Robin Scott-Elliot: FA Cup lacking in glitter but darts remains pure gold

View From The Sofa: World Darts, FA Cup Third Round/BBC, Sky, ITV

In the build-up to Christmas, sometime at the start of September, there was a succession of adverts on TV suggesting people traded in unwanted jewellery for cash. What state the economy would be in if Bobby George had taken up that offer doesn't bear thinking about; suffice to say that Alistair Darling's eyebrows may well have finally matched his hair colour such would have been the figures involved.

There were rings on his fingers and if there had been bells on his toes, they too would have been gold. There were more necklaces than necks at the Lakeside, although there weren't that many necks in evidence as they tended to get lost in a forest of chins. There were bracelets too. Close your eyes and with the clinking of jewellery and gruff South-eastern voices it was possible to imagine you were being sweet-talked by Pat Butcher.

But like most things to do with darts, Bobby dazzling is TV gold. The BBC have the poor man's version of the world championships – not literally of course when you factor in Bobby the pawn star – and labelling Tony O'Shea world No 1 belongs in the realms of the global involvement in baseball's season finale.

Which is all beside the point as this column was meant to be about the FA Cup. Third-round Saturday is supposed to be one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. But these days, thanks in part (and at the risk of biting the hand that feeds the sofa) to TV shifting any half-decent looking game to Sunday, that's like saying Tony O'Shea is the best in the world. O'Shea incidentally is nicknamed Silverback due to his "squat figure", to borrow from Wikipedia. The BBC, as is their obsession when it comes to non-team sports, kept cutting to Mrs O'S, who was roaring her husband on while clutching a cuddly gorilla, which would seem to back up Wikipedia for once.

Like the Queen's Speech in years long gone by, third-round Saturday used to be one of the sterling traditions of the Christmas holidays, but these days nobody's that bothered unless it's been an annus horribilis, ie one of your many homes has been fire damaged or your fringe players – the Prince Charlies as they're known in palace circles – have just lost at Bury.

Football Focus and Dan Walker, their puppy dog presenter, promised some romance and delivered a clip of Ronnie Radford within 60 seconds, but instead there was Gary Megson, sitting so mournfully on the sofa he made Lawro look full of beans. Walker bounced happily opposite them, "Lovely to see you Gary, look what happens when I unravel this roll of toilet paper. Who said walkies?" Megson kept mentioning "the football club" in case any viewers switching over from T4 thought he had been manager of Smooth, Bolton's premier nightclub.

On Soccer Saturday, their man at Stoke broke an FA Cup exclusive. "I can exclusively reveal that the York coach arrived five minutes ago," he said breathlessly, although that might have been down to the cold. At Boro, a pale man whose teeth may have been chattering suggested that the "weather could be the big story of the day". The football certainly wasn't, so when a secessionist movement on the sofa seized control of the remote and switched to Clifford the Big Red Dog, there was little protest, particularly when it turned out to be an allegorical tale of Manchester City: a dog that grew very big but still couldn't stop making an absolute tit of itself.

Order was restored in time to see Tic-Tacs advertised during half-time on ITV, another FA Cup tradition – and that's just about where we came in.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape