The Groundsman’s Shed


Euro2008 Marches On-Desailly shouting the whole way by groundsman
June 20, 2008, 4:19 pm
Filed under: BBC, football, France, punditry, pundits

Shed’s Note: Apologies for taking a few days off from my duties of diligently recording my idle observations on sport, but alas- the tainted tomatoes here in the U.S. got me, and I was confined to bed with food poisoning for a few days with nothing but an uncaring cat and even less sympathetic friends and neighbors to comfort me.

But that’s enough whingeing.  On with the tournament:

Last week, I asked for your round up of your favorite TV pundits, commentators, and hosts to form the Pundit’s Champion’s League.  Today, I would like to add another person to my illustrious list- the BBC’s Marcel Desailly, the former French national team captain. 

If you haven’t been watching the English coverage, Marcel just stands awkwardly inside the football stadium with some other bloke who’s only job is simply to ask him questions.  Because the unlikely pair are on the sidelines in a very full stadium, they are forced to scream at eachother- an interesting choice for a punditry setup, as Marcel’s English-as-a-second-language commentary is made better when he’s shouting it excitedly over the Austrian technopop pumped through the stadium speakers.   You may be able to barely hear or understand him, but with his genuine enthusiasm, uptown fade haircut, and quality international credentials, he’s a refreshing way to break up the clearly bored, clearly stuffy, and far too color coordinated Match of the Day team (excepting Martin O’Neill, of course.  He’s been fantastic this tournament).

Just wanted to note that.  I’ll be back in stride soon- still weak…must drink Gatorade.  …no, on second thought…champagne….



The Euro 2008 Pundit’s League by groundsman
June 14, 2008, 6:15 pm
Filed under: BBC, Euro2008, football, Gary Lineker, ITV, pundits, Setanta Sports, TV

As a football-loving American, I’ve often gone to great lengths to see broadcasts of live matches.  Justin.tv, Sopcast, various dodgy looking sites from China- I’ve scoured them all for English-speaking footy commentary at one time or another.   Though the Euro2008 matches are shown on ESPN, I would rather listen to vigorous elephant-on-pig action than hear Tommy Smyth’s often offensively ill-informed opinions, so I come to work to watch European television, or simply bask in the warm glow of my laptop. 

ITV and BBC are splitting the Euros coverage between them, and as one Guardian MBM commenter noted- there should be a tournament to decide who will continue to cover the matches, and who will agree to never appear on television again.  As we all know, a good television pundit is hard to find- and of course the term “good” is incredibly subjective (my apologies to anyone who worships at the Altar of Smyth), so I’m interested to find out who would be on your TV Football Pundit Dream Team.

My team?

Commentators: David Pleat (ITV) , Barry Davies (BBC-retired) substitutes: John Motson (BBC- I love old people), Mark Bright (BBC- gets emotional)

Pundits/Presenters:  James Richardson (Setanta Sports), Gary Lineker (BBC), Martin O’Neill (BBC), Rob Stone (ESPN), Andy Townsend (ITV),

Color/Feature Reporters: Adrian Chiles (BBC), Kelly Dalglish (Setanta Sports)

Yes, most of the BBC Match of the Day team are painfully boring and smug, ITV’s pundits are tolerable- but the inclusion of Sam Allardyce and his gold chains and ill fitting pants is distracting.  The only thing ESPN ever had going for its football coverage is Rob Stone, and even Andy Gray can’t do more than look upset at being stuck in Bristol, CT as an effort to cut costs instead of actually experiencing tournament action overseas. 

All said, who’s on your top team?