I love football. But as any responsible adult would say, ‘there is a time and a place for it.’
Unfortunately, for now at least, that time and place does not come immediately after the final whistle has been blown.
‘The pundits get too much air time.’ My mum used to say, and I used to agree. Though, now I’ve had a change of heart and mind. It’s not the air time they get, but when they get it.
Football is a game of opinion, a game of tactics, passion and loads of money. It should be talked about passionately, and it should be analysed thoroughly. But the post match analysis and reaction shows of premier league games are, for the time being, something we as viewers as well as the pundits and production companies are not yet ready for.
The problem lies in the confusion in what the production companies want their post match shows to be.
Are they meant to provide expert opinion?
I used to get annoyed watching the likes of Jamie C and Jamie R, Thierry, Gary, Graeme and the gang frequently getting so irate, repetitive, and unable to provide much more than a blame game and a moment by moment commentary of the missed reds, and goals that never were.
Now I am much more understanding of their predicament.
Those 5, and it could have been others, were all elite winners at the highest level. They would do whatever it takes to win.
They all clearly love the game too and are encouraged to be provocative. So when they watch and react to games, they do it from the point of view of elite winners in fight mode, and that’s not something any of us need on a regular basis.
No more is it their 10 teammates, a ref and 2 linos who will feel their wrath when the whistle blows, but 22+ players + managers + match officials getting the, admittedly probably watered down, treatment from our ex-pros.
Promoted as elite pros with expert opinion and the latest tech to hand, plus wearing tailor-made suits and looking dapper, they’ve not been brought in under the guise of friendly post-match chit-chat, or banter. They’re already above that, different to you and me.
It can’t be pub talk.
They’re here for incisive expert opinion. They inevitably fall short. It is not because they are incapable, but because they are hot-blooded winners being encouraged to be critical (not in an academic sense) having had little time to cool down and regroup.
They are already in fight mode, so in-love with the game they are, but come the final whistle they are armed with only the personal opinion of a winner, not an analyst, and ready to defend it at all costs, which inevitably leads to non-sensical confrontation.
It leads to this (Jamie vs Jamie clip)
It is uncomfortable viewing. These men are very admirable in many ways, but post match debates do nothing for them, and nothing for me. I’d rather watch real people, real fans just react with their real opinions. I can agree or disagree with them on a level playing field, and not care about it.
The production companies have already set the Jamies’ apart so disagreeing with them or being underwhelmed by them requires much more emotional energy – and I’m tired of it. Why not let the experts cool down, give them a day or a week, to prepare and provide some insight that most of us don’t have the time or resources to get to do ourselves?
And if they have to have a show after the whistle…
…just ask them what they would do with their teammates in those important moments of the game, how they would be feeling, if that had happened to them in their careers.
They can still enlighten us post match, just by giving us insights into their elite professional footballers’ lives, which was after all my dream, so let me be all stary-eyed and listen to them answering ‘what’s it like?’