Robin Scott-Elliot: Chelsea model the pants in football's fashion parade
View From the Sofa: Premier League, Sky Sports/BBC1
Monday 27 April 2009
A new arrival on the sofa and the trouble with babies is that, rather like Sir Alex Ferguson and the FA Cup, they have no sense of occasion. You win nothing with kids and watch nothing with bairns, as Alan Hansen would have said if Lawro hadn't butted in with a characteristic quip about bleating hearts. A half of Liverpool, a stifled yawn at Chelsea, and plenty of Sky Sports News' Through the Night and too bloody early in the morning.
Did you know Fred Couples has an affinity with the people of Asia? So they said about the American as the European Tour visited South Korea – golf geography knows no boundaries. And neither do the Dutch. They get about do the Hollanders – there's the Dutch East Indies for a start – and they were all over the telly last week. There was one on the World Cup of Pool talking about the boot camp he runs for wannabe Russian pool stars outside Moscow. Only the Dutch could get pool into a boot camp. Then Ruud Gullit popped up at Stamford Bridge wearing a suit so shiny Richard Keys spent the first half using it to groom himself.
Chelsea's turgid draw with Everton was the exception in a week when glorious football proved the ruler of our screens. It was the moment in the Premier League's hypnotising procession when the slave (Lord Treisman perhaps) clutching the laurel wreath above Richard Scudamore's head whispers: "You are still mortal" in his ear.
Romans, who knew a thing or two about tight formations, might not have been impressed with the defending at Anfield on Tuesday, but the entertainment was up there with gala night at the Circus Maximus, give or take the odd chariot and chewed-up Christian. Thumbs up all round (or was it down?).
It helped not to tune in until moments before Liverpool's first equaliser but from then on it was glorious viewing, if not always glorious listening. Andy Gray's punditry is akin to watching Boycott bat, technically you can't fault him, but he is hard to warm to. As was the Chelsea game the following night. Attention spans are short in these days of football's metamorphosis into basketball and isn't The Apprentice sport of sorts? There's a gobbie Geordie who looks like John Terry. "Kids love pants," he said. "For ush the title ish over," said Guus Hiddink back on Sky, but it's not for the Geordie who avoided Alan Sugar's firing finger.
Sugar once hired and fired at Tottenham and he would have been pointing the finger – to flog a crap line to death in a manner that the computer salesman would hopefully approve – at Howard Webb at Old Trafford on Saturday. It was a dodgy penalty and part of another wonderful spectacle. Towards the end a camera caught Fergie puffing out his reddened cheeks and exhaling through wobbling lips. Then he grinned. Another normal week on Planet Premier League, the ultimate Never Never Land.
Don't be fobbed off by Hansen's latest claim
Here's a new football phrase – "the Scottish fob"; to hold off an opponent. Alan Hansen's claim on Match of the Day is yet another example, Mr Starkey, of the Scots' powers of invention. Sort of.
Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.
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