Monday, April 02, 2007

Gary Lineker and sarcasm

It emerged today that the FA were upset, not so much by the criticism directed towards the England football team and their manager, Steve McClaren, by the BBC's football pundits, but by Gary Lineker's "sarcastic style". Perhaps they were hoping for a more sophisticated form of satire or parody? A well-written sketch maybe? However, whilst sarcasm is famously derided as the lowest form of humour, it is surely only those on the receiving end of it who feel this way. Sarcasm provides an efficient and effective means of responding to those endowed with both power and foolishness, and this incident exalts sarcasm to one of the highest forms of humour. Anything which could so annoy the FA has to be a good thing.

17 comments:

Andrew said...

TOBH Britain is in a bit of a bad way. The Irish broadcasting channel RTE's analysts Liam Brady, John Giles and Eamonn Dunphy,spent the World Cup describing the English team's appalling displays very much as they were and lampooning the BBC's grovelling analysis. Hansen who is described as telling it like it is, spent the tournament saying how wonderful they were going to be, seemingly unfazed by each awful performance. Finally when they got knocked out he got to add a dash of reality to his analysis. And tobh his partnership with the bland grinning Shearer is pretty pitiful...and the fawning over C Ronaldo this season, that circus performer who has yet to do anything on the big stage....dazzling Fulham's/ Man City's/ Charlton's etc's full backs doesn't quite cut it. He's an embarrassment.
The BBC analysis is Teletubbies stuff compared to what you'll hear from the Irish channel.

Andrew said...

Just in case, that tough analysis very much includes analysis of the Irish team. We had Dunphy admitting he hoped Irealnd would lose against Wales so Staunton could get sacked, and noone expressing much in the way of disagreement with this sentiment. Dunphy also described Hansen and Shearer as embarrassing muppets for their soft views a week before the FA threw its pathetic tantrum.

Gordon McCabe said...

Interesting stuff Andrew. That's a classic footballing dilemma: do you want your team to lose so that the bad manager gets the sack sooner rather than later? I can remember wanting Liverpool under Houllier to get really thrashed at times, once it was clear they were going to lose, but I never wanted them to lose. Yet there was a discussion on Radio 5 last week about whether it would be better for England to lose against Andorra.

Brit said...

Astonishingly thin-skinned, the FA. As are most football folk these days.

The reason that the BBC, Sky and even many newspaper journalists aren't as free to be frank in their criticisms as the Irish pundits is that they need to be able to conduct post-match interviews. Alex Ferguson started a trend for boycotting the BBC etc, followed now by Allardyce and other no-marks, and so they have to tiptoe around these prima donnas as if they were royalty. McLaren has started the press conference boycott routine already.

Gordon McCabe said...

It's that issue of journalists being dependent upon the same people they are theoretically holding to account. Did you see Guido Fawkes on Newsnight last week? In one interesting case he revealed, a Sky News journalist gave David Cameron such a hard time in one interview, that the Cameron 'camp' hung Sky out to dry for the next few months. It's a form of Pavlovian training.

Andrew said...

Yes, Gordon, long before the end I'd very similar views regarding Houllier. Scraping into the Champions League but still getting fired was perfect in the end. I'm just over my rage at why he wouldn't play Ltimanen instead of the wonderful Heskey.

Neil Forsyth said...

So-called sporting analysis has always annoyed me. Most of it is plain nonsense and painfully banal. Really, it's all just a variation on the old chestnut: if that had gone in, it would have been a goal. I'll say this for Dunphy, though, he's entertaining. You just never know what he's going to say or do next. As for Brady and Giles - a pair of stiffs.

Gordon McCabe said...

At the end of the day, Neil, it's all about the final product; it's all about getting the ball in the back of the net. If you don't score goals, you can't win matches.

Andrew said...

Giles & Brady can be pretty dull but they never shirk from their views. A pity Giles is never the live commentator because I think he's genuinely the best I've witnessed at that, though often dull in the studio.

Gordon McCabe said...

I've gone over the final catastrophic Houllier years with a fellow Liverpool fan, Andrew, and we both agree that the Summer of 2002 was a key point: Houllier failed to re-sign Anelka onto a proper contract, got rid of Litmanen, and bought El Haji Duffer for £10 million or something, along with Salif Diou (who, amazingly, I think is still technically on Liverpool's books), and Bruno Cheyrou. My friend, however, went back a little further, to the unnecessary exit from the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen. Houllier substituted Hamann for no clear reason, and, predictably they started conceding goals.

