Sport on TV: Jolly Rodgers makes you long for dour King Kenny
Sunday 23 September 2012
At least the Kop weren't singing "You'll never walk alone". One of the opening sequences of Being: Liverpool (Channel 5, Friday) had Brendan Rodgers wandering by himself along the touchline of Anfield, cutting a forlorn figure in front of the empty stands.
This curious first instalment of the "fly-on-the-wall" documentary series was made for the Fox Soccer Channel in the United States, presumably at the behest of the club's latest American owner, John W Henry, to showcase his acquisition. But it starts with the slaying of King Kenny Dalglish. As the club prepare to meet their old nemesis Manchester United today – some things never change – at least it wasn't up to date enough to include the fact that they had made their worst start to a season in 101 years.
King Brendan doesn't have quite the same ring about it, but he is evidently ready to take on the mantle since he has a huge portrait of himself hanging on the wall at home. His house in Formby's footballer's row looks rather like a shopping centre, which is about right since this series is meant to be some kind of shop window.
But there are a lot of damaged goods past their sell-by date here, such as Joe Cole, Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll. "It's going to take something incredible for him to leave the club," says Rodgers of Carroll. Incredibly, he has left.
We also visit the boudoirs of Steve Gerrard and Lucas Leiva. Brendan is big on family. "Every player I see as my own son," he says. "I want them to do it for their children." But he's been busy selling his a lot of his "children", leaving them to find a living elsewhere to support their own kids.
Rodgers addresses his players for the first time with the words: "You can only trust yourselves, no one else. And you can trust the fans, because they're the best. And you can trust your family." No wonder they look a bit confused on the pitch. Next we hear from Henry and the club's managing director, Ian Ayre, that Dalgish understood all along that his appointment was only a temporary measure. We'll just have to trust them on that.
* We have very high expectations after the summer of sport we've enjoyed, and the World Twenty20 has not had an inspiring first week. It started on a Tuesday; sometimes there's one game a day, sometimes two; and the results have been so predictable, even the bookmakers must be struggling to earn a crust. The most interesting feature has been the teams' kits. There's something you can put your shirt on.
"It's muggy, it's clammy and a little big claggy," said David Lloyd (Sky Sports 1, Wednesday), so it's appropriate that Asian sweatshops have been working overtime to turn out the dazzling strips, which look like replicas of the most garish football shirts. Australia had the look of World Cup '78 while Ireland's outfit would have suited Chris Waddle, circa 1990.
The Afghans are wearing an Eighties number that Duran Duran could have worn; it just needs some shoulder pads rather than batting pads. England and India should be ashamed of how dull their kits are. It's as if they came without knowing it was a fancy dress party. But Jade Dernbach has so many tattoos that he could not wear a shirt at all and still have the most outlandish strip of them all.
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