Mariana Trench, the newly appointed head of Better Football, Sky TV, gives us her views on how football commentary and in-depth analysis is being enhanced by the broadcaster.
Reinventivisational momentum. Is there such a thing? Well I can tell you that yes, no there certainly is. And the point is that as every journalist and latter day politician knows with great power comes no responsibility whatsoever. Only the need to say we already know that and are doing something about it, whether or not we are asked.
My name of course has come to be related to depth and so considering Arsenal is, and there you have it. Especially at Sky, but also elsewhere I think. We can note that it is the same old problem that yet again has not been solved even though we’ve told them and could fix it ourselves of course but we have this contract with TalkSprout and so can’t which is a pity but there it is.
Instead the first thing these people do (at least the first thing they do every time I meet one of them) is to take chance events as being utterly symbolic. A pass goes astray, a shot is missed – from such things we can tell the origins of the universe and the depth of the ocean.
Football Clubs have values which they hold dear and if you don’t like them they’ve got some more in the Tunnel Club because they have the cash because we at Sky gave it to them, making it quite clear in all press conferences that they want to talk about this but it is not that, and quite possibly. But what we are going to talk about Better Football which of course includes inclusivity without which of course there isn’t. And regional development.
Where are the ideas? Do we have an idea which has had a universally negative response? Yes we do and it is brilliant.
But what has journalism to say about this? They see patterns that are not there and give as fact notions that are not only not proven but are on occasion physically impossible.
So let us talk or appear to talk, let us be warm enough then this should be straight forward. Assertiveness is still the name of the proof.
The issues for Arsenal are many and complex and whether Hector Bellerin should appear on Strictly Come Dancing or should he send his so called personal assistant is a key issue which will help decide the whole of this season. And incidentally Tony was quite wrong in his last piece saying Hector was not being criticised. The institution previously known as Arsenal Fan TV and now known as Armamentarium Susceptor Televisionem thrashed him within a pollicis of his vita.
Such criticism to my mind is an own goal and it is not a picture of the club that I recognise. But it did occur to me. And here you may ask “what did?” and I would say “Is there a Head of Blog Throttling at the Arsenal, and if not should there not be? Yes?
I mean I think we have a head of inclusivity but I don’t want to be in with the clusivity of a bunch of people who take every single player in the team and slag him off. That is surely taking inclusivity too far. For as they say on ITV, “I don’t need a donut to help me run my own life.” And you can’t say fairer.
And indeed last week I was asked if Sky classified football as light entertainment and quick as a flash (not literally) I replied that I was unsure about the entertainment part. I mean is it Phil Thompson, and therein lies a question and when I asked I was told that lights can be quite entertaining.
That is the problem with the format of football and the shows that celebrate football. It is a bit tired and a bit top down and a bit leap year. Where is the strategic governance of such programming? If this is not who we are then who are we and what do we stand for?
I did ask the head of output at Sky at one stage but he simply said “We’ll have to wait and see.” But over a drink in the Fisherman’s Knapsack on the Old Kent Road he did tell me that the same structure horizontally as well as vertically works in a way that can make football on TV radically independent at a stroke and it is utterly lateral, and I thought that was a case of utter genius. A case of re-imagining the whole thing via the creative network model in which everyone feeds in equally around a common purpose and a creative hub. Or lunch. As the case may be.
Indeed it reminds me of Highbury and thoroughly liberating it is and it is a number of weeks later than it was.
The whole point about football on television is that eople (which is to say people who are not taking the p) are waiting to have their opinions formed. That is why TalkSport now has a Director of Better who when I asked how it was going told me in no uncertain terms I can tell you, “I’m sure its ok,” before asking me where the autocue was.
And I think that is the point because in the big scheme of things and I think it helps and it certainly helps me and don’t get me wrong. Is that ok?
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