Belfast Telegraph

Martin Keown goes in with Two feet

By Billy Weir

It was fitting that on the 50th anniversary weekend on BBC2, the grandson of Match of the Day, MOTD2, brought the curtain down on the sporting trip down memory lane.

Back in 1964 the first ever episode of the iconic show was broadcast from Liverpool as they took on Arsenal at Anfield, so somehow it was apt that both sides figured heavily in Sunday's offering.

Things have changed somewhat in those 50 years. Kenneth Wolstenholme is no more and now we have a myriad of commentators, most of them as nondescript as each other. For example, will this column be reminiscing fondly about Steve Wilson on April 24, 2064?

He was the man with the microphone for Liverpool's trip to Carrow Road, where 'the scourge of Norwich was in town' according to presenter Mark Chapman. That's no way to talk about the delightful Delia ...

Back to the studio and discussions turned to Sunderland's controversial winning penalty on Saturday which, according to Chapman, we 'can debate until the cows come home.'

Fortunately Keown, who bears an uncanny resemblance to one of our four-legged bovine chums peering over a gate at Balmoral, was on hand.

"Well, I've got strong opinions," he, err, opined. Let's have them then.

"For me, he's been brought down," he said in a strongly opinionated fashion.

Thanks for that, I was wondering why that man had fallen over, perhaps he had trodden in a cowpat and slipped over, but you cleared that right up for us.

Sadly in 50 years we will remember Jonathan Pearce in a 'do you remember that annoying sod Jonathan Pearce?' kind of way.

After Arsenal's defeat of Hull he threw Arsene Wenger somewhat by asking his first question in French. Wolstenholme must have been spinning in his grave.

Thankfully this didn't continue with Aaron Ramsey not drenched in Pearce's phlegm as he had a bash at Welsh and Steve Bruce wasn't greeted with a big why-aye or asked if he fancied a canny bag of Tudor.

The final offering came from Guy Mowbray, who showed things have moved on quite a lot in half a century when discussing Everton manager Roberto Martinez sounding 'like a new age life coach' when discussing the recent defeat by Crystal Palace.

"He said there was fear and anxiety but we shared those feelings, we got through them and they've gone. How very 21st century," Mowbray recounted.

It was an opportune time for the camera to pan in on Duncan Ferguson, not so much new age as stone age, whose way of dealing with fear and anxiety was to nut it, but 50 years on after the start of Match of the Day there are indeed still anxious moments and reasons to be fearful, but, don't have nightmares, Martin isn't on every week.

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