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July 2021

Do the BBC think football fans are all that stupid?

By Blacksheep

For all sorts of reasons, mostly related to still being newly and happily married, I eschewed the pleasure watching Arsenal beat Chelsea to lift the Community Shield at Wembley yesterday. Instead I settled down to watch the highlights on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme before bed.

It should have been a pleasurable experience; Arsenal played very well (from the 20 minutes or so the Beeb showed) and certainly deserved to come back from 1-0 down. Chelsea’s penalties were abject, ours sublime, that’s exactly what you want whenever the nature of the game, big or small, meaningless or crucial.

But I have to say while I enjoyed most of it my heart sank when the selected pundits hoved into view. Mark ‘Lawro’ Lawrenson and the Arsenal hating one hit wonder that is Chris Sutton.

Lawro called the first half for Arsenal and the second for Chelsea and, pointedly declared that Moses’ opportunistic goal was the result of poor defending (which I agree with) and a lack of leadership (which I don’t) . Once again, he said, Arsenal will be undermined by having no leaders on the pitch. Sutton agreed.

Then they considered Arsenal’s goal. Kolasnick’s bullet header brought us a deserved equaliser and both men noted that a handful of Arsenal players might have scored it as the team in red caused chaos in the Blues’ box. This too was down to poor defending but interestingly it was not put down to a lack of leadership on the pitch. After all CFC had Cahill and David Liuiz at the back, and a team brimming with leaders (it’s why they won the league you know).

It got me thinking because this was such an insult to my intelligence I wondered if it was deliberate or just more lazy journalism (or punditry, I wont credit it with the higher ‘art’ of journalism)?

I’d been watching the athletics over the last few days (go Mo!) and noticed that they have proper experts in place to discuss the sport we can see before us. Jessica Ennis’ former coach gave well informed commentary on the Heptathlon and Brendam Foster and Steve Cram both did so for a range of track events. In the studio they had Micheal Johnson, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Denise Lewis, Colin Jackson and Paula Radcliffe – world champions and Olympic medallists and record breakers.

I watched a lot of Wimbledon this year as well and there the BBC also employ proven experts. No lesser figures than Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker and John McEnroe – people who have multiple titles between them – who comment on the tennis along with other lesser but equally well informed former players and BBC sports commentators.

The same is true for both the BBC’s radio coverage of cricket (TMS) and Sky’s TV offer. I’m not a fan of golf or F1 but again the people talking about the sport seem to know what they are talking about.

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So why is so different with football, the nation’s favourite sport? Is it because football isn’t ‘technical’? Perhaps its too simple to offer quality analysis?

Here everything is dumbed down, delivered like two blokes in the pub, with banal oft repeated generalisations that bear little relation to reality. Comment is largely ill-informed and repetitive and most of the time I just want to switch off.

So do they think we are stupid? Is it that football is so ubiquitous they know millions will tune in whatever they give us? MoTD has become a pitifully weak sports show; tired and samey, fronted by a wealthy and complacent host who barely challenges the twaddle that the likes of Shearer and Lawro spout. Mostly I don’t bother watching it because I will have seen Arsenal live and I know what happened. When I do watch I try to avoid the ‘analysis’ for all the reasons I cite above.

But I’m angry that the BBC think they can treat me with such contempt by serving up this rubbish on a weekly basis. It’s high time viewers started to demand much better levels of analysis of our national game.

Over to you BBC.

Untold Tales

From the Arsenal History Society

When Highbury opened, and “Victoria Concordia Crescit” was introduced


40 comments to Do the BBC think football fans are all that stupid?

  • MickHazel

    There are a lot of pundits around who reached the peak of the football game, including world cup winners and top internationals, our own T Henry to name but one, so I do not think we can blame the poor standard of punditry on the playing level they attained. Maybe the fact that football is and always has been perceived as a ‘working class’ sport played and followed by people of a lower IQ level in keeping with their class and therefore any discussion is inevitably going to be simple analysis presented in a simple way. There are intelligent journalists around such as Paddy Barclay but they do not seem to attain the same level of importance as the Adrian Durhams abd Chris Suttons of the media circus.

