandparents of players ignored in the England set-up. Now having been responsible for his international progress so far and having sounded him out about a senior call-up before, it seems only right that they would ask the question.

However, for England to suddenly be looking to convert him to play for them after not doing enough to get him to play for the youth levels of the country of his birth, based on a handful of decent performances seems excessive. There has been minor interest before, but not enough done to bring him into the England set-up.

That the media would start baying for him to be included in the next available squad just to prevent the possibility of him representing the Irish shows absolutely no forward thinking whatsoever.

Thrusting a young player into the senior squad this early can have detrimental effects to his progress and potentially his attitude. If he believes that he has achieved all he needs already and stops working on his game, then he will never develop into the next big thing and will join the ranks of average players with international caps.

Also there is the case of the player himself. If he doesn’t progress as some are expecting, or injury strikes and he is unable to replicate his early form, he will forever be saddled with an international career that merely equates to a ten minute substitute appearance, with the odds being that he might still be able to play regularly in the smaller talent pool that the Irish select from.

While it may be prudent on England’s behalf to perhaps to pull him aside and tell the player they are monitoring his progress and that maintaining his level of performance could result in a call-up sometime in the future; but a call-up and a cameo appearance just to stop him representing another nation is petty at best and detrimental to the player’s career at worst.

For the sake of both England and Ireland, it would be wise to just let the player be for a while. He has literally only just broken into the Aston Villa side and will firstly need to focus on keeping his place there before any promotions occur.

England has only recently seen how promoting a player too quickly can have a negative impact, with Ross Barkley having endured a difficult second season for Everton, frequently losing his place in Roberto Martinez’ side and looking less and less the heir to Gascoigne with every passing match.

Keep an eye on him and speak to the player by all means. But the media hysteria that surrounds a player merely stringing a couple of good performances together benefits nobody and needs to be dialled back if English football is ever truly to progress. Grealish is just 19 and at the very beginning of his Premier League career.

Leave him alone to enjoy that and develop first before getting into any international debates.

ITV4’s Bundesliga Show needs improvement

Welcome back to the glorious return of my media reviews! I acknowledge the best and brightest of those involved in sports reporting, while also clamping down on those who are not doing themselves justice.

This review falls in the latter however, as my beady of disdain has become fixed on ITV4’s coverage of the Bundesliga highlights.

First of all, I must say that it is a great idea for this programme to exist, as foreign football has barely featured on freeview television since the halcyon days of James Richardson presenting Serie A football on Channel 4, if you exclude Channel 5’s seriously late night coverage of South American football.

It should therefore be a wonderful example that great football does exist beyond the bordered walls of the Premier League, with German football actually being some of the most exciting and well-supported going at the current time.

Instead, we are left with a show that for all intensive purposes seems to merely fill some running time on a channel ITV feel is barely watched and that such a programme would of no interest to people who have The Greatest League In The World™ on their doorstep.

We’ll start with the presenter, whose name I didn’t catch and can’t seem to find out anywhere. Again, I will say kudos to ITV for searching out a German presenter, who will have a greater understanding of the game out there.

But for exclusively English television, they need a presenter who is completely fluent in English, as the broken delivery of the English language for one makes her difficult to fully comprehend at times.

She has also not learned the art of reading from a teleprompter without looking like she is doing so and it’s either her accent or a fact that she doesn’t appear to actually have any enthusiasm for the content she is presenting to us unlearned folks across the Channel. James Richardson, she is not and an Englishman who is fluent in German would have been a better choice.

We move now onto the commentary provided for the highlights and have the difficult challenge of trying to determine what they are attempting to do in this absolute shambles.

There are two simple ways in which to commentate on a highlights package. You can either take the route favoured by Match of the Day, in which you commentate over a highlights package in a live format, using a present tense, or you can use a past tense summary over the top of the action, imparting news/facts/figures to relate to the action as seen on Revista De Liga on Sky Sports.

ITV4 manage to fall somewhere between the two, somehow commentating in a live format, but in the past tense. It’s quite frankly amateurish at best and an insult to anyone who has had even the most basic broadcasting training.

It’s a fantastic idea and a programme that should exist, as there are many people who would love to watch it.

But in order to become a success, it needs a complete revamp, as the overall presentation is quite embarrassing for a station that has a lot of history in showing football programmes.

A new presenter, a lot of work on the commentary and a more prime slot in the running are needed to make this programme the success it could be.

