Reading v Arsenal. Commentary by Dumb and Dumber (Ian Darke and Steve McManaman)

Reading v’s Arsenal. Commentary by Dumb and Dumber (Ian Darke and Steve McManaman)

Cameron Wolfe selects the commentators’ best quotes from the game as available in North America.

Arsene Wenger is feeling the heat after Arsenal’s embarrassing cup exit against 4th tier Bradford last week.

Reading are in trouble but Arsenal are the real talking point in all the newspapers and on the radio.

Three changes to the team surprisingly knocked out of the league cup last week by Bradford.

 (So we’re two minutes in and they can’t stop mentioning the league cup defeat)

Reading are bottom of the league now but Arsenal are not at their best just now. So they have a good opportunity tonight Reading if their really at it and have a good attitude.

(So Reading are currently bottom. They haven’t beaten Arsenal in their last ten attempts but he thinks Reading can beat Arsenal tonight if they get at them? Oh no sorry “have a good attitude”)

Much focus on Arsene Wenger plenty of debate. Fans are split it seems that his distinguished time at the club might be coming to an end. Although some think he needs more time after all the trophies he’s brought to the club.

(So looks like Arsene is on his way out again. Feels like it’s every week he’s going to be sacked)

Looks like they have two jet healed players tonight playing in Walcott and Chamberlain. They were missing that at Bradford. It was painful to watch or at least it was in you were an Arsenal fan.

(Strangely enough I watched the whole game on Arsenal player even though I knew the result. Extra time and the penalty shoot out. I didn’t find it painful to watch I thought we were unlucky not to win the game. The only painful thing for me was the result.)

Arsenal are desperate for the win tonight to stop the radio phone inquests going on again.

Reading have a corner so it’s time to start talking about Arsenal’s shaky defence. Or in their words it’s not been that “Firm”

Podolski scores.

Now it was all too easy because Reading aren’t closing us down. Not too much talk about what a good move it was or cross from Gibbs for the goal. Or how well Podolski took the ball down and scored.

It’s all about how Reading are disorganised. In the background the Arsenal fans are in good voice.

The cameraman shows Steve Bould.

I think Arsenal have been angry a little about a few reports that Steve Bould isn’t getting on with Arsene Wenger. He isn’t getting enough of a say in the coaching. I don’t think they liked that publicity last week. Unsurprisingly they say everything is hunky dory. On that front anyway.

If he’d watched the pre Reading interview by Arsene he would have heard Arsene say that the rift is all lies made up in the newspapers.

Theo has a clear cut chance to put us two nil up.

That’s so poor from Reading. Walcott had a good chance there. He should’ve took it round the keeper who did very well there.

So far it’s too easy for Arsenal. They should’ve been two nil up if Walcott had scored. Reading know what Arsenal weakness is. They should be attacking the centre backs.

Almost half an hour gone and TV5 makes a great block and it’s the first time it’s been acknowledged that it was a great piece of play from us tonight.

Arsenal did win their last Premier league game. Despite all the bad publicity about the Bradford result. They beat WBA 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium but they’ve only once won back to back matches this season. That tells a bit of a story.

(To me it’s bizarre that the WBA result would be lost amid the Bradford result since it happened at the weekend before we played Bradford? I suppose you can make it all fit nicely if it serves your purpose?)

Yeah. They’ll be kicking themselves if they don’t win tonight.

They’ve been dominant tonight but only one goal to show for it.

Santi pops up and scores the second.

(Maybe we won’t have to kick ourselves now?)

 So instead of talking about how well we’re playing and we’re two nil up. They talk about the champions league draw and it’s McManaman who’s doing the draw. YAWN!

Then Santi pops up and scores his second but again it’s all about how bad Reading are playing. It’s three nil with only just over half an hour gone. Shouldn’t it all be about how good we’re playing?

Reading really need half time. Reading look shell shocked. Looking at how they’re playing their relegation candidates.

The keeper looks exposed and he’s had to able out the defence several times.

In the background the Arsenal fans are in good voice.