  • Steve Vallins

    Not many so called pundits ever have a good word to say about the Arsenal even ex players
    The so called pundits do have a vast experience of the playing side of football but not much success in club management
    I think we all watch football but see it so differently which is why we have such the opinions

  • colario

    Athletics and tennis are individual sports and big occasion sports. On the other had football is a team sport with 1000s upon 1000s watching games on a weekly basis as well as its big tournaments.

    Former tennis players an athletes don’t have team they used to play for whereas ex footballers do have team they used to play for.
    I font think you have compared like for like.

  • Ive

    Totally agree with this piece..

  • Luscious lisa

    The thing is almost all tv commentary is about things we know little about and don’t much care about. So the quality of it, and the spin, pass us by unnoticed. But once it’s a subject we know a lot about and care a lot about, we see the crap for what it is.. which is why a Liverpool fan will get angry with hillsborough coverage, a miner with coverage of the miners strike, and an arsenal fan with coverage of Arsenal. The fact is it’s all spin and crap, and nothing to take personally. Or seriously.

  • Laos gooner

    Long since given up on any local highlights programmes. I watch an American matchday review as it seems to me that I get factual analysis of the main points of the games without any other agenda. I find myself agreeing with their experts no matter what result we get.As to the question above, I believe they do think football fans are as stupid as some of the comments made by those who sit innfront of the cameras. BBC? Bye bye children.

  • Philbet

    You miss the basic point (and fall for it at the same time,which is difficult), Sport is a public distration a sideshow a filler of thier time, its all a fraud,a caricature of modern life run and managed by the thought police, to generate interest is a nessacity so controversy must pervade, if there were no distractions such as sport,carnivals,shows,television parades,etc. The general public would focus on meaningfull things like war,poverty,excessive wealth,lack of democracy,been controlled by the government and bad things might occur, things that the establishment would consider a threat to thier stranglehold on the people, so sport and dumbed down TV are encouraged to distract,nowhere do they colide as well as in the football.

  • nicky

    Surprised at you, Blacksheep, a newly married man, listening to football punditry.
    If you are able to obtain the remote, remember the position of the mute button (in the dark).
    Otherwise the little lady MAY get interested in the beautiful game and you will waste much of your early married life attempting to explain to her, the peculiarities of the offside Rule. 😉

  • finsbury

    Look at the pathetic trolls attempting to defend the coverage of football above.

    Might help if they’d read the article properly before erupting with their gibberish? Team sports not listed?

    Looks like Steve Coogan has plenty of inspiration for his new series of Alan Partdrige (our favourite footy plundit*). Plenty.

    *when you consider that alan Partdrige made his debut satirising the future careers of sky presenters blue dildos and all in 1994, that puts the footy plundits and their hangers on gibberish into perspective.

  • Rantetta

    They’re entitled to think we’re stupid, (they think).

    They talk & talk & talk. They reported dishonestly on match 50. They called Newc 4-4 Ars: ‘Greatest ever Prem game’. They routinely exclude or minimise assaults on Ars players via their coverage. They encourage jealous, established thugs to vent their spleens.

    Their analysis from both recent Arstrophy wins (FkCup & CS) – in the highlights progs – has been bitter and disparaging, the plundits knowing they wouldn’t have a job unless they followed this perennial BS!
    Sutton mused, We’re always optimistic about Arsenal’s chances…



  • finsbury

    Linekar Sutton and the other buffoons or this:

    Spot the difference? (one is nearly 25 years old!)

  • finsbury

    It’s almost as if they don’t like The Arsenal! Why could that be?
    I can only think of hundreds and hundreds of millions of reasons (£):

    Takes effort to ignore such consistently partisan gibberish against the club that you support.

  • Rantetta

    … and they’ve helped show the aaa & asb how they’ll make money by blog/vod/pod-ing a miserable narrative – for 15 or more years.


  • finsbury

    Mike Dean & Mike Riley certainly believe that football fans are stupid.

    The transparent charlatans.

  • finsbury

    Ranty don’t knock MOTD don’t you know they had a nice cuddle with Crucuial Robbie to mark down alongside their robust support for Joey Barton who is also being supported by Sky

    Are we surprised by these actions by those who say they are against modern football but love to hang on the coat tails of murdochian football? The trickle down affect innit?