How The Tabloids Work – Sports Satire

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Media

Leading football player, Steven Paidtomuch, looks to be heading for divorce, SamSport can EXCLUSIVELY! reveal.

Rumours of unrest within the striker’s marriage appear to be true, as a few inside sources have stepped forward to reveal the extent of the damage within the household, after the player was seen TALKING to a woman in a club last week.

This rendezvous was sealed with a passionate embrace (hug) as well as the player giving his phone number (or autograph, whatever) to the mysterious woman.

Whilst no comment has been forthcoming from the Paidtomuch household, it is expected that this has been the final straw in a turbulent relationship that once saw wife Sandra spend a WEEK at her mother’s hospital bed.

She has also been seen spending time with friends lately, meaning she must despise spending time with Steven.

Reginald D Bobbins, a homeless man in York, some 200 miles from the Paidtomuch household, claimed that; “the marriage seems to be over definitely.

“Steven, or at least a man that looked like him, dropped some change for me 3 months ago and since then I feel we’ve established a psychic connection.

“I can tell from this telepathic connection that he is deeply unhappy in the marriage and is considering filing for divorce. It’s the distrust of his wife that’s driving him mad.

“He also dislikes the puppy they bought recently.”

Despite the fact that the Paidtomuch’s only own a cat, this sounds like damning testimony to us.

Even closer to the situation is ‘Dusty’ Ford, who has sensed plenty of issues within the once happy home.

“I pick up the rubbish around that street and noticed that they hadn’t put theirs out last week.

“I once forgot to do that and the missus gave me the silent treatment for most of the day.

“Given that he earns 1,000 times more than me, I assume he’ll be in 1,000 times more trouble, which can only lead to an acrimonious divorce.”

With so much speculation over the future of this celebrity couple, people will want to know every move these two former lovebirds make.

Hence, SamSport will be stationing half of its photography team outside of their house in order to make sure their life becomes completely unbearable.

Since England’s miserable failure at the World Cup there has been a repetitive drum bashed by the nation’s media.

The resounding boom of ‘Capello Out’ from all and sundry has been deafening at times, despite being the most ridiculous of notions.

Now the collective toys have all been thrown out of the pram, and having asked for the geeky kid’s lunch money, they’ve now resorted to childish games in order to get their own way. All that remains now is for them to give Capello a ‘wedgie’.

Given the amount of other excuses the media have trotted out for England’s reported failure, it hardly seems fair to then lay the blame at the feet of the Italian.

Boredom, tiredness, altitude – These have all been attributed to England only reaching the second round of the World Cup, none of which can be attributed to Fabio Capello.

You’ll remember Glenn Hoddle achieved the same ‘achievement’ in 1998, falling to Argentina in the second round on penalties. However, Hoddle was spared the ire of the tabloids, at least until he made some rather crude remarks about the disabled.

He was at least allowed to start the next qualification poorly before being ousted from the hot-seat.

So it smacks slightly of xenophobia from the influential writers, who never seemed too keen on a foreigner managing the English side, despite having hounded out Steve McClaren and demanded a manager of proven quality.

Look around England, and you will struggle to find a manager capable of all this.

Stuart Pearce? A member of Capello’s back-room team and cannot be absolved of any of the blame reportedly being put on the Italian’s shoulders. Harry Redknapp? That sole FA Cup fades woefully into comparison with Capello’s league titles in two countries, in addition to a UEFA Champions League trophy. Redknapp is only competing in the Champions League for the first time in his career.

Other candidates represent a mish-mash of managers who have made their living trying to break into the top half of the Premier League. Not exactly awe-inspiring.

So now we look at the players. They are the true reason that England are failing, yet they remain respected by the media, who need them for their sound-bites and quotes. Chasing Capello away will result in him disappearing back to Italy, where he would become of little interest to them anyway.

The media have of course blamed Capello for his choices, but in general it is accepted that he picked the best he could from the lack of talent being produced.

The only arguments would be in regards to the omission of Theo Walcott in favour of Shaun Wright-Phillips, whilst others would suggest room should have been made for Adam Johnson, the man keeping Wright-Phillips out of the Manchester City side at the time.

They want new players to be brought into the squad, but only on the basis of going against a reason they applauded Capello for in the early stages of his tenure.

Capello wanted players who were fit and in form for their clubs. This made perfect sense, as opposed to picking players based on reputation, despite that plan falling apart once the World Cup appeared.

