Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Women's World Cup 2019 Review by a Fan of No Importance Part 3

Here comes what the title says...

Gabby Logan

It's probably right that I should recall a day back in 1999 when Gabby Logan was presenting a football related item (that being her job) on ITV and I made a remark that my then girlfriend, now partner, showed up as evidence of a "male chauvinist" side to my character. She ventured the observation light-heartedly, but I was mortally offended, outraged and left wondering whether this silly mare knew me at all.

I sulked terribly, but I'm glad now that my partner said it, as it provided, if not evidently straightaway, a small step along the slow ponderous path to self-improvement. Maybe I'd actually been right in questioning the validity of whatever Logan said that day, but clearly I could have said whatever I said without such a pointed subtext.

Although equally at home with Champions League coverage and Match of the Day fill-ins, this tournament seemed to be Logan's moment, and in spite of whatever I said in 99, her knowledge of the game is unquestionable, and I like her all the more for her dislike of half and half scarves (which she tried to consign to Room 101 a couple of years back) and her wariness of VAR.

Like Mark Chapman and Gary Lineker and Mark pougatch, Logan asks good questions of her pundits, although occasionally some of the questions did outstay their welcome this summer, inviting unwanted comparisons with Garth Crooks.

But I liked her being host, she seemed deserving of this moment in time, and I hope to see her filling in for Lineker next season when he can't be bothered to make the midweek ones.  

Alex Scott 

Similarly with Logan, I'd never been the biggest fan of Scotty (as a pundit), but given a regular spot in France, she mixed passion and insight with her recollections of player experience. She was angry after Cameroon, although I was disappointed that her fury was with the Indomitable Lionesses and not VAR!

Hope Solo 

The American goalie for their World Cup 2015 triumph was working with the Beeb even for her homeland's semi final with England. Did the US coverage have grander figures to call on, or did Hope's outspoken views preclude her? Whatever the truth, she filled the customary role of international voice of wisdom for our summer tournaments following in the footsteps of Klinsmann, Vialli and Martinez. Solo started the tournament strongly with an attack on FIFA, and proved an authoritative pundit throughout. She didn't overtly champion the US team, rather spoke of hope (no pun intended, although I could delete it) for other nations. Love that she spoke of VAR being "against the spirit of the game" on the subject of Ellen White's disallowed goal against USA, so therefore I forgive her bemusement at a Swedish player "not selling it" when roughed up in the penalty area, but not even appealing for a spot kick (though maybe she thought VAR might step in on her behalf).

Dion Dublin        

We must end, of course with DD (Dion has written to the BBC asking that on-air colleagues only address him by his initials, and has included a thorough business case to support this proposal, which includes the words "profile" and "branding"). Dion promised us he'd done "loads of re-search" and "watched loads of videos", but in the end couldn't help reverting to type, staying well within the confines of his comfort zone to play the familiar role of jokey, affable but resented stepdad.

Dion no doubt was the first to suggest the WhatsApp group for his fellow pundits, and more than happy to set it up, eventually claiming the first joiner halfway through the second week. It is an unconfirmed rumour that Hope Solo later organised a breakaway WhatsApp group precluding Dion that was instantly more successful.  But what you can't fault Dion for is persistence, and his increasingly desperate efforts to lure any one of Logan, Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Solo or  Rachel White into his bantz lair appeared to know no end.

Perversely, you cannot criticise Dion for playing to the crowd, either. What you see is what you get, and what you get is the word "comms" instead of "commentary".

There are some things you just cannot unhear.        

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