  • Usama Zaka

    Agree with everything, Blacksheep.

    Sky’s all round coverage of test cricket is top-notch. Excellent commentary, in-depth analysis, well reasoned arguments, good camerawork and treating the sport and its viewers with respect (from what I have seen).

    On the other hand you have Sky’s coverage of football, which is absolutely abysmal. Totally biased commentary, madeup “story-lines of transfer rumours/player-manager conflicts/backing the sacking of managers/etc” to “spice up” drama of football.

    Terrible TV video coverage, encourage time-wasting, pundits act as if refs are not wrong, Arsenal should be roughened up as they are a weak bunch. First they say spend some fackin money, then they cry for the lack of English players and blame AFC and others for too much foreign influence… Could go all day on this.

  • Nitram


    I wrote this yesterday. If you’re going to plagiarise me (well at least a little bit) at least give me a name check !


    07/08/2017 at 10:39 am


    Regarding the Red Card:

    Am I right in my understanding that referees are told not to Yellow or Red card a player whilst he’s lying on the floor?

    I’ve always thought that that was a rule, but when I hear the likes of Lawrenson, who is obviously an ‘expert’, I doubt myself.

    Mark Lawrenson:

    On the back of one goal, that although disappointing to concede was the type of goal every team concedes at some stage during a season, he draws the conclusion that we don’t have any ‘leaders’. The back 4 push up or hold a line and a forward/midfielder takes a gamble into the space and scores. Not great but as I say, it happens to every team.

    Moan about the concession of the goal if you must, but to draw such a conclusion from it is simply mind boggling.

    Now if I was a cynic I might come to the conclusion that Lawrenson had already decided that at some stage, no matter what, he was going to bang on about ‘Arsenal not having any leaders’, or am I being a bit harsh?

    Regarding that notion, isn’t it strange how this team with no ‘leaders’ have a history of, and someone I’m sure will correct me if I’m wrong:

    -Winning more matches with 10 man than any other team.

    -Getting more points from a losing position than anyone else.

    -Scoring more late goals (last 10 minutes) than anyone else.

    Now I’ll be honest I have neither the time, nor the resources to back any of these claims with stats as I like to do, so I apologise in advance if I am wrong, but I don’t think I am.

    And if I am right, this is hardly indicative of a team that lacks ‘leadership’ and ‘fighting spirit’ is it?

    Chris Sutton “we’re always optimistic about Arsenal, but no I cant see it (winning the league)”

    WTF ! Since when has he or ANY pundit been optimistic about our chances of winning anything.

    More of the same old clichéd bollocks from the same old dimwits.””

    Pretty similar aye?

    Also Tony didn’t answer my question regarding Yellow Red carding a player laying on the floor. He hasn’t answered me. Maybe you could help?

    As for your article, as you would assume I agree 100%. As for those defending it as harmless and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I disagree.

    We have just won our 9th consecutive Wembley appearance and our 6th trophy in 4 years. For any other Club that would warrant lavish praise, for us it warrants nothing more than a passing reference, followed by the same old negative bullshit.

    It is this constant dismissal of anything good we do, whilst at the same time exaggerating, or even completing inventing, the negatives, that gives oxygen and inspiration to the AAA’s who look to deride our club as a whole, and Wenger in particular, at every opportunity.

    It is this negative perception of Arsenal that lays the ground upon which our players can be assaulted without fear of retribution and that we can be cheated out of matches by Referees, because they have no fear of reprisal for doing so.

    It is why when we get a fair referee, as I thought we had on Sunday, that it is such a shock.

    Just one example of how distorted things are, on Saturday a Spurs fan decided to take the piss because we won the Emirates Cup under the circumstances we did. Still he said, seems you cant even win that fairly.

    This from the fan of a club that’s won ONE League Cup in 10 years and not a single title since the 60’s.

    So where has his overview of Arsenal come from where he can even think of opening his mouth about trophy winning given the massive disparity in our favour between the 2 Clubs?

    Why could he possibly believe for one Nano Second that he occupies the moral high ground when it comes to talking about winning trophies, of ANY sort?

