I enjoy Saturday’s - I challenge you to find anybody that begs to differ. A day of rest for those on the Monday to Friday work schedule that have earned their lie in or the chance to nurse an achy head from the night before.
Yet, I regularly perceive day one of the weekend to be football day. From the moment Soccer AM starts at 10am, that’s the next 14 hours of my Saturday sorted. Encounter after encounter culminating in Match of the Day at 10.25pm before hitting the hay, or so was the schedule for my eight-game-a-thon a few weeks ago.
Then it emerged that not only was Gary Lineker not presenting Match of the Day on Saturday night, somewhat of a good thing, but that Robbie Savage was to be sat alongside Alan Hansen to dissect the highlights we’ve just viewed.
Let me get this out in the open early on - I hate Robbie Savage. I hated him as a footballer and I hate him as a pundit. I can’t think of any player worse to talk about football than the former Derby County and Leicester City midfielder. Heck, even Alan Shearer is a more enjoyable watch than him.
Gabby Logan, stand in presenter for Lineker, knew that he wasn’t making much sense and continuously corrected him or even shot down a number of his baffling theories, much to the delight of my Twitter timeline.
Pretending to know what he’s talking about in his turtle neck that resembled a shrivelled foreskin wrapped around a blonde pubed bellend, the buffoonery of Savage not only astounded viewers, but left a vast majority with their head in their hands wondering what the BBC had done to ruin the show.
I’m all for ex-footballers moving on from playing the game to commenting on it, especially if they know exactly what they’re talking about much like Gary Neville. What makes him so easy to watch is his ability to pick up on aspects that we, the football fan, have missed.
He’s played the game at the highest standard up until very recently, meaning he’s insightful and entertaining in abundance, as his regular appearances on Monday Night Football suggest. Whenever the former Manchester United defender takes his place alongside Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio, Twitter effectively drops to both knees and begins to unzip his trousers.
When brother Phil was on Match of the Day earlier this season, viewers were again full of praise for the Everton captain right up until he dropped the “good feet for a big man” cliché when describing teammate Marouane Fellaini.
Vincent Kompany was also a delight, primarily because he spoke so candidly about the game and gave a fresh view, like the Neville brothers, about what had been viewed. Rather than point out what was clear for the football fans to see, they demonstrated exactly what could’ve happened to improve on a performance, be it preventing a goal or adding a second.
This is what a good pundit does. They point out something us fans would’ve missed. It comes with experience of the playing the game at the highest level, regardless of what team they may’ve played for.
Some even felt the need to compare Savage to Gary Neville, primarily because they both “tell it like it is”. I’m sorry, but that isn’t the point. Savage goes to great length to describe exactly what we’ve seen just moments before.
“The defending was poor for that goal” yes, we know that Robbie, how about telling us why it was poor? “If you can’t do the job right, sack ‘em” exactly what I was thinking when you strolled across my TV screen. “They scored a goal” *throws self through the window*.
He’s effectively the blonde haired equivalent of Hansen, which is exactly why Match of the Day continues to lose its credibility. The persistence with Mark Lawrensen and continued use of Colin Murray on the Match of the Day 2 often leaves me with the remote in my hand and contemplating whether to change channels or not.
Yet, the introduction of Savage left me on the edge of insanity. For a man that talks so much tripe, the decision to allow him on the punditry panel contributed to what can only be described as the worst showing of Match of the Day in its 48 year history.
Hopefully this was Robbie’s first and last appearance on the show, especially with his position on Match of the Day 2 all but guaranteed on a weekly basis. What angers me more is the choice to overlook Pat Nevin, who was infinitely better than Savage during the BBC’s coverage of the Club World Cup.
So, whoever decides which pundits work their way onto the panel in the foreseeable future, make the executive choice to bypass Savage for anyone with a superior knowledge of the game. Go for Nevin; go for Phil Neville again; go for someone on the Blogosphere that can bring an iota of insight into the game - anyone but Robbie, please?