Ink & A Stick

The ramblings of a man who should know better.

Stop Your Euro Moaning

The two years of waiting for an international tournament are over. It’s here! Euro 2012 got off to a cracking start last night as Poland and Greece drew 1-1 and Russia walloped the Czech Republic 4-1.

Months of anticipation were finally rewarded and not a “cagey opening game” in sight, brilliant. However, in spite of all the excitement swirling around, one thing seemed to be just as prevalent as an appreciation of the game. Moaning.

This wasn’t moaning about tactical naivety though, it wasn’t even a complaint about the petrol station ball chosen by UEFA. No, once again we were treated to the incessant whines about how bad terrestrial TV’s coverage of football is.

Standard gems along the lines of “oh look, Alan Shearer knows nothing” opened proceedings. When the BBC had the temerity to show an interview with an England player during half time we got “Poland are playing Greece. I couldn’t give a flying fuck about Scott Parker”.

Firstly, Alan Shearer being a bit simple is nothing new, we have known this for a while. You might as well remark on the fact that you blink, on average every four seconds. Secondly, it should come as no surprise that a national broadcaster with no rolling sports news channel should show an interview with an integral national team member when it has the opportunity.

Many fans have benefited from the fact that certain bloggers lock themselves away for weeks on end poring over the intricacies of the Greek squad. The previews on offer from independent sites have been more detailed than ever before and this is undoubtedly a good thing.

Podcasts have taken centre stage ahead of the tournament alongside these blogs too. I now know that I can probably run faster than at least 25% of Croatia’s starting back four following injury concerns over Dejan Lovren. I have also been reminded that Ashley Young’s alleged predilection for web cams is best avoided in Poland and Ukraine.

On top of this there’s even a regular video update from Scott Johnston, the brains behind the excellent TheFootyBlog. With this wealth of information at your fingertips I have one question. Why on earth are you stupid enough to even watch the terrestrial TV build up to games, let alone whine about them like a child who’s had a toy taken away?

An analogy I have used before is that you wouldn’t buy a shirt you didn’t like just to sit around moaning about how bad you look whilst wearing it. Why on earth would you subject yourself to the inane nonsense spouted by Chiles, Shearer and company? We all know what time the kick off is and we know how long half time lasts. Save your blood pressure and just don’t tune in until the game starts.

The coverage provided by the BBC and ITV isn’t intended for the more knowledgeable fans. It would be nice if this wasn’t the case but both broadcasters operate on a tight time schedule. This doesn’t leave much room for in depth tactical analysis and in all honesty, most fans just don’t care about it.

You can draw parallels between the football blogger and the train spotter. I use trains a lot and I quite like them. They generally get me from A to B with little fuss and that suits me perfectly. However, there are people that can tell me what year the train was made, how many journeys it’s taken and the route history of the driver. I appreciate that this information exists but I’m just not that interested.

Football bloggers can tell you exactly why a 3-5-2 formation can be tactical suicide. Or where Franciszek Smuda buys his barczsz and uszka and how it impacts his choices on a holding midfielder. The truth is that the average fan couldn’t give a rat’s chuff about this sort of detail. They’re quite happy for Alan Shearer to tell us that “he’ll be disappointed with that” when a striker misses from 3 yards. And you know what, that’s OK too.

We live in a world in which knowledge is available like never before. It’s incredibly easy to find football coverage tailored to your tastes. Rather than let your blood pressure go stratospheric at the sight of Mark Bright, just mute the telly and give us all a rest.

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4 thoughts on “Stop Your Euro Moaning

  1. Excellent piece there mate.
    Really well written – made me look at myself a little as well.

    • Thanks, Simon. I just get so frustrated. It seems to be a badge of honour to moan about the coverage. My kid knows more than Shearer and co and she’s three “Daddy, why don’t they goal?”.

      There’s so much quality out there. Let’s appreciate it.

  2. I made this very point at the World Cup a few years ago. Around the web and TV there is coverage to suit everyone. The BBC and ITV could do more. But at the end of the day they are trying to appeal to a massive demographic. ITV who probably putting together the better coverage I can handle being shit, but the BBC is funded with public money and huge investments are made in wages and preparation, they could at least do the decent thing and not insult the intelligence of the viewer.

    I just wish we could get rid of Jonathan Pearce and Mark Lawrenson without having to press the mute button. I wouldn’t mind a decent commentator (or someone entertaining like Danny Baker) doing there own stream of commentary you could plug into while watching the game.

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