    I’ll tell you why I think he does. Because if you where an alien tuning in to our media broadcasts, from what you would hear you would swear blind that it was Spurs that had been winning all those Trophies, and Arsenal that had done F*** all for the last 10 years, and longer.

    You could be lead to believe from what you would hear and read that Arsenal as a Club was an abject failure, and Spurs a beacon of success.

    Honestly, if it wasn’t so harmful to our club it WOULD be laughable, but it is, and it isn’t.

    Anyone who says this constant anti Arsenal agenda, that pervades every aspect of our media doesn’t/hasn’t had a detrimental effect on us, are sadly mistaken.

  • insideright

    As the level of coverage has increased the amount of ‘spicing up’ has also increased to try to hold on to an audience that is required to be exposed to the advertising and sponsorship that funds it all. The non-commercial BBC have the opportunity to fill the time better but don’t because it’s easier just to fit in to an established pattern. At least they tend to reduce the number of pundits in the studio – ITV can have four even with less screen time to fill.
    Take away the controversial flim-flam (eg unrelated transfer tittle -tattle) and you are left with often flimsy and unresolved debate about offsides or ‘dives’ that are often played down to avoid undermining the ref or what is seen to be the integrity of the final result.
    The narrative of a lack of leadership just drags on without any real supporting evidence. A ‘leader’ can often appear to be strong because of the weakness of others and leadership itself is confused with a level of physicality on the pitch that is often counter-productive to ball retention and team discipline.
    I watch just about all football on TV ‘muted’ and switch off the moment the game is over. I learn nothing new from listening to the ramblings of the vast majority of the pundits – indeed much of the time what they say is as much misleading as it is enlightening.

  • MickHazel

    Brilliant post as always.

    Given the sort of mindless drivel you see posted on Twitter and the ignorant contributions in the comments section of the majority of football blogs it is no surprise that the media think they can treat us like idiots.

  • blacksheep

    Thanks everyone..

    @NItram – not sure if you were serious about the plagiarism but I hadn’t read your comments (or even visited the site this weekend) so I think we just experience synchronicity!

    @Philbet – a healthy degree of scepticism is a useful thing but a deep set paranoia that everything we see or read is being fed to us as a smokescreen is, if I may say so, a little OTT. Sport as a modern opiate for the people (to misquote Marx) is an interesting thesis but I’m not sure it works fully. After all I am a political activist (in that I belong to and campaign for an alternative to the current political status quo) so I’m not (at least I don’t think I am) distracted from my discontent by my weekend dose of the Arsenal.

    I can’t speak for everyone though

  • Dom

    What can I say other, than I believe that the constant belittling of anything Arsenal by press ,pundits and other meaningless animals such as Piers Morgan is just an expression of unrepressed jealousy for our club, our staff, our players and our vision of football .

  • Nitram


    It was only really tongue in cheek.

    But you must admit it references very similar comments, and draws very similar conclusions.

    And to be fair, I would of thought you would have at least read the articles relating to the match, and the reporting of it, before posting an article about the match, and the reporting of it? Or is that just me?

    Anyway, enough of this banter.

    Could you, or anyone else, not at least help me with this issue of Yellow/Red carding a playing whilst lying on the ground.

    I believe it’s there as a token of respect towards a player who may well of transgressed, but may well also be injured himself, as was the case on Sunday.

    I think, and again someone may be able to confirm or otherwise, there is a similar guideline with regard to a referee calling a player towards him to card or just speak to him, in as much as he has to meet him half way. As such the referee cannot stand stock still and make the player walk the 20 yards or whatever to him. He is supposed to meet him half way. I believe it is seen as disrespectful to summon a professional football in the manor you may a school child, irrespective of what the referee wants to say or do.


    Given what you say I am guessing that you are a socialist (Marxist?), or at least left leaning activist.

    If that is so, and I apologise if it is not, you of all people should understand the problems that an agenda driven, right wing media can cause.

    I am in a Union at work and count myself lucky to be so, but I am in no way a ‘Militant’ or an ‘activist’ or even a ‘dyed in the wool’ socialist.