Walcott still hasn’t signed a new deal yet. He’s got his wish tonight playing down the middle although he still hasn’t scored yet. They say he’s going to sign a new contract but they said that about Nasri, Fabregras and RVP.

It doesn’t look good does it? The fact that he can sign for someone else in just three weeks. I’d like to know what’s in his mind and whether he’s been approached by English teams or teams form abroad. The only reason to move is too excel yourself.

Whilst this debate is going on Jack has been brought down by a high foot.  (yellow card)  If only they had been watching they would’ve known this but no let’s talk about Theo signing for some other team. Still not much of a mention of how well we’re playing tonight.

They’re back to talking about the Bradford defeat and how bland we were that night. Shock horror.

Oh no. they must be reading the wrong script because they just mentioned Arsenal are playing well tonight but……

As much as Arsenal are playing well tonight it’s all down to the ineptitude from Reading. They’ve also lost at Norwich and Man.U too.

So far shots on target 7-0 to us.

I said this before go and close the players down. Go and kick one of their players. Go and influence the play.

It’s disgusting to hear an ex player think that kicking another player is a great way to influence the game.

Yeah. Arsenal once conceded the lead in a four four draw up at Newcastle but I couldn’t honestly see that here.

Sounds like that’s exactly what he’d like to see.

Half time.

What a performance form Arsenal. They’ve answered their critics they’ve been electric but Reading have stood back and let them do it.

What do we have to do to get credit for how well we’re playing? The movement has been very good in the first half.  Gibbs has been a real threat down the left and there seems to be plenty of support from the midfield when we’re going forward.

Unfortunately they don’t see it like that as during the halftime talk it’s the great Reading post mortem.

Twitter question at halftime.

Should Theo be given the chance to play through the middle?

No. He played well last year when they had RVP up front. Giroud and Podolski both flatter to deceive so maybe yeah he should.

That’s’ if he’s still there to play up front.

So that starts off as no but by the end of the sentence it’s yes then added by the other one if he’s still there. Nice!

Arsenal are full of it. If their confidence needed it a boost after recent developments their certainly getting it here.

Guess the recent developments is that Bradford game again?

Amazingly since the start of the second half it’s still all about how Reading are playing and their position in the league. Their even talking about how well Harry’s doing at QPR.


Arsenal’s record so far going into this game. Six wins six draws and four defeats. Which is why they find themselves eighteen points of the lead and only fifteen of the bottom. So there nearer to the bottom than they are the top. Hard to credit but it’s true.

Honestly. He should be talking about how we’re dominating this game. Since this is the game that their supposed to be commentating on. No let’s start analysing how our season is going so far and how bad it’s been. According to them anyway.

Now their talking about Readings tactics for this evening and how their getting them wrong. Suddenly it’s better for Reading because their getting a “foot in”.


Arsenal have been very solid at the back.

It must stick in his throat saying that.

I’ll bet there are many North American fans enjoying this after they’re endured so much.

Yep. I’m enjoying it. The only thing not enjoyable is the commentators.

Santi pops up again with the fourth and his well deserved hatrick. Only surprise so far is that Theo hasn’t managed to rip Reading apart up front.

Shots so far 15-2

We’re back to talking about Reading.

Reading score.

Here we go. They’ve got one back. Let’s see what they can do now.

Well. Arsenal came back from four down.

So we’re off and running again. They’ve got one back and their almost willing Reading to score more and prove them right.

Reading score again and shock horror it’s all about the great Reading comeback. It’s all Reading at the moment. Sounds like I’m watching this match on Reading TV.

Maybe I should mute? No I’d miss all this fun.

If Reading get another one. It’ll be a great finish. Reading has been transformed.

Those Arsenal fans are just starting to wonder. We can’t mess this up. Can we? Well you can only imagine the type of publicity will follow this if they do.

Arsenal fan are back to singing loudly in the background.

Which always sounds good.

Vermaelen plays it forward. Of course it was his missed penalty that insured the shoot out defeat at Bradford. I think there is no doubt that Arsenal have a flaky side to them these days?

