James Corrigan: Redknapp scores an own goal with Cowell impression
View From The Sofa: Football's Next Star, Sky
Monday 11 January 2010
It's difficult to discern which is the most offensive aspect of those Jamie and Louise Redknapp adverts doing the brainwashing loop for a certain travel company. That they expect us to believe that any marriage can be so perfect. Or that they expect us to believe the Redknapps really go on package holidays.
But then, you watch the ad again (and again and again) and you realise that not everything is as idyllic as it seems. At one point Jamie is shown barechested hitting golf balls on a beach, while Louise is on a horse galloping through the sea. What sort of island paradise are they running here? Where a beautiful woman can't even go for a quick clip-clop across the waves without some disgruntled husband directing his Titleists at Dobbin's rear end? Actually, perhaps this is where Tiger Woods has been hiding all these months...
Whatever, on close examination it doesn't do Jamie's "all-round good bloke" image any favours (particularly to those of us sad enough to recall the scene in Animal House where Otter takes aim at Niedermayer's horse, causing the poor animal to bolt and drag along his rider by the stirrups). And, for that matter, neither does Football's Next Star.
This is the latest attempt to marry the reality TV craze with the continuing football obsession and like all the previous ones, it doesn't work. Primarily because a parade of wannabes doing three-minute keepie-up segments wouldn't make the most gripping of Saturday night telly. So it isn't live and, therefore, isn't exciting.
Yet even if Redknapp's series is football's next flop, the TV execs still won't resist trying. For every flow chart tells them the XI Factor should work. It's like when Alan Coren went to see his publishers, desperate for a bestseller. He was told the "hot" book subjects were golf and cats. Soon a new Coren work hit the shelves – Golfing For Cats.
Football's Next Star is supposed to cash in on the agony of broken dreams and in this regard Redknapp is supposed to be Simon Cowell. He isn't. There's as much chance of Jamie saying, "If you played like that 2,000 years ago people would have stoned you", as there is of him jumping up in the Sky studio and saying: " Shut it, Souness. Or outside."
No, he is way too nice and the format is way too predictable. "I hate that bit," said Jamie, as he sent one hopeful back to his Scottish tenement in the ever-so familiar auditions show. With that, Redknapp embarked on a rant about the disgraceful lack of facilities at grass roots. Worthy argument, unworthy outlet.
But then it did throw up many questions, the most tragic of which is who will end up on the bench for Ebbsfleet in three years' time. Also: why Italy and why Sky? Doesn't ESPN hold the rights to Serie A in the UK? Does Rupert Murdoch know his main entertainment channel is busily promoting the only league on Planet Football he doesn't own?
And what do Inter Milan gain from this? Have they noted the staggering progress made by Jermaine Pennant on the Continent? Or have they simply got so sick of watching Alex, Arsène, Carlo and Co nabbing all their young talent, they've resigned themselves to picking over the English discards?
Or maybe Jose simply misses the UK spotlight. Tonight the lucky 10 travel to Milan's training ground and a breathless Mourinho appears to say: "We need two of you to train with the first team, now!" As unplanned as one of his press conferences.
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