    But what I do know is, due to the way that Unions are portrayed in the media, simply by implication I must be one, or most likely all of the above.

    Just because I believe in workers rights to decent pay and working conditions doesn’t mean I’m necessarily any of the above. They are not mutually exclusive. But you wouldn’t believe that if you read the media, such as the laughably self proclaiming ‘workers mate’ The Scum. The media cannot print or utter the word Union without proceeding it with the word ‘Militant’.

    I see many parallels with the way the media portray everything seen as ‘socialist’ or ‘Unionist’ in a negative light, with how they portray everything ‘Arsenal’ or ‘Wenger’ related in a negative light.

    So I’m a bit confused as to what you are saying.

    Are you saying there is no anti Arsenal bias in the media?

    Are you saying there is but it is irrelevant?

    Either way, if that is what you are saying, I have to disagree.

  • Zedsaunt

    First – congratulations Blacksheep on the wedding. Enjoy!

    Second – Federer in tennis is a far better, more sublime, player than any of the hired pundits present to analyse the game. He is sublime in precisely those areas which pull the rug from under any pundit who dares to make an analysis – his intuition, his decision making, his technique.

    That old axiom from the shopfloor you have to use every working day against woodentop management who are trying to get you to work harder so they get bigger bonusses – if you reckon you can do it better, show us! – Federer fulfills completely. Nobody can do it better than he can.

    Where tennis and football merge, become the same corporate misery ruining the watching of sport on TV – the commentary as the game is happening. There has to be two comentators. They talk over the game.

    You find yourself, in tennis, in football, forced to listen to someone else’s narrative while watching the action.

    You are not allowed to watch tennis or football with your own silence in observation. You are not allowed that silence.

    My father, when he retired from working, I got him a pint, walked over to the table. Forty-four years of work. We sat at a table. He didn’t touch his beer. For half an hour he didn’t say a word. He at last spoke, ”They must think we’re bloody stupid.” They do.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I believe that no other PL club get the abuse and derision that the Arsenal does.
    Every step taken by the club , Aw or Stan is often distorted , and sad to say many of our own fall for it.
    My enjoyment has increased immensely as I watch it all on my own and in near silence.
    Do I care what other so called fans think ? Not an iota. Zilch !
    We have outlasted the morons who wore black scarves , the bin baggers and the banner men . Not to mention the WOB . OK, I ‘all not mention them !
    Do I feel sorry or pity for these clowns ? Or shake my head at their stupidity ?
    None at all !
    But I’d probably laugh my head off when they fail spectacularly !
    I know you will too .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Saying the right thing.

    3 Ladies discussing their sex life…

    Mrs Shukla- ” I notice that when I go down on Shuklaji and give him a blowjob his balls are always cold.”

    Mrs Khosla– ” Mr khosla’s balls are cold too, when I give him a blowjob.”

    Mrs Nair is shocked, ” How can you both do such thing ? It is disgusting.”

    Both explain to Mrs Nair that a blowjob is the best way in getting him to buy jewelry.

    Mrs. Nair agrees and says- ” I will try it tonight.”

    Next Day….both are shocked to see Mrs nairs face bruised and beaten black and blue,

    What Happened they asked ??

    Mrs. Nair– ” Mr. Nair did this.”

    Ladies- ” But why ??”

    Mrs Nair– I don’t know, I was giving him a blowjob and all I said was – ” Hey your balls are also cold like Mr. Shukla and Mr. Khosla..”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And listening well and getting it right is important.
    Here is a true story apparently.

    ‘ I opened a bakery recently and a lady phoned me up wanting a cake with I SUCK COCKS written on it!!
    I thought it was pretty weird but made it anyway.
    Mrs Cox was pretty fucking annoyed when I delivered it and so was her son Isaac.’

  • Pete

    Not Arsenal related but on R5L last night Ian Wright was going on about Spurs needing to buy back Bale. Even when it was politely pointed out to him that this would destroy Tottenham’s wage structure (and they have a new stadium to pay for) he went on and on. This ludicrous idea that all clubs should be doing is spending ever more money (which they are doing!) irrespective of their resources is just madness. No idea about basic finance.

