Wednesday 10 April 2019

5 things I hate in football as the mark of Lawro unfolds

Coming in from a wonderful day out of the house with the good lady partner and kids, I switched on the telly for the Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion FA Cup semi-final at, sadly obviously, Wembley. I tuned in on the 39th minute of the first half. Before the 40th was out, Martin Keown shoehorned in a "by the way", leaving where he left off in the quarter final.

Goodness knows how many other minutes previously were molested by this phrase, one that, if we are not careful, could become the new "to be fair" in offices and pubs up an down the country. While the origins of btw lay with Mark Lawrenson, tbf's existence has a cloudier history, without anyone being credited/called into account for its infectious arrival in daily speak. While one is tempted to cite Big Ron Atkinson as the pioneer of tbf, he was always more of  an "in fairness to the lad" observer, which is similar but not the same. Nope, can't blame Big Ron for that one.  

Whoever is responsible, and thus indirectly guilty of Robbie Savage uttering tbf a record 17 times in one segment of analysis on Match of The Day 2, they can be thanked for tbh branching out into the fast food world, where a popular burger chain has used an authentic or otherwise member of the public to advertise their latest offering by way of a review rounded off with a tbf. According to one  branch manager, the burger in question has been "flying out the door" ever since the Ad hit the bus shelters.

So no wonder btw is being peddled by BBC as frenetically as The Bodyguard was last year. Keown may be an odd choice as poster boy, but in the 42nd minute Steve Wilson sold another btw, and you begin to feel concern for Lawrenson, who may feel that his gift to the world is being abused to greater acclaim by so-called colleagues.

For now, Lawro may have to settle for the compliment of imitation, particularly as another of those colleagues, Gary Lineker, unwittingly paid tribute to the once moustachioed stopper at half time, when describing an altercation between City's Kyle Walker and Brighton's Alireza Jahanbakhsh as "handbags at thirty paces". Comparing male players to girls carries all the hallmarks of Lawro in his indulged days and takes us right back to the dark days of 2014.

Yet neither of these former internationals can match up to the yardstick narcissism of pitch-side reporter, Dan Walker, who seamlessly adapted his Football Focus interview approach here by asking for the thoughts of some supporters, only to whip away the microphone to someone else while they were still speaking. The supporters in question were one of 500 teenagers given tickets by City diver, Raheem Sterling, in a move typical of his club in that everyone got to hear abut it.  

In the same way that BBC radio and tv ran extensive coverage of City being led out by two elderly women early this season, in scenes designed to ignore how women in the ruling state of Abu Dhabi are treated, all Sterling's gesture was missing was a placard with the word 'CHARIDEE' on it. 

But that's modern football, eschewing ironies by presenting false pleasantries and showcasing unnatural-sounding club DJ's, while VAR wastes it's time focussing its lens on misunderstood players.   

"It's a real problem, Chappers", Jermaine Jenas commented on air, before addressing him as "Mark" off-camera.        


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