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Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and co's Saturday night throw-back viewing


Dann buster: Scott Dann attempts to put the ‘ooooooo’ in Sergio Aguero with a good old-fashioned challenge

Dann buster: Scott Dann attempts to put the ‘ooooooo’ in Sergio Aguero with a good old-fashioned challenge


Dann buster: Scott Dann attempts to put the ‘ooooooo’ in Sergio Aguero with a good old-fashioned challenge

There was a somewhat haughty and presumptuous proclamation over the weekend by the BBC that "Saturday night means Match of the Day".

It certainly did many moons ago when Gary Lineker was working on his dad's fruit and veg stall, Alan Shearer had hair and John Motson's sheepskin coat was happily gambolling around some of England's greenest and pleasant lands.

After the Generation Game and Starsky and Hutch, it was the final part of the Holy Trinity of Saturday evening viewing and with Sky not even a glimmer in the satellite man's eye, it was the best that footy fans could hope for.

Things have changed somewhat since then. By Saturday evening, unless you have been encased in an underground bunker the like of which hasn't been since the Wombles were wombling around, it would take a miracle of Jeremy Corbyn-like proportions to avoid the results.

There is also much more to tantalise our televisual buds nowadays, with sport aplenty on a myriad of channels and ITV showing Britain's Brightest Budgies or something equally inane presented by Gabby Logan.

However, I managed to do both and when I sat down on Saturday night, minus the earlier boost of Starsky, Hutch or Larry Grayson/Bruce Forsyth/Jim Davidson (delete as applicable) and no longer fuelled by a glass of Creamola Foam (raspberry) and a bag of Tudor (pickled onion), I exuded a genuine glow of childish excitement.

Then on came Ian Wright grinning like a feline who had just bought shares in Elmlea and the smiles disappeared.

"Goals are our business and there were some beauties today," proclaimed Lineker.

"Plenty of goals in the studio as well, 1,073 in total, not that we're counting," as he, Wrighty and Shearery got someone in to count for them.

You knew the Man Utd v Liverpool game was rubbish as it only made it to second on the bill, replaced on top by Chelsea's trip to Everton, which didn't go well for Jose Mourinho.

"Everything goes against us, every shot is always a goal, every mistake is always a goal, always a fantastic save by the goalkeeper. Our tactical meeting this morning, the computer had a problem, so we couldn't have a tactical meeting," he whined afterwards.

He was last seen pressing ctrl, alt and delete and switching off and on again in an effort to restart Chelsea's season.

The big shock was that Shearer is actually starting to say something interesting now.

"Everything's gone wrong, Gary, it's been an absolute disaster. Going forward they are bereft of ideas," he said and clearly the thesaurus on his computer is still working after digging out 'bereft'.

"I don't know what's going on with Chelsea at the minute," added Wright, bereft of an answer, before we moved on to Old Trafford and the battle to see which team in red can sack their manager first.

"When Man Utd played Liverpool it used to be like the rumble in the jungle, but now it's like a rummage through the jumble," said commentator B, who may have a name but given they all sound the same now it doesn't really matter. And the price of a pint of milk is extortionate these days too. I remember the days…

Back to the footy, with Man City's win over Crystal Palace, the highlights of which were Motson's increasingly bizarre collection of slightly camp oohs, aahs, screams and giggles not witnessed on a Saturday since Mrs Slocum's pussy was a kitten, and two non sending offs.

There was one other classic piece of Match of the Day when, with a minute to go, they showed you a substitute coming on. This can mean only one of three things - he will score, he will get sent off or he will try to steal Motty's coat.

It was the first of these three, or as Motty said "it's a goal and it's the lad who just came on". That would be Kelechi Iheanacho. "And wearing the unusual number of 72, he has scored the goal that may mean five out of five for Manchester City." Eeee, in my day it was like Spinal Tap, they only went up to 11. And City were rubbish.

But the main talking point was a non red card that had Motty screeching to such an extent that dolphins across the land were penning letters to Points of View, as Scott Dann attempted to create two Sergio Agueros with his challenge, with Wright seeing and calling for red.

"Wrighty's getting soft in his old age, I remember a tackle on Schmeichel you did…" said Shearer.

"Oh hello (but not just as camp as Motty), I remember Neil Lennon's head rolling down the touchline at Filbert Street," came the reply. Cue the sort of hilarity and guffawing not seen on a Saturday evening since Frank Spencer was on roller skates.

More games and commentators came and went, including Jonathan Pearce, or Commentator F as I like to call him, giving us fascinating information such as Arsenal having "73.5 per cent of possession" (who cares?) and over at Watford, Alastair Mann revealing that "if Bafetimbi Gomis scores he would be the first Swansea player to score in the first five league games of the season since 1923". Motty was commentating in that one, although he called him the lad who came on.

The big talking point in this was Valon Behrami (the lad who started) getting a straight red for a nasty challenge, Shearer this time having to agree that he deserved to go.

"You're going soft, Alan, it's nothing like Neil Lennon's head rolling down Filbert Street," joshed Lineker and we were all chortling again, which ended quickly as West Brom played Southampton in possibly the worst game of football since, well, any involving Man Utd or Liverpool.

Still, I enjoyed myself. All I need is someone to bring back Creamola Foam and Tudor Crisps and we're sorted for every Saturday night.

Belfast Telegraph