Jack Rodwell is one repeatedly mentioned (particularly by Henry Winter), but he has failed to nail down a starting role in the Everton squad as yet. Promising player, yes, but can in no way be expected to hold down an international place before that club role is more regular.

Again, a lot of fuss was made about the absence of Jack Wilshere in the latest squad, despite his two starts for Arsenal including a lack-lustre performance against Liverpool and being the only outfield player in the 6-0 hammering of Blackpool to be fairly unnoticeable.

This follows on from Capello seemingly ending the international career of the severely injured, 34-year-old David Beckham. This was met with outrage, retiring the most elderly member of the England side in order to bring the aforementioned youth through.

The media reaction was so contradictory to their initial demands after the Word Cup. It suggests there is nothing Capello can do right, even if it’s exactly what they want.

If we then move on to the Sun’s childish name-calling in a recent edition, calling Capello ‘gormless’ and a ‘jackass’ in addition to mocking up Capello in a pair of donkey’s ears.

This is ‘journalism’ of the lowest common denominator and in no way does it help to inform the public. It is just a pathetic tantrum from people who have failed to get their own way.

Honourable mentions must go to Football365.com and Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail for their criticism of their peers, despite the latter’s ‘Mr Muddle’ headline of a fortnight previously smacking of hypocrisy.

But on the whole, the media has resorted to a repetitive and childish manner in their bid to remove Capello from his duties.

Gentlemen, accept that he is the England manager. Until that situation changes, look in the mirror and realise you are as much as part of the problem as that ‘gormless’ Italian incumbent.

Sky Sports have long had the market cornered when it comes to football broadcasting.

Their revolutionary approach to televising more matches helped usher in the era of the Premier League and bring football into a far more commercial era, capable of generating millions of pounds every year.

However, every revolution has its honeymoon period before the people start questioning the new dictatorship’s regime.

This time is now and the peasants of TV-land are restless once again, as it seems Sky have become rather complacent with their coverage of the ‘Best League In The World ™’.

For long has this been coming. The return of Monday Night Football on Sky Sports this past week demonstrated how poor the coverage of ‘Super Sunday’ has become, as Andy Gray took to the studio to offer a constructive analysis of the games played, as opposed to just parroting clichés.

Even Saturday football has proved a hit, with Ben Shephard proving a fantastic acquisition from GMTV.

Shephard has brought an experience from morning television, keeping things simple, yet interesting and informative. His dealings with an array of guests allowed him to maintain a series of probing questions, designed to get something insightful from his company.

Which brings us to ‘Super Sunday’. First things first, I won’t be having a pop at the in-game commentary, as Martin Tyler and Andy Gray are still head and shoulders above anyone else in that respect.

It is the studio stuff, pre-game, half-time and post-match that falls under my ire. Richard Keys has proven on Monday nights that he can offer insightful questions to Andy Gray, allowing him to demonstrate his knowledge, so his performance on a Sunday afternoon is just baffling.

It is the introduction of Jamie Redknapp to the team that has proved Sky’s undoing. His views often border on the childish, offering opinions you could gather from anyone in your local pub, regardless of how many they’d had to drink that day.

And yet Keys is restricted to the whim of Mr Redknapp. Could he possibly ask a more probing question that might leave him stumped and looking foolish? No chance, not for Sky’s new diamond, who was likeable as a player, provides a presentable manner and always has something to say, regardless of how irrelevant is it.

Occasionally, a guest who can provide something bordering insight will be invited onto the show, but will end up being shouted down by the overly excitable Redknapp.

A lot of insight from Redknapp you feel is bound by his personal loyalties. Is he going to give you anything on father Harry’s occasional tactical failings? Is he really going to point out the rare occasions that Frank Lampard has a shocker?

Redknapp is too contacted for this role. While that might seem ideal for Sky in getting guests into the studio, it leaves him being unable to point out negatives in the game without offending a friend of his. Thus we are treated to roughly an hour’s worth of snivelling, sycophantic ‘analysis’ that has started to define Sky.

Then we get guests like Paul Merson, leaving Keys to sit and watch as the two spent the opening Sunday fixture of the new campaign seemingly having a competition to see who was less informed. It was a footballing ‘stupid-off’.

Throw in a clear bias to keep the ‘Big Four’ happy and you have a programme that does nothing but insult the viewers’ intelligence and offer such bland critiques.

We the fans deserve better than this coverage. Unfortunately, given Sky’s incredible wealth, power and influence, there seems little anyone can do about this.