Oh yeah. They’ve been poor which is why it surprised me that it took Reading sixty five minutes to get at the Arsenal defence.

I swear Ian Darke is obsessed with the Bradford game. So granted we had some good comments fro a couple of minutes when we went four nil up but that’s by the wayside now. We’re back to how poor we are and how Reading can get something from this game.

Mertesaker has his critics but you don’t win eighty odd caps for Germany unless you’re pretty good. Although some people wonder did Arsene sign him as he’d just gone past his best?

I think Arsene may have to look and change his thinking at how he buys in the transfer market. Seems like the Arsenal fans are concerned that they’re settling for second best at the moment and not really being there for the silverware. Just aiming for the top four and having a healthy bank balance. Maybe a little reminder that it is a glory game?

Epitomises everything I can’t stand about commentators.

I’ve said it before. The fans would rather see the team a £100m in debt if they were winning trophies.

Just like Real Madrid do every year to sign players just like you? I think you’ll find it’s a lot more than £100m though. Just ask Man. City?

Theo scores the fifth. Great pass from Santi.

We’re neutrals. All we want to see is goals.

Yeah. We’re definitely neutrals.

If only that was true?

They share a joke about Santi’s penalty against WBA as he’s substituted.

Laugh. I almost did.

Arsenal have only won two in their last seven going into this one.

Theo’s off.  Giroud’s on.

Giroud’s played on through the middle and almost lobs their keeper. Who in all honestly should have been their man of the match? Without his saves it would have been more like 9-2.

So the last time these two were commentating for me was the 5-2 demolition of the Spuds. In that game as in this you wouldn’t have thought we had been so dominant. If you were listening to this on the radio instead of watching it on TV you would honestly believe that Reading had half a chance of pulling this game back. In reality though. Although they did come more in to the game after they scored their first goal. They never looked like getting anything from this game at all. Unless of course you’re one of the above neutral commentators who were willing them to pull this game level. Maybe they did want it to finish 7-4?

Table shows we’re up to fifth two points behind those Spuds.

Come on Stoke.

Let’s hope for the same level of performance up at Wigan on Saturday.


The books…

The sites…


51 Replies to “Reading v Arsenal. Commentary by Dumb and Dumber (Ian Darke and Steve McManaman)”

  1. cameron……haha.

    I think we should start a TV review section here.

    Its all negative we get to hear from these guys. Every word they say, makes me more a Gooner.

  2. At least we don’t pay these clowns, I have far more problems with the BBC reporters such as Alan Green (vile, vile little man), Alan Hansen (mr Cliche), Lawro (does he even like football?), Robby Savage (Doh) etc; I pay their salaries through license fees!

  3. Wouldn’t it be perfect if the sound for a game came in two ‘layers’ – the commentary and the stadium sound – and you could turn either of them off at will?

    Ian Darke is a prize twat who NEVER says anything good about Arsenal and the Scouser – well, ’nuff said.

  4. It could have been worse, Robson could have been commentating!!! On the positive side Gary Nevilles analysis of Arsenal what a refreshing change fair unbiased comment with a sound in-depth look at what the problems are and how Arsenal can get better without spending Gazillions; I wish we could have more commentators showing the same rational thinking.

  5. …What do we have to do to get
    credit for how well we’re
    playing?… Sometimes the answer eludes me too. The press just have it in for us. Why? I dont know.

  6. I had two HD streams working. one was ESPN’s with ian darke & steve mcmanamanan as comnentators. the other one was spanish stream. I opted for the spanish one. all I could comprehend was player’s name and all those ecstatic ‘goalllllll’ from the spanish comnentators.

  7. Unfortunately I have to suffer these two muppets too.
    Apart from the obvious. What irritates me about these two are their constant jokes between each other.
    Mcmanaman spent minutes defending his beloved Liverhoof and the draw of the next stages of the Champions league draw that he’s involved in.
    Seriously when I’m watching the game you just want to hear about the game. You can just do without them waffling on about anything about the match.
    I’d be a shame to watch the match without the sound as I feel you miss the atmoshpere. Especially when the Arsenal fans are singing.
    When it went to 4-2 you could tell they wanted Reading to make a glorious comeback.
    Dream on.

