You win nothing as a television pundit – Why I demand more from our football ‘experts’

The more observant among you will notice the clever play on words of my title. The variation on the famed declaration ‘You win nothing with kids” is deliberate if slightly forced.

Now, I like a good pundit as much as the next man, well actually I like the new breed of pundit, well when I say the new breed, I mean Gary Neville, basically I like Gary Neville.

Monday Night Football is now an essential part of my football week due to the insight he provides. However, Red Nev aside I can generally take them or leave them.

Soccer Saturday is still an enjoyable watch with the proviso that it’s the first team, don’t go giving me McInally or Tony “and that” Cottee, I don’t want them.

I’m not going to discuss the terrestrial channels; I don’t consider them worthy of my time. Except to say that I’m all for equal opportunities but Garth Crooks still working, really?

The others, well they’re all ok, nothing special, Souness, Redknapp, Barnes, Burley, they do a job, if they were still players they’d be a Sammy Lee, or for you youngsters out there, maybe a James Milner, reliable, you know what you’re going to get.

My apathy towards the genre has accelerated as I’ve begun to notice the frequency of their erroneous assertions, I have many examples, I’ll provide two.

During the first part of this season, Darren Bent was left out of the Aston Villa side In favour of a relatively unknown and rather ungainly young Belgian, called Christian Benteke. The condemnation that came down upon Paul Lambert was heavy. Did any of these pundits look beyond the surface? No, not at all, they jumped on the bandwagon and leapt to easy short-sighted conclusions which in hindsight were wrong.

David Luiz is my other illustration, yes I accept that he didn’t cover himself in glory when he initially arrived in the Premier League but right up until a few months ago, established talking heads were claiming he couldn’t play at centre back, that if anything he was a midfielder, nonsense.

Anyone who watched Benfica play between 2007 – 2011 will be aware that Luiz is an excellent centre half. The fact that the criticism would appear to have subsided and that Luiz is now being touted as the next Chelsea captain, would further underline that point.

I want more from a pundit, I accept that they can’t always be right but it surely defeats their purpose if I feel my football knowledge exceeds theirs. I want them to have identified things that my untrained eye might not have, I want these experts to, well use their expertise and enrich my experience of the beautiful game.

Otherwise they are essentially just blokes talking about football and frankly I can get that down the pub with my mates, admittedly the medals on the table will have been replaced by pints of lager (who am I kidding, lager tops) but the analysis may not be any less astute. 

 

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