Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gray Monday

*"Somebody's f**ked up big" were Andy Gray's famous last words, referring to the appointment of the subsequently impressive Sian Massey to run the line at Wolves v Liverpool on Saturday. Now that somebody who has messed up is him, as the face of Sky Sports is out of work after the station fired their figurehead in a rare moment of sanity. Anger at Gray and presenter Richard Keys's sexist comments has been everywhere; Rio Ferdinand tweeted that the pair were "prehistoric"; the source of the incriminating video leaks remains at large.

Sky's mea culpa could be related to the phone-tapping at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World which exploded this week with former editor Andy Coulson quitting as the Prime Minister's Press Officer as the blame game heated up. Murdoch owns 40% of Sky and the government is currently deciding whether to let him buy the remaining 60%, opening the door to a British version of Fox News, according to his critics. Rupert had reason to be on his best behaviour.

Gray might have been part of the TV football furniture but is no big loss. An old-fashioned bustling No.9, he became a similarly pugnacious pundit, a running theme in Sky's 'year zero' narrative of the Premiership since 1993. Prejudice apart, fans deserve better than word-perfect soundbites, hyperbole and hype. Gray's "GAME well and truly OVER" as Milan sailed into a 3-0 lead in the 2005 Champions League final they ended up losing, was typical.

The recent trend in formation analysis led by Jonathan Wilson and Michael Cox does not square with Sky's tabloid approach, and Gray had the whiff of an old British dinosaur when recently claiming Barcelona would struggle against Stoke and Blackburn...

*Ronaldinho recently turned down Ewood Park and their battery-chicken mogul owners in favour of Flamengo fun in his native land:

*Meanwhile, Australia had a turkey shoot in Qatar, roasting Uzbekistan 6-0 in the Asian Cup semi-final in front of 24,826.

Japan await in Sunday's final after they beat South Korea on penalties following a 2-2 tie, watched by 16,171. My colleague Mike Tuckerman is out there blogging from Doha for a teaser of 2022 and reported barely 800 souls actually attended Japan v Saudi Arabia...Come on Qatari fans, you've just got the World Cup but anyone would think you don't love football - let's be 'aving you for the last game at least!

*Unlike Pelé. who is backing Spurs to take over London's Olympic Stadium in 2012, I want West Ham to win because East London is their backyard and Tottenham are from the north of the capital. Mind you, the times they are a changin'; I headed due south out of town tonight towards the coast and my train was full of fans of Arsenal, that famous team from North London.

-Sean O'Conor


Harris said...

Good stuff, Sean!

Jay said...

West Ham? Spurs? Bogus, the both of 'em. Give the stadium to Leyton Orient!