Ginola makes a stand against boring punditry
It’s a bad time to be a TV pundit. As BT Sport signalled all-out war on rival Sky Sports this summer, and in preparation of the upcoming line-up change on BBC’s Match of The Day, the pressure has proved too much for some, home and away.
October 21st, 2013
This weekend, BT Sport accidentally broadcast two instances of a rather rude hand signal which, lest this writer betray his calm dignified manner by explaining, simply asks you to recall the gesture you used the last time you were angry at a referee. This was the gesture made by former Spurs and Newcastle winger David Ginola during coverage of the Toon vs the ‘Pool game on Saturday, and again a day later by journalist Raphael Honigstein as he appeared on the channel’s Sunday evening magazine programme.
After presenters Jake Humphrey and Tim Lovejoy made fun of Ginola’s outfit during live coverage of Newcastle v Liverpool, joking that he’d have looked more presentable sitting behind a desk – because they themselves are the very epitome of cool – Ginola made a rude gesture behind Humphrey’s back to his fellow analysts, unknowingly still on camera; he apologised for it a few moments later.
Then, for the second time that weekend we were confronted with a similarly horrible sight; as James Richardson introduced his guests for another edition of Sunday Night Football. As if that weren’t horrible enough, guest Honigstein held up a finger to halt Richardson’s introduction before the shot changed to a medium of his making the exact same gesture. Richardson gasped his disbelief before moving on, and Honigstein was gone from the show following a commercial break.
Add in the shock of Téléfootgate on French TV last week, where Patrice Evra defended the bad rap he’d received of late by referring to a panel of pundits as “tramps”, as well as Adrian Chiles’ exceedingly off-colour remarks about Poland, and we’re getting into some rather dodgy territory!
So why, when everyone is getting all het up about an innocent joke told by the England manager to spur on some players, is nobody doing something about the people off the pitch? And by that, I mean the ones who are displaying a bit of personality for once in their lives?
Before and after those comments by Chiles – as awful and misguided as they were, and don’t get me wrong about that – wasn’t he just a part of the furniture for the rest of the time? Some would have it that these are the first hints of a personality that the man’s ever shown!
Evra has every right to call into the question the attitude shown him by men who are now paid just to criticise people without whom they wouldn’t even make a living. Maybe ‘tramps’ is a bit much but clearly something has been done to incense the man.
And as for Ginola and Honigstein – okay, I’ll admit Raph’s was rather unnecessary and without cause – but somebody had to do something! Both men claimed that they thought they were still in rehearsal; it really says something about the electric atmosphere which can be found at BT Studios if there’s precisely zero difference in the air between the cameras being switched on and off! This era of completely forced ‘banter’ and use of words like ‘banter’ is killing our appetite for the beautiful game. I do worry that the game of punditry has become stale, and I personally applaud these men – with the notable exception of Chiles; ignorance is no excuse – for trying to liven those stiffs up a bit.
All that remains now is to open a book on the next debacle; perhaps Robbie Savage will live up to his surname during a particularly stirring session of the 606 phone-in?