  8. Hmm… what did you expect from Ian and Steve? A PhD thesis on Bayesian inference? It is entertainment industry after all.

  9. If that is what you had to sit through, Im glad I had Gary Neville as a pundit, never thought id ever write that? Sky’s coverage of the game was fairly balanced which I attribute to Mr Neville.

  10. Think Neville fast becoming in a league of his own for punditry Adam, he was always the most biased, even tribal of players, but he is now showing another side, as he undoubtedly is with the England team…or at least I hope he is!

  11. Mandy Im not the only one to notice this about Neville, a few people on here have commented on his analyses, even before the game but in all honesty its easy to find fault with the outdated 442 system.
    What surprised me about Neville was his defence of Arsene and Arsenal.
    I would like to ask Gary Neville about his views on that game which ended our unbeaten run, get him to analyse that game from the studio, see what he comes up with then? Still got hard feelings about that.

  12. @ Adam
    Was never a Neville fan. In fact either of them. Having said that if Gary is carving a new media career out then it’s nice to hear he’s being more balanced.
    I suppose it’s different now he’s retired from playing althoguh I’m sure it’s harder for him being impartial with a Man. U game?.
    Where those two commnetators that I have to endure irritate me is that they seem to think it’s their show and we tune in to listen to them.
    It couldn’t be further from the truth.

  13. Woody, I honestly feel Mr Neville is trying to get good information across to his audience, which is refreshing.
    I was never a fan of either brother, wished they’d stuck to cricket, but hey ho. Don’t mind either now. Still, would like his honest analyses of that invincible ending game.

  14. @Adam

    I agree with your comments; Neville the player was a completely different personality (or animal) to Neville the pundit. Also, he seems to have the courage to buck the current fashionable trend of attacking Arsenal/Wenger at every opportunity. Lets hope he can continue to be his own pundit.

  15. @Woody, I see no reason for him to change, He’s a multi-millionaire does not need the money. Doesn’t really need to be doing what he is. So I too hope he can carry on as he is.
    He shows respect towards his former competitors but also highlights where we are lacking without being overly negative.
    Now I sound like im in love with the bloke. Still wished he’d stuck to cricket.

  16. Sorry BJT I need to get my glasses sorted I thought woody replied. Your avatars don’t even look alike. Specsavers it is tomorrow.
    BJT did you fall asleep reading all that junk I sent you.

  17. Thanks for the article Cameron.

    We had Gary Taphouse and Paul Walsh in the Australian feed. They weren’t too bad, although I have only watched part of the first half so far. I tried to do a full transcript of everything they said, but after a few pages I gave it up as a pointles activity. I think your method of taking choice snippets is the best way to display the commentators bias.

  18. @ Sav
    I honestly just cherry pick the worst/best comments if not it would drive me crazy having to actually contentrate on what they’re saying. Plus it would be about nine pages long if I wrote everything that spewed from their mouths.
    I’ll try and see how the others are compared to these two. Unfortunately it seems that most of my ESPN coverage is done by them.
    Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the commentators fawning over the team or the display. Unless it warrants it but I just want a balanced view of the match. Concerning both teams.
    Last night we only got a small amount of credit from them and that was down to how poor Reading were or at least that’s what they kept talking about most of the game. When it got to 2-4 you could almost hear them wetting themselves at the thought this could end up as a draw or even god forbid a defeat for us.
    Impartial/neutral they are definately not.
    What gets on my nerves is clearly highlighted in the above comments from them where they negatively concentrate on things like the Bradford game. Or speculate on whether or not certain palyer will come or go. This could all be spoken about in the context of the match but it never is. They focus on the negative side of the Club all the time.
    Seemingly in North America next season it’s NBC so hopefully they’ll employ their own commentators but I have the feeling they’ll just use what’s available to them in the UK.
    Time will tell.

  19. @Adam

    It could have been worse – you could have mistaken me for the rupert!! That would have been serious!!

