Scotsport SPL

Monday, August 16, 2004 by

The phrase car-crash television comes nowhere close to doing this excuse for a programme justice. Last week’s surreal opener set the tone of desperate incompetence for the forthcoming season – goalkeeper playing keepie-up? Check. Stomach-churning homoerotic hagiographical piece on a player no longer plying his trade in Scotland? Check. Second-rate journalist tinkling the ivories with a “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Elton John” medley? Check. Panel of pompous buffoons with no real grasp of the beautiful game? Check. Pass the gimp masks, this is serious BDSM territory that we’re entering here.

But, if the sad truth be addressed, there is no element of Scottish football with regards to media coverage – print, radio or television – that is anything other than mediocre. Our journalists are achingly average and not a one produces a single column inch that is worth reading. Historically, football on the TV has been dull but worthy but, in recent years, the product has become a complete turn-off. Whilst Match of the Day returns with a sly wink and a cheeky air of lovable √©lan, and Soccer AM and Soccer Saturday continue to raise the bar of football related entertainment, north of Hadrian’s Wall football coverage is naught but a desolate wasteland inhabited by a seemingly endless succession of talentless wastrels and a variety of broadcasters addicted to shit.

Scottish Television has long been considered the joke channel and, not surprisingly, this slice of stinking soccer suicide will do nothing to alter that popular point of view. Hosted by a man with no talent who, in turn, is assisted by a pair of court jesters – the token woman, natch (who, incidentally, really takes the phrase as much use as a chocolate teapot to a whole new level) and a bloke from up north who makes the woman look distinctly distinct but, nevertheless, manages to wear a blouse better – this is turgid, turgid stuff that really is soma for the masses. Watching it, I’m reminded of a brilliant scene in an early episode of Cheers in which Coach’s obnoxious, putative son-in-law brashly proclaims that baseball is a dead sport – it’s just that no-one has claimed the body yet. Hell, let’s get this cadaver to the morgue right now – and don’t stint on the gas.

Not content with foisting a goalkeeper playing keepie-up last week, they’re at it again this week too. I don’t know which rocket scientist engineered this weekly insert but he, or she, should be introduced to the singular joy of a car battery being wired up to the genitals immediately. Same goes for the audience. A crowd of less interesting, curiously dispassionate football fans you would be hard placed to find. Then again, being exposed the full glare of the toxic nonsense of this show would deaden the senses of even the most ardent footballing aficionado so we’ll let them off with the zombie-like appearance and litany of banal comments. Man alive, this is utterly appalling with not one single redeeming factor which, tragically for the viewing public in Scotland, is set to run and run.

Oh for the dulcet tones of Arthur Montford on commentary duty and the self-indulgent bombast of Alex “Candid” Cameron in the studio – a distant past still fondly dreamt of and one that still crowds over its bastard grandchild with a rightful air of wistful superiority. The formula to producing a decent football show is simple. Pity that the mathematicians of Scottish Television are all constipated and still trying to work it out with a pencil.


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