  • omgarsenal

    Nitram….I replied to your question in your last post. Basically referees never card a player when they are lying or sitting down or are incapable of paying attention (too far away, doesn’t understand the referee, etc.)for 3 reasons;

    1)they may not be alert enough to know they’ve been carded,
    2)it is demeaning to them and doesn’t help the referee to look competent,
    3)the carded player must be able to see the card clearly and acknowledge that he or she has been carded.

  • finsbury

    Plundit extraordinaire during the Supercup:
    “Mourinho’s team are struggling to hold the ball”

    Do they watch the Football or regurgitate a script? Whatever it is the Tuffers & Vaughen cricket show (on Aunty Bleeb) must have been produced, according to our equally eagle eyed trolls above, in a different universe.

  • BFG

    I listened to the match on 5 live and Sutton was on there. My opinion is he was fair with his comments and praised Arsenal when he saw something good. Why be so bothered what a Lawro says. It’s part of the entertainment and being pissed off ispart of the game. Quite like Sutton and think he is quite honest in his views. I am afraid Blacksheep is perhaps having a tough time at home and should get out again.

  • Nitram


    Sorry, missed your original reply, but thanks for that.

    So, as I was intimating in my original post, as it is a guideline/rule, you have to ask why a ‘professional analyst’ such as Lawrenson is supposed to be, did not know of this, and was banging on about why the referee took so long to issue the card.

    1-He is either negligent in not knowing what he is talking about. Not knowing the rules.


    2-He doesn’t give a damn about rules because he’s going to have his agenda driven whinge up no matter what.

    And of course we also have to draw the conclusion that neither of his co analyst or any of the production team at the BBC new the rule/guideline either.


    A small point I know but surely we should expect our ‘experts’ to at least know the rules before they try to enlighten us with their boundless wisdom.

    Alas my view is, yes of course they know, they just don’t care because they’re going to treat us like idiots and say what they want to say no matter what.

  • Menace

    It is time for Arsenal & to make this our anthem –

    Despacito – I can see our players dancing onto the field to Despacito

  • MickHazel

    Absolutely right Nitram, most of the experts do not know the rules. I wouldn’t mind a penny for every time I have heard them excusing a foul tackle by declaring ‘but he got the ball’.

  • Rantetta

    When Gabriel was injured by ???, I seem to remember him getting booked whilst being put on a stretcher?

  • Flares

    Ian Wright is going senile. The fool has been in the media all week puffing his chest out about who thinks Arsenal should buy. Apparently we should be in for Van Dijk, despite him being only 0.07 points better on the WhoScored stat rankings than Mustafi, who we got for half what angry Virgil is being quoted. Regardless, Van Dijk has shown a streak of unprofessionalism which rules him out as being a Wenger player – as their captain and newly-signed six year contractee, he should have handled this with far more class and nuance, which he hasn’t and therefore makes him the perfect choice for Liverpool.

    He also snivels that we should be in for Diego Costa, a suggestion so ludicrous it hardly deserves analysis. Rather, we should remind Ian that Costa has pretty much loathed his time in England and would jump at a return to Atleti. ‘Wrighty’ also thinks we missed out obtaining the signature of Nemanja Matic, despite the player openly stating his desire to work with Mourinho again, whatever club he’s at.

    On balance, I believe Ian Wright is talking utter, unmitigated bollocks which has no bearing in the real world of professional football. My overarching desire is that somebody takes a pair of his old, smelly football socks, rolls them up and stuffs them in his tediously unrepentant gob.

  • Menace

    Rantetta – the unwritten rule in sport is never hit a player (an opponent) when he is down. Officials usually abide by it unless they are stupid (not so hard to find amongst PGMOL). Actually it begs the question are the PGMOL stupid or just blase about the way they behave (untouchables).

  • Nitram

    Well said Flares.

    For anyone to believe he ‘loves’ Arsenal is to me ludicrous in the extreme.

    For anyone to suggest he has any respect, or an iota of liking for Wenger is utterly deluded.

    I detest the man with a passion, and wouldn’t p*** on him if he was on fire.

    If that upsets people, so be it, because to my eyes and ears the guy has only malice and spite in his heart when it comes to Arsenal.