Match of the Day is like herpes, there are periods of respite but you can never truly escape it. Worse than herpes, Match Of The Day is introduced by Gary Lineker. Gary Lineker, a wannabe droll sack of smug, casts his eye of blight and words of shite over the whole sorry mess. At least you get some action before a dose.
Joining him tonight is Alan Hansen who has, for the past five years, simply gradually stopped living. Like a victim of a degenerative insight disease, it wasn’t noticed at first that his relentless persuit of the laconic contribution was in all likelihood Hansen’s recognition that he could get away with doing barely anything. His offerings now are just catchphrases.
So marked is his lack of effort that surely at some point this year, describing the absence of Maynor Figueroa at the back post to concede a late goal against Fulham, the Scotch bastard’s going to have a bloody coughing fit, succumbing to whatever Mad Cunt’s Disease he's caught. I’d be surprised if Alan Shearer, a barely sentient being at the best of times, even notices.
Ah, Shearer. A man whose notion of style is a shirt in one colour, with collar and cuffs another. He’s a Winchester Prick. This is a man who, unlike Hansen, has no catchphrases because he struggles with speech at a fundamental level. His vocabulary is stunted by never having had a single word of his questioned in his playing career. He could say ridiculous nonsense like, ‘I was disappointed to miss that, Geoff.’ Or, ‘Beardsley played the pass and I just knocked it in.’ Or even, ‘I didn’t try to kick Neil Lennon’s head clean off,’ and because he was so feted by a fawning press and mouthbreathing Geordie fanbase, never had to come up with rational arguments to back up any of his arrogant puff. All elbow violence and cynicism on the pitch, Shearer is not pressed by the cowardly ex-striker Lineker for an opinion. The net result? Shearer spends 50 minutes every Saturday, on our bloody coin, describing moving shapes and colours as best he can.
‘He’s played the ball across the front of Bramble and had no trouble kicking it, with his leg, into the goal with the white net.’
As wretched and perfunctory as Match Of The Day is, that’s not what’s really killing it. Four of the weekend matches are readily available to watch on Sky before Match Of The Day gets its lazy mitts on them. Of course, then, that the MOTD appraisals are lukewarm. They’ve been waiting so long since the matches were broadcast that they have already been subjected to the constant shrieking of live coverage, Sky Sports News follow up and internet forums. By 10pm on Saturday we've already paid reluctant attention to the stories, rebuttals and hysteria. There's nothing left for them to say.
More than this, if my team aren’t in one of the live matches, then I’ve still got the option of the questionable feeds on the internet to get my fix. I can scream to my heart’s content at my netbook, with a can of pissweak lager and my girlfriend’s contempt for company. After I’ve explained to her over the course of ninety minutes why Jamie Carragher is a worthless human being - if he is even human - I don’t want to see Mark Lawrenson’s bare top lip later that night trying to state, inanely, precisely the opposite. Mark Lawrenson, the poster boy of hate for the BBC’s failings. Not funny. Not clever. You could not design a more disappointing fourth member of the boring boy band the Match Of The Day production team have assembled. I can barely be bothered to describe what’s wrong with him. We all know.So, Match Of The Day. Welcome back. Welcome back to another year on this depressing island of ignorant football fans watching a gormless performance on the pitch, and a gormless performance in the studio. We’re the battered wives, we keep coming back, and Gary Lineker is only doing it to us because he loves us.