    I have read through some of the info – the bits I have not yet read are probably the more interesting sections. I will revert when I get through the rest.

  20. @ bjtgooner

    This comments page is Rupert free so far. Please let’s keep it that way.

  21. Peter,

    You used to be able t have just the sound of the crowd on Sky, I believe they have removed this option now so its either listen to the drivel or mute (unless you can find a decent radio station with full coverage of course)

  22. I just pause the tv until it is inline with Arsenal’s online commentry, which is usually 20-40 secs behind, depending on where I’m marooned in the world.

  23. Watched and listened to the same channel but I must say you’re stretching to pull this one out. Mcmanaman and darke went out of they’re way to point out they’re neutrality, and although this will often mean the opposite in this instance I found myself consciously noting (however reluctant) the veracity of that statement. They wanted to see goals, see two teams playing to their strengths for the points. And goals, lots of those.

  24. @ Poogs
    Going to disagree on this one. The fact that they stated they were neutral and wanted to see goals. Doesn’t change the fact that at every oppertunity they knocked us. Darke couldn’t stop himself from mentioning the Bradford game and when the second Reading goal went in they were willing them to score more. Not for the entertainment value but so they could wallow in our downfall.
    I unfortunately have to constantly listen to them and they definately have an anti Arsenal bias.

  25. @bjtgooner, still claim I stab people in the back on a public forum? Your iq is less than the points we have in the league.

    Really what do you expect commentators to say? I haven’t got time to deconstruct everything you say but here’s a few points:

    Reading get a goal back and the pair ask what Reading can do now and remark on Arsenal coming from four down. In what way is that willing Reading to get a goal back? It’s an anodyne observation based on the fact that we conceded 5 to these bottom of the league feeders a few weeks ago.

    “Arsenal have been very solid at the back”. Why does that stick in his throat? You’re making an assumption. Even when they praise Arsenal you make it sound like a criticism. Exactly what that clown bjt does when I praise the team.

    Reading score two goals and it’s all about Reading. Well of course it is. If Arsenal were in the same situation it would be all about them.

    Arsenal have been electric but Reading have stood back and let them do it. Fair point as Reading were utterly dire. He’s giving us credit whilst bemoaning the lack of quality from the opposition. A reasonable observation.

    Arsenal conceded four at Newcastle but the commentator claims he couldn’t see that here. And yet you make the assumption that he would like to see that. Again a reasonable comment somehow becomes one you disagree with because you have an agenda.

    Fine these two maybe crap commentators but you sound like you’re conducting a witch hunt.

  26. @ C 4- I always thought it was “2 pea-brains in a pod “.

    @ Woody – Some disgruntled gentleman once remarked that the worse thing about C**t is that they all belong to women !
    And gals ,it wasn’t me who said that !

    And talking about c**t (What’s that ? We weren’t ? Oh well..)
    A priest was once doing the crossword puzzle on a train and the woman seated next to him noted that he appeared redfaced and flustered .She asks him what the matter was .
    Blushing and hestitatingly he tells her that he is unable to finish the puzzle because of the last word .So she asks him what the clue was .
    Gulping ,he says ,” Its a four letter word ending with _unt . And the clue is ‘ decidedly (definitely) feminine ‘ .”
    She says ,”Thats easy – its aunt !” .He glups again and asks,
    ” Do you have a rubber ( an eraser )on you ? It seems I’ve written the wrong word !”

    Just an example that men and women are ‘wired’ differently , no matter the profession !

    And @Cameron – LIKE ! LIKE !LIKE ! Thanks !

  27. @ bjt & Woody
    Oh come on, just this once? You cunt tell me… Sorry, I mean you can’t tell me they don’t deserve it?
    Oh crap, that’s twice now. Back to the “family show” then.

  28. @ Brickfields
    Lol, that 1 gets a like from me as well. I’m not sure I’d have got that crossword correct either.

  29. Thanks cameron,if you look into the archives ive been complaining about the commentators for a while instead of doing there job oh boy they just gossip. @Wolfe even if the match is not arsenal’s they keep coming up on us and talking all the crap you can think of.
    Win @Wigan and we will shut up their mandibles .

