Sport on TV: Objective thinking takes a dive along with Drogba's reputation

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The Independent Online

There are few certainties in life but here are three: it will end one day, Didier Drogba will fall over a blade of grass, and every time Jamie Redknapp opens his mouth on television, nonsense tumbles out.

Emotions were running high in the Sky Sports studio after Chelsea had bowed out to Barcelona. Redknapp shook and spluttered and blew little bubbles. Of the performance of Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, he launched into: "Why can't we have the best Italian or Spanish... Hold on, we can't have a Spanish one..." Then he called Andy Gray Andrew Gay.

It was almost as compulsive as the match itself. Graeme Souness sat brooding on the other side of Ruud Gullit, looking very dangerous, like a man who might run out and plant a flag in the centre circle of an arch rival's pitch after beating them in a cup final. "He's actually got his hand across his throat there," he muttered darkly of the first penalty incident.

Redknapp was probably sticking up for his pals, Lamps and JT, sharing their outrage. Never mind the fact that 800 replays seemed to suggest there were reasons why three of the appeals were turned down. And Drogba fell over in the other one. It was up to Gullit to supply the voice of reason. He said: "Building a house is more difficult than demolishing a house." Ah jeez, anyone talking any sense around here?

To be fair, Gullit was the more philosophical even though he was the only former Chelsea man. It seems a long time ago since he would deride English teams as incapable of facing European giants such as Milan, for whom he played. Perhaps he was secretly glad that Barcelona's sexy football had won the day, and that a non-English club might win the trophy that he held twice.

The erroneous sending-off of Eric Abidal and Barca's never-say-die attitude and silkiness with 10 men and half an hour to play were largely ignored by all apart from Gullit. The snarling spirit of Drogba infected the studio and two of the pundits were tripping over themselves to put their feet in their mouths.

Like the players' reaction, it was not very impressive but it was entertaining. Who needs 4-4 draws when you can have a good old 1-0?

* Shane Warne is about to batter our eardrums again, though at least he won't be appealing for a wicket this time. Sky Sports have signed him up for the Ashes and if his astute work behind the mike so far is anything to go by, we are in for a treat because he really knows the game.

One can only hope that he doesn't get too chummy with Sir Ian Botham or we might not hear much about cricket. Beefy is fired up about his new buddy, though it may just be Ashes fever. It will do him good to sit next to someone who really is always right.

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