Robin Scott-Elliot: And the winners are (although not literally)... Jamie and Ray
View From The Sofa: Whoever it was at Sky who leaked, and kept leaking, clips of Richard Keys and Andy Gray digging their TV graves, got their men
Monday 30 May 2011
Now that the football season is over – give or take a play-off, an international or two, a handful of testimonials, the summer tours, next season... – it is time for Gary Lineker to head for the golf course and Whoever Is Not Richard Keys to dash back to the library and return a well-thumbed copy of The Female Eunuch. But before they go, the Sofa Season Awards:
The best newcomer Does not in any way whatsoever go to Robbie Savage, and not because he has already won a more prestigious, or real, award but because he is rubbish. A host of underappreciated pundits work on radio and TV, Pat Nevin chief among them, who are leagues better, and wittier, than Robbie "I'm a character, me" Savage.
The Jamie Redknapp award for being Jamie Redknapp, ie looking damn good, being damn nice but, on reflection, saying little to broaden viewers' footballing horizons even if he says it damn well There's only one winner, quite literally. Jamie Redknapp.
Solving the Season's Countdown Conundrum Award Jeff Stelling, for understanding, or at least pretending to understand, what Dean Windass says in his public assault on the English language during Soccer Saturday. The show has teetered on the brink of being too pleased with itself – unlike, it should be noted, the previous award winner for all his damn blessings, damn him – but on days such as the Premier League finale it remains head and shoulders above the competition, grasping and then gasping at the sheer happy thrill of it all.
The Canadian Mountie Award for getting their man Whoever it was at Sky who leaked, and kept leaking, clips of Richard Keys and Andy Gray digging their TV graves. They got their men. Rarely has there been a better example of suffering the consequence of behaviour on the way up the ladder. When the media storm began it was striking how few allies Keys and Gray had. They were not short of enemies and there were those within Sky happy to deliver the coup de grâce.
Say what you see trophy (a trophy for saying what you see) Too many pundits get away with watching a replay and describing what happened rather than providing a true insight. Mark Bright has long been a studied proponent of such an approach, but no one comes close to Alan Shearer, who mystifyingly remains one of Match of the Day's main men.
Cult of the year Ray Wilkins. It has not been the best of campaigns for Wilkins, but his obsession with players staying on their feet made him a Twitter hit in a rather more endearing way than Ryan Giggs.
Best analysis ITV has made good use of its magnifying glass and nowhere was it more striking than in the second leg of Barcelona against Real Madrid. In a few seconds it revealed the panic Lionel Messi creates – Xabi Alonso lost track of the Argentine and was highlighted trying to spin his head like an agitated owl in search of his man. Messi was gone; Messi scored.
Not the analysis of the year A second Sofa Statue, this year modelled in the shape of next door's cow as it's something coveted, goes to Wilkins, this time for his observation that if a player is going to miss the target it is better he does so by a distance to give his team time to get back in shape for the opponents' goal-kick.
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