Neil Forsyth said...

True, Gordon, very true. I hadn't thought about it like that before. Sorry, I take it all back. Where would we be without the pundits?

Gordon McCabe said...

Good ol' Liam Brady: a reminder of the days when Arsenal used to be run by the Irish.

I reckon Andy Gray is the best live football analyst I've heard. Real passion, and forthright opinion. I don't think I'll ever forget the Gerrard goal against Olympiakos, Gray shouting 'You beauty!' whilst I was on my feet, yelling and gesticulating 'The right man, in the right place, at the right time!'

Gordon McCabe said...

And Neil, how about Richard Keys' famous question to Roy Evans:

"Do you think, Roy, that you need to finish above Manchester United to win the Premiership?"

"You need to finish above everyone to win the Premiership, Richard."

Andrew said...

That Hamann....I'm sorry I must swear.fucking substitution took the biscuit. I was just virtually geting over my Litmanen rage when you mentioned that moment of madness. ANd who did the f....g idiot bring on instead of the defensive Hamann when LFC leading with quarter of an hour remaining? Smicer, that's who. That was unquestionably the most stupid decision in the history of the human species. After Litmanen had scored a beauty too, I remember. I'm on the verge of going on about how Litmanen would instantly turn a disjointed team reduced to the attacking ploys of the long hoof up to Heskey, or alternatively the long throw by Risse, into a fine passing team within moments of his occasional introductions as substitute. But, of course, Diouf, Diao and Cheyrou("the new Zidane" said Houllier)instead of Litmanen and Anelka were strokes of genius.

Gordon McCabe said...

Beautifully put, Andrew. Smicer for Hamann, a masterstroke! And I too remember Houllier anointing Cheyrou as the 'new Zidane'.

Even Benitez underestimated Hamann. The decision to start the Champions League final with Kewell rather than Hamann was astonishing. And even after Kewell came off, we didn't see Hamann until the second half, and, guess what, suddently we weren't conceding goals! In fact, victory in the FA Cup final last year also owed a lot to Hamann's appearance, if I recall.

Brian Stewart said...

Fully agree with all that has been said about Didi Hamann. I worry that we may reach the European Cup Final (again), struggle, reach for our master weapon... and realise he plays for City!

International football is strange. I know that many (most?) Liverpool fans care little about it - too often have our players been injured on international duty, and our club has suffered as a result.

The comments about wanting your team to lose so the manager would be sacked are very interesting. I worked in Manchester in 1990, and one Utd fan - a regular supporter at OT - was delighted when they lost. 'Why?', I naively asked. 'Because now we can sack Ferguson!' If only............

Was in Dublin for a family funeral in February - the day after the Ireland v San Marino game. The whole country seemed to have turned into a lynch mob (including many of my relatives) and were after Steve Staunton. Maybe Stan can turn it around now as Ferguson did and bring the World Cup home!

Back to the comments about Houllier. Those last two years of his were horrible years for the club. It was summed up for me, not by the dreadful signings, non-signings (Anelka), releases (Jari) or near-signings (Bowyer.......) of 2002, but a Houllier post-match interview. We beat City 3-2. At 3-2, we were defending (Anelka wasn't with City that night - had he been, I'm sure we would have lost), and the Kop was chanting 'ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!': so Ged took off Cheyrou (a sort of attacker) and brought on Biscan. Poor Igor look bemused at the boos echoing around the ground, but they weren't for him, they were for Houllier. Afterwards, in one of his increasingly deranged post-match interviews, he asked what more the crowd wanted; after all, we won. At £32, we expected - and deserved - more than the horrible negativity he served up.

Andrew said...

Dreadful days, Brian. The swill he ended up playing.....Also agree that Kewell decision ahead of Hamann extemely unwise. I haven't really seen him yet but in Mascherao perhaps LFC have a very able defensive and creative midfielder. Him and Alonso could be a superb pair... Sissoko for all his work really needs to be a bit better on the ball; you're going to keep needing to win the ball back if you keep giving it away cheaply.