Football reporting gathers around enhanced reinventivisational momentum

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?



8 Replies to “Football reporting gathers around enhanced reinventivisational momentum”

  1. I just seen someone describe their profession as “Content Writer”. So I guess all these idjuts in the medja are “Noncontent Writers”?

  2. The U23 Game finished one all but saw a performance that will surely signify the emergence of a true mastermind of the game. Not any of the players but Paul Howard the referee who delivered a performance fully worthy of Mike Dean at his most Devious. Make no mistake Mr Howard will soon be plying his trade in the PGMO

    ABility to deliver a result – tick
    Ability to treat the two teams differently – tick
    The old ‘phantom foul’ routine – tick
    Waving away cast iron penalties for one team – tick
    ‘Fergie time’ – tick
    Evening out the card count in the last minutes – tick

    An absolute masterclass in Deanesque refereeing. I got quite cross and I’m afraid used some language not polite enough bearing in mind there were children present

  3. Game Day 2 – Caution League

    I am going to call the issuing of a penalty, as a caution. A red is two cautions at the same time.
    Man-Minutes of Caution
    016 Wolves
    021 Chelsea
    056 Fulham
    070 Spuds
    084 Watford
    098 Huddersfield
    101 ManU
    103 Man$ity
    104 Brighton
    107 Liverpool
    128 Burnley
    150 Bournemouth
    162 State Aid
    176 Everton
    177 Arsenal
    181 Cardiff
    186 Leicester
    189 CPalace
    227 Newc
    275 Southampton

    At the end of Game Day 1, Southampton and Wolves were the two teams with no time played under caution. Huddersfield, Arsenal, Man$ity, Leicester, Cardiff, Everton had over 90 minutes of caution. At the end of Game Day 2, Wolves and Chelsea are both under 30 minutes of caution (in total). Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton are all averaging more than 90 minutes of caution per game.

  4. Game Day 2 – Treatments League

    This accumulates points to the teams that had the player receiving treatment.

    00 Chelsea
    00 Huddersfield
    00 Man$ity
    00 Spuds
    00 Watford
    01 Burnley
    01 CPalace
    02 Southampton
    03 ManU
    03 Leicester
    03 Liverpool
    05 State Aid
    05 Arsenal
    06 Bournemouth
    06 Newcastle
    07 Wolves
    08 Brighton
    08 Fulham
    11 Cardiff
    12 Everton 1 has card

    At the end of Game Day 1 the list of teams with no on-field treatments was: Burnley, Chelsea, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Man$ity, ManU, the spuds and Watford. The teams with the most treatments were Brighton, Fulham and Arsenal. 34 treatments on Game Day 1. At the end of Game Day 2, Burnley (so far) has dropped out of the no treatments status. Liverpool yet to play. Teams averaging 4 (or more) treatments per game are now: Brighton, Fulham, Cardiff and Everton. Everton’s game had them getting treatment 11 times, and one of those times is associated with a card. After Game Day 2, we have seen 81 treatments over the 2 games. 81 treatments, and as near as I can tell only 1 card. Many are concerned about simulation in the game, and there is the possibility of any of those treatments being a case of acting – none called for simulation.

  5. Game Day 2 – Treatments League

    This accumulates points to the opposing team that had the player receiving treatment.

    Inverse Treatments
    .0 Arsenal
    .0 Chelsea
    .0 Huddersfield
    -01 Fulham
    -01 Wolves
    -02 Burnley
    -02 Liverpool
    -03 Everton
    -03 Brighton
    -03 State Aid
    -04 Leicester
    -05 Watford
    -06 Bournemouth
    -06 Cardiff
    -07 CPalace
    -07 ManU
    -07 Spuds
    -08 Newcastle
    -09 Man$ity
    -11 Southampton (1 card)

    On Game Day 1, we had 8 teams not inflict treatment needs on their opponents: Arsenal, Chelsea, Huddersfield, Brighton, State Aid, Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton. The teams that inflicted the most need for treatments were: CPalace, Watford and Man$ity (4 or 5 treatments). After Game Day 2 finished, things changed quite a bit. The teams still not inflicting treatments on opponents are reduced to Arsenal, Chelsea and Huddersfield. The teams inflicting the most damage (at 8 or more treatments over the 2 games) were Newcastle, Man$ity and Southampton. The spuds and ManU were close at 7. Southampton was the biggest surprise, whacking up 11 treatments in their second game, and they got 1 card for their “good work”. It seems somewhat strange that 4 of the (expected) Top-6 teams in the league, are whacking up such high treatment scores on their opponents? Referees turning a blind eye to the “chosen ones”?

    In terms of playing under caution, Arsenal is just off the top group. Which is one way of saying that Arsenal is a dirty team (gets a lot of cards and/or get cards early in the game). But if you look at the inverse treatments league, Arsenal has yet to cause an opposing player to need treatment on the field. And we have had one player receive a broken bone (and needed treatment) in an event which resulted in no card to the bone breaker.

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