Belfast Telegraph

Giving Colin red card was an own goal

By Jane Graham

If the BBC were hoping to show their big names they're willing to cast aside funny, independent-minded bright sparks to placate older, slower, more famous stalwarts, sacking Colin Murray from Match of the Day 2 is a brilliant way to go about it.

If the rumours are true - and it wouldn't be the first time the corporation has heeded high profile numbskulls' concerns about younger, smarter upstarts making them look stupid - Belfast boy Murray has been axed from the football analysis show because he 'irritated' some of his punditing colleagues by having opinions and criticising rubbish players despite never having played professional football himself. Alan Hansen told Colin to leave such opinions to the experts, and I'm sure that's what he tells Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, who also didn't play professional football, when Villas-Boas is caught opining on his team's performance.

Hansen once informed me he gets so nervous before a TV appearance he's almost sick. He's not especially confident in his role, and I'd imagine he's not the only one. Why should great ball-kickers be good talkers? Generally they're not - they say the same things every week and get anxious and sweaty if anyone goes off-script. Colin Murray, fast, funny and irreverent - not a tired old pro but a passionate football fanatic - probably scared the hell out of Hansen and his pals. There were occasions you probably had to come from Northern Ireland to get the joke (and bravo for that!) but Murray breathed life into a stale old format. He'll be sorely missed.


From Belfast Telegraph