Robin Scott-Elliot: For me, Gary, at £40k a go Hansen shouldn't need boost of Madchester move
The View From The Sofa: Match of the Day, BBC1
Monday 31 October 2011
According to Noel Gallagher, Creation Records made the move from London to Manchester because the drugs were better up north, or so he informed an entertaining documentary on the story of Alan McGee and co last week. That is probably not the reason the Match of the Day Alans, Hansen and Shearer, and the rest of the programme's producers, sofas, fixtures and fittings are making the same switch but they do seem to have already bought into the Madchester stereotype that McGee's men played a part in creating.
Saturday's Match of the Day – the last to be broadcast from Television Centre in London – opened with the other Gallagher swaggering around in a City shirt, which raises the question of how they would have portrayed other clubs in such a situation. If Chelsea get back to the top they could call in one of the real people with real feelings about the difficulties of retaining domestic staff from Made in Chelsea (it's on my zeitgeist tape). Norwich? Alan Partridge. Newcastle? Ant and Dec? Or just Dec on his own? The first Match of the Day opened with the words "Welcome to Beatleville" so perhaps the programme is just echoing its history. The mind does drift when Alan Shearer is picking – does Hansen look a little like Woody from Toy Story? – the bones out of Wigan against Fulham.
Shearer has a formula for analysis that is as predictable as Steve Kean's future. He signals he's about to start to give his – and no one else's, mind – point of view by declaring "For me, Gary..." He has taken to repeating the same point with slightly different wording, so stretching out what he has to say by instigating moderate changes to the way he assemble the words at his disposal, and then finishing by making a jocular reference to Hansen's obsession with defenders and their inability to meet their job description. Cue joshing with Hansen.
Hansen was actually in fine form; when he rouses himself (and who wouldn't for £40k an episode?) he is still a pundit well worth paying close attention to, such as on Saturday when he meticulously measured the gaps between Arsenal's backline (or rather meticulously got somebody to measure the gaps for him while he mulled over his tricky second to the 18th at Wentworth the day before). Maybe it's the prospect of change that has reinvigorated him, or maybe it really is the sight of terrible defending from top to bottom of the league – part of the reason the Premier League is so goal-friendly at the moment is because the defending is universally dire. It's enough to make Hansen spin in his removals crate on his way north this week.
There are so many goals at the moment that Match of the Day, with its lasting and simply effective formula, can't fail. Where the Saturday programme often misses out is when the match of the weekend comes on the Sunday. This weekend they had all the big sides and the programme galloped along as though Gary Lineker were still holding the reins of a football stallion rather than steering an ageing carthorse up the M6, if I may saddle up and flog an equine metaphor straight to the knacker's yard/glue factory/water to see if it will take a drink. Finally it was time to pack and decide whether bubble wrap is better value for money than old newspaper when it comes to wrapping the large imitation League trophy that sits next to the sofa. "For me, Gary," said Alan...
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