Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the box: Gary Lineker goes Dutch on MOTD

By Billy Weir

It was back to the future for Match of the Day on Saturday night as after a summer away Gary Lineker fired up the flux capacitor for what is a momentous year for the show.

"It's 50 not out for Match of the Day and after a summer of discontent for English football we're back to banish those Brazilian blues," he said, the grey-haired genius having the good grace not to say anything about great Scots in memory of the departed Alan Hansen as Hard Day's Night by The Beatles transported us back to 1964.

He had fired up the DeLorean though to fetch back another iconic player of yesteryear in the shape, and it's an increasingly wobbly shape, of Ruud Gullit, who, it's fair to say, has had a slice or two of Gouda since the dreadlocks disappeared.

Given they'd got on so well in Rio, they put him alongside Alan Shearer again, or as Professor Lineker remarked: "All eyes are on a Dutchman making his debut in Manchester. Yes, Ruud Gullit is alongside Alan Shearer.'

He actually, very clever this, meant Louis van Gaal, who hoped to get off to a Mcflying start against Swansea City, and promptly wished he could program the DeLorean to travel back to 1999 although there aren't enough seats to bring back all the players he needs.

Moving swiftly on, as is Match of the Day's way, we were quickly off to the Emirates, the north London one, and Jonathan Pearce who, sadly, hadn't decided to adopt the Amazonian trait of sticking a big saucer in his gub following his summer sojourn to the land of the Samba.

"Arsenal surf into the new season on a wave of optimism, Crystal Palace are floundering against the tides of trouble already," he warned, a 5-0 win was surely a certainty, although no-one told them and they nearly held on for a draw.

Ruud hadn't really offered much up to this point, and then it became clear why he had been hired when he said that the Gunners had played 'shhhloppily' as Gary and Alan surfed on a wave of Dutch saliva.

Thank goodness they didn't allow him to talk about the miss by Jeffrey Schlupp for Leicester City or he'd have flooded the studio, but there was plenty of time to talk about a mistake and a miss by Rio Ferdinand, their old pal from Brazil.

"Rio said he wasn't a fan of zonal marking, but Rio, Rio, Rio ... " began Shearer. "He's obviously not a fan of man-marking either," as we watched him concede a goal.

Still, time to put it right. Wrong, as he missed an open goal at the other end, and the boys chortled about 'all that practice we did on Copacabana Beach'. What goes on tour should stay there.

And with that it was all over, with Gary pulling on his white lab jacket and bundling the boys into the back of the DeLorean, no doubt heading back to Brazil for more japes and high jinks.

"LVG was welcomed to the Premier League and received a large custard pie and perhaps even a Welsh cake," he concluded, Ruud not allowed to say it was sight for sore eyes.

The good, the bad and the ugly

THE GOOD: It was the Monday Blues for Sky’s intrepid reporter, Geoff Shreeves, when jumping on the cooking bandwagon with Jose Mourinho. “It’s a bit like a recipe, you have all the ingredients but until you actually try it you don’t know,” he said, prompting a ‘What? Sorry?’ response. The great Portuguese take yourself off.

THE BAD: Also on Sky, Tim ‘gizza job’ Sherwood on the Fantasy Football Club commented on his demise as Spurs boss. “If honesty is my crime, then I’m well guilty,” he said, although we may have to take murdering the English language into account.

THE UGLY: Just when you thought it would be a long, cold Winter with little to write about, Judy Murray sashays along into Strictly Come Dancing. I wonder if the camera will keep panning into the crowd to see wee Andy glowering, shaking his fist and growling. Let’s face it, it’s on a Saturday... he’s unlikely to be playing tennis.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY: Celebrity Big Brother is back and what a start. I couldn’t believe it, a rough, manly boxing type, who, after many years of gruff unwarranted cocky Cockneyness turned out to be nothing more than an old woman. Enough of Audley Harrison, nice to see Kellie Maloney in there.

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