By Tony Attwood
It was the most disgraceful, appalling, awful and unacceptable TV commentary I have ever heard – and there have been some dire ones in the past. I refer, of course, to the commentary on Sky Sports 4 last night.
It wasn’t just that Arsenal were set up from the start by the commentators to fail. It wasn’t just that we were told six times in the first half hour that a particular player had just been granted citizenship by the Serbian government, it was the endless, endless, moaning, nagging, complaining and bitching about Arsenal.
Arsenal, according to the commentary team, were blundering around in the dark and they, these men who had not managed at the highest level (or quite possibly any level) could see instantly all that was wrong. My goodness, five minutes of either of them running the club and Arsenal would be well and truly sorted out!
One wondered, 30 seconds into the game, quite why they were not already running a club in the Champs League, and why they were not half way up a pylon making the lights work. (Indeed it was only when we found that they actually didn’t know that the lights had been going up and down for half an hour that we realised these two turnips were actually sitting in the London studio rather than being at the ground).
Quite clearly the two simpletons doing the commentary had been told, “the story today is that Arsenal are in terminal decline and have a clown for a goalkeeper”. So 100% for staying on script but 0% for integrity.
Everyone can have their opinion of course, but one could equally have started this game with the premise that Arsenal were third in the league, equal with the second club on points, and just 3 behind the leaders. Arsenal had played already in 3 competitions and so far had suffered just one defeat, and that by one goal.
One might say that was a record most of the clubs in the league would be envious of, and certainly a club like Liverpool (tipped for a top four place by Sky commentators before the season started) would love to be in that position.
Indeed one might have added that Chelsea wouldn’t mind having had just one defeat this season instead of two.
One could also have mentioned that you could build a fairly decent team around our injured troops…
Almunia, Vermaelen, Cesc, Ramsey, Diaby, Van Persie, Bendtner, Theo, Frimpong…
And during the game one could perhaps have mentioned that in the past two games two different Arsenal goalkeepers have saved penalties. Or that so far in the Champs League we have scored 9 and let in 1. I am not sure if that puts us top of the league in scoring terms, but there can’t be too many who have done more.
Had they been doing the WBA game they would have been saying, “it could so easily have been four” rather than commending Almunia on a penalty save, or talking about the three times we hit the post. It was that sort of set up.
They might even have said that if the predictions from the media and their allies in the blogs, (the Anti-Arsenal gangs), had their way we’d have sacked all the goalkeepers, because none of them are any good. And they might have said from the start – “there must be something about this Arsenal team – the best fit player recently, Nasri, is on the bench, and they are still playing ok.”
Oh, they might have added, “that Jack Wilshere’s all right too.”
As the match went on they might have noted that this was one hell of an intimidating atmosphere, and that Arsenal fans were having stuff thrown at them (it might just have been rolled up paper, I couldn’t see properly), and yet Arsenal stood their ground, quietened the crowd, and got on and did it all.
But that would not have fitted the pre-ordained script these turnips had in their studio in London.
“You have been run over by a Steamroller,” said the banner, and I wonder what those brilliant fans of Partizan (brilliant apart from throwing stuff) would do to those people who write endless anti-Arsenal blog commentaries and never go to the game.
But back to the match: they could have noted just how many goals Arshavin has got this season. In fact I wish some bloggers might notice that instead of calling for him to be dropped all the time. It is as if because he is no longer the smallest guy in the team he’s useless. Actually I saw someone the other day say that “without Nasri in the team, who is going to score the goals? Just answer that!!!” and the answer is well, Arshavin with five goals in seven games this season. Charmakh’s not bad either.
I am not saying Arsenal were perfect or should have had adulation from the commentary comics, and nor am I saying that things weren’t decidedly dodgy on saturday. I know they weren’t right since I was there.
But in broadcasting terms either there should have been a balanced commentary, or there should have been the traditional British commentary which is pro the British team.
Clearly for Sky Sports, the game is “knock Arsenal”. They obviously think that is a money winner.
But why? The programme was on Sky Sports 4, thus relegating it to the bottom position in importance. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Sky Sports 3 was simultaneously showing Masters Beach Volley Ball – the 1984 series). It was obvious from the advertising of the evening that Sky Sports did, they expected all the neutrals to be watching the KGB in Fulham. So more than likely all they had on Sky Sports 4 was Arsenal fans. Why insult them?
I have not the foggiest idea, but all I can say to the companies advertising around the show is, since I can’t take it out on Sky Sports, as they have the contract to show the away games, I’ll take it out on you. Until Sky Sports sorts itself out, I’m boycotting all products and services advertised on Sky Sports. Starting with Gillette.
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