  30. A very good article.Much enjoyed.The media want either us or City to slip up.They must have been guttted when City won on Saturday and in the manner they did.So it was all eyes on us.You can predict what is coming.If we get Barcelona in the draw it will be AW fault.All the media will say is ask why we never put out a total ist team for the match.As someone has mentioned before we even get blamed for something when we win!

  31. Again, like your last post Cameron, really don’t see the controversy here. Basically it seems like unless pundits are praising AFC (which since they are not fans) then they are dumb and dumber and cunts and all that.

    What’s the problems with their references to all the stories in the news recently, and the fan unrest (some segments), the loss to Bradford etc? Are they not supposed to talk about this? It’s out there being publicly and widely discussed daily, Darke or McManaman didn’t make it up.

    You have a problem with being 2 minutes into the game and they are still mentioning Bradford in the context of Wenger stating publicly that we needed a response in the Reading game specifically as a result of what happened at Bradford, our last game? And it is a big story, with AFC being knocked out of any cup comp by a league 2 side, I could understand your gripe if 5 games later they were still talking about it during a match, but it was our last game played, of course it would be referenced throughout this broadcast, as it would if it were another team involved.

    What’s the problem with saying that AFC with everything going on is a bigger story than what’s going on at a considerably much smaller relegation threatened club in Reading. Obviously it is.

    However McMananman and Darke also discussed Reading’s situation and were critical of their set up in that they relied and are relying to much on the Championship quality players who got them promoted, but needed more premier league level players to keep them up etc…

    And Erm yes, Reading especially in the first half were extremely poor, and regardless of their comparitive lack of quality they made it far easier for us that it arguably should have been, where other comparable low quality squads often give us trouble by making up for their lack of quality with mroe endeavour, none of which Reading displayed for 3/4s of the match! It’s wrong to note that obivous thing?

    Talking about a possible Reading comeback when they notched a couple goals with some decent time left on an AFC side that has let some pretty poor comebacks happen against them in recent years? They shouldn’t talk about it? They shouldn’t try to gin up their audience with the possibility? They have a responsibility as commentators to do that especially when the match looked all but dead before. That’s their job!

    Funny I watched the Cup game (on another channel) when we defeated Reading 7-5 and when we scored just before half time the commentators were doing what commentators do, talking about a possible AFC comeback, and they talked about it more after the second and so on.

    They also talked alot about CL draw? So what? That’s a bad thing? I guarantee you that there is no football match commentry that doesn’t at some point involve discussions about other things affecting the two participating clubs at some point(s) during the broadcast. Sheesh.

    Also regarding this…: “I’ve said it before. The fans would rather see the team a £100m in debt if they were winning trophies.” To which Darke responded something to the effect of..”some of them” why was that not included in your summary?

    And this..”We’re neutrals. All we want to see is goals.” Darke/McManaman say that only practically every single ESPN broadcast regardless of who is playing!

    And unless I missed it, curiously your summary doesn’t mention McManaman stating (as he had done often before on ESPN) that Wenger is a genius (talking about how he revolutionized English football etc etc), and he deserves to stay as long as he decides, with Darke pretty much agreeing with that. Why not?

    Sorry Cameron, with all due respect this column which appears as though it will be a feature now is pretty weird. Commentators are not paid to report as fans of the two clubs, I’m sure any fan of any club in any and every single broadcast of their team, could write a similar column with commentators not always saying glowingly positive things about their teams.

    Really don’t get the point of this especially if you are deliberately leaving out many of the positive and in some case glowingly positive things they said about AFC and Wenger in particular during that broadcast, or deliberately leaving out moderating/positive responses that one made when the other said something you cherry picked as negative , nor how any of this affects actual Arsenal Football Club and our performances on and off the field.

    To Untold, I live in the states, I watched this broadcast and every ESPN broadcast (with Darke and McManaman often) of AFC in the states, and this summary is deliberately selective, incomplete and designed to elicit the exact responses that it did, and on a bigger picture, Darke/McManaman are often and regularly complimentary to Arsenal and Wenger in particular, and the author should know that.

