Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Billy on the Box: There’s no Silva lining for Shearer on MOTD

Don't you just hate it when a bandwagon rolls into town and people leap on board quicker than a flea onto a tramp’s vest? Match of the Day — rubbish, isn’t it?

Put down that pointing accusatory digit immediately, I have been saying for years, certainly long before Stan Collymore left his normal mode of transport in the car park and jumped onto said bandwagon, that the Beeb’s flagship footy programme had long since run out of steam.

As much as I concur with much of what Collymore says about the golf club chumminess of the MOTD sofa-dwellers and the enlightenment provided by Alan Shearer being akin to that of a one watt bulb, as far as I know he has an unblemished record when it comes to Swedish weather presenters and car parking activities.

But that’s as far as my defence goes as after a week of slating in the national press, Match of the Day had its chance to fight back on Saturday night and failed miserably.

“We’ve got some extraordinary stuff for you this evening,” promised Gary Lineker — and he wasn’t wrong, although most of it unplanned.

“As always, we’ll concentrate largely on the action, interspersed by the incisive and instructive views of Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer,” he added as the first tentative counter-punch at the dogged Colly was landed.

Onto the games and what did we learn? Hansen told us that Arsenal need a goalkeeper, hardly breaking news, and that as a spectacle the Man City v Chelsea game was a ‘non-event’. People in glass houses

And talking of houses, Shearer clearly had summer holidays in mind as during his spot he blurted out about a villa when David Silva was running with the ball. Okay, that’s a cheap shot, a slip of the tongue, we’ve all mixed up David Villa with Silva at some time. Do continue, Alan.

Moments later ‘Villa’ was shouted out again, prompting Gary to boom in the background ‘Silva’ in a manner last heard on television by the Lone Ranger, or Graeme Souness on RTE as I like to call him.

“Everyone has an off-day,” said Gary, and I think he was talking about Didier Drogba and not another striker slightly closer to hand, but it could have been himself as having built up the incisive part of the show when it got to the Liverpool game he forgot all about Hansen’s analysis. Mind you, he also admitted they’d forgotten last year’s Goal of the Season that followed the August Goal of the Month so all in all not the best night the team has had on MOTD.

But does that mean a radical overhaul and bringing in, as Stan suggested, the likes of Ian Wright and Teddy Sheringham? Bring Andy Cole in with the latter, or even Danielle Lloyd and it might get a bit more interesting, but please spare us from Robbie Savage and his baby-sitter, Mark Chapman.

It might be nice to hear Lineker’s views on the game rather than making awful jokes and churning out dreadful links, but why not get a former manager on who can give us an insight into the game? Anyone have Martin O’Neill’s number handy?

And stop treating us like idiots. By the time you come on, most people know the score of the games, so stop the big mysterious build-up, show us some decent action and then get someone to say something interesting about the game.

It’s not hard, Jimmy Hill managed it for years, Brian Moore did likewise and Des Lynam was as unruffled as his ‘tache, and if the present-day crop follow suit there may yet be a Silva (or is it Villa?) lining for Shearer and co.

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