    Gulp up this summary as gospel if you want, I know from seeing this and all of their (Darke’s/McMn’s) AFC and non-AFC ESPN broadcasts that it’s deliberately inaccurate, especially given how complimentary these two in particular often are to AFC and Wenger specifically.

  32. @ Cameron Wolfe re: “I honestly just cherry pick the worst/best comments..”

    Well then you’d think you would take the time to cherry pick the comment where McManaman says that Wenger is a genius and should decide when he is ready to leave (not verbatim)…

    Especially when you are delivering this summary to a blog that is dedicated to Wenger, you’d think that would be THE BEST comment you would want to “cherry pick”.

    Curiously (well not really) you omitted that though.

    C’mon man, some of us live in the states and watch these guys regularly, I’m not trying to defend them as the kings of commentary, they aren’t, and can be somewhat annoying in general regardless of who is playing, but it’s pretty transparent what you are trying to achieve with your “analysis” here.

  33. @ Rupert Cook, well said.

    “Reading get a goal back and the pair ask what Reading can do now and remark on Arsenal coming from four down. In what way is that willing Reading to get a goal back? ….\\ Reading score two goals and it’s all about Reading. Well of course it is. If Arsenal were in the same situation it would be all about them…..\\ Arsenal have been electric but Reading have stood back and let them do it. Fair point as Reading were utterly dire. He’s giving us credit whilst bemoaning the lack of quality from the opposition. A reasonable observation…\\….”

    The constant conspiracy paranoia, vicitimzation/persecution complex, and constantly trying to find the enemy behind every corner and every statement (and of course one will “find” what they want to find) here is just wierd.

    You’re last lines sum up this whole posting and subsequent responses excellently…

    “Again a reasonable comment somehow becomes one you disagree with because you have an agenda.

    Fine these two maybe crap commentators but you sound like you’re conducting a witch hunt..”

  34. Football pundit Gary Neville shows the rest up.

    On Sky’s MNF he openly analysed then criticized Arsenal but it was done in a much more constructive manor than is the norm nowadays.

    Firstly he passed on his experiences from when he played against the very best Arsenal teams, and then he attempted to educate the viewer on the current team/players problems rather than simply find the fault and then repeatedly vilify the club/manager/players in the usual mundane manor.

    Refreshing analysis from Mr Neville.

  35. @ Cameron re: What gets on my nerves is clearly highlighted in the above comments from them where they negatively concentrate on things like the Bradford game. Or speculate on whether or not certain player will come or go. This could all be spoken about in the context of the match but it never is.”

    Well since there is very public and almost constant speculation of whether a player will come and go (Walcott in this case) and since we have endured many of these high profile speculations that have ended with high profile players leaving in recent seasons (perhaps unlike any other big club recently) then OF COURSE commentators will talk about it at some point when Walcott’s name comes up during the course of the match.

    Also, please point out any football broadcast where topics that affect the two clubs but not specifically and exactly what is happening on the pitch at that time or as you say “in the context of the match” are not spoken about.

    Football is a game with spells often when there isn’t a whole lot going on, and commentators covering any club, and match (frankly any sport even) talk about external things affecting the teams/persons playing in front of them at some point, they have to, there’s often time to fill (and attempt to entertain their audience, i.e. their job) that can’t be filled by “x player passes the ball back to the goalie, who passes it back”, and “oooh Steve he loses control and it goes out for a thow”..”great throw in technique their Ian wasn’t it?”..C’mon bro..

    And again in terms of player leaving speculation, Arsenal in particular and Walcott specifically, is extremely current and relevant to an AFC broadcast especially when Walcott is playing and starting as a central striker which is reportedly one of the issues when he is weighing up if he will stay or go. Darke and McMananman again didn’t make up these issues, and any and every commentator would mention them, and mentioning them doesn’t necessarily and automatically show bias, regardless of whether it “annoys” you.

    I guarantee you in Darke and McManaman’s broadcast of the match this Saturday on ESPN they will talk about the signing of the British 5 (which will have little to do with the standard you set of “context of the match”), because it is a recent development affecting the club. I’d bet anything they won’t talk about it negatively either. I bet anything they will make reference to the Reading game several times throughout the course of the match (well because erm it was our last game) and talk about how well we played in attack because well erm, that’s what happened in the last game against Reading, just as they talked in the last broadcast about how poorly we played in the last game preceeding the reading game at Bradford, because that’s how we played in the last game.

    And I bet you won’t have a problem with any of these things that are so obviously and predictably going to be mentioned during the broadcast on Sunday.

  36. @ A Stewart

    Maybe I misread the article? I thought the point was he was trying to show that there is an anti/negative bias towards Arsenal from those two commentators?
    Maybe he should’ve wrote down every single word they spoke over the length of whole game then left it up to the readers to decide?
    Although I would imagine that would be about thirty pages long.
    Surely he’s allowed to include what he feels is relevant to what he wants to write about?
    If he’s writing about negative bias towards Arsenal then thats’ what he’s concentrating on.
    Just as you can comment on whatever you wnat to comment on.
    Just a thought.

  37. @ A Stewart
    Thank you for you detailed analysis of the article.
    Obviously what’s said during the game effects people differently.
    You do however in one of your comments use the “C” word which I know I’ve never called them nor would I.
    I’ll leave the use of that word to you.

  38. @Cameron

    This was a good article and you are quite right to draw attention to the way the commentators reported not just the match but in addition the random (or pre-prepared) thoughts which entered their cranial cavities from time to time.

    One additional thought and I realise this is very subjective; but the inflection in the voice during articulation can have quite an influence on how the comments are received by the television audience – but I do not know an easy way to describe this – without being accused of losing impartiality.


    You were right, it was a mistake to mention “you know who”!

  39. @A.Stewart, it’s extremely easy to tear Cameron’s article to pieces. You did an excellent job in negating the whole sorry exercise. As you say, there are many dead periods during a game where commentators speculate on all sorts of things relevant to the two teams on the pitch so yes the Bradford game got mentioned, possibly in regard to that old adage, “you’re only as good as your last game.”

    I don’t know what some people want, an endless eulogy to the genius of Wenger during the whole 90 minutes? Be a bit boring but would no doubt satisfy some.

    This piece smacks of that dead period between games when some blog writer has nothing better to do than speculate on some imaginary bias displayed by two neutral commentators.

    @bjt, there’s nothing subjective about voice inflection, it’s usually easy to spot. Your point is a good one.

  40. The “wallow in our downfall bit” is where such reasoning gets flimsy for me woody. Perhaps more specifically i see darke and Macca (especially-easier to read =p) as honest not vindictive or snide, and quite reasonably find job security more important than lily white arsenal hearts. The reAlity is arsenal are not the same sight to behold and the world loses. Football people lose. Darke and Macca lose, and we all watched it unravel, summer after summer of slow-motion tragedy. It’s their job to comment, not perceive, but emotions get in their way as they do all of ours here on these silent sounding boards, cuz they got a soft spot for arsenal who they watch fight the ref’s and the oppo every week, everyone’s underdog, the good guy. Maybe they are a little harsh, but it’s cuz they care haha. The same is true for all the hacks and occasional genius permeating cyberspace (m’lords at UA typify the latter category :). The difference is UA revels in the indomitable arsenal will while Martin Tyler (the king of slime–but maybe I’m being harsh) while be verbally brushing the arsenal crumbs from his immaculate man u picnic blanket. At the end of the day, england belongs to the English and where would we be without em :p

  41. calling darke and macky neutral is hilarious. they are a complete hack. darke is ever doubtful on his own own assertions. always asking macky for approval. macky on the other hand sees himself as this all encompassing wise guy- sort of gandalf the grey, if I may. these guys were neutral during the euros, except when england played. for macky liverpool and chekski are never in crisis. he will always find an euphemism to describe Liverpool’s situation. while the tactical analysis they describe are novice at worst.

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