Stan Hey: Savage throws up dog's dinner

View from the sofa

The marginalisation of the FA Cup may have reached new levels of exclusion yesterday but broadcaster ESPN decided to return to old ways via the new. Having bought up the failed Setanta to set up a UK outpost and convert it to their house style, the American outfit – Disney owned – dedicated 12 hours to our neglected national institution.

Starting at 8am with Breakfast at Wembley – "we'll make your sausage sizzle" announced one host, setting a tone – ESPN tried to mix the nostalgic elements of old ITV coverage with the slick, American outside broadcast. Cameras never stopped moving. Everybody had a headset. And every item seemed to have a predetermined time limit.

Robbie Savage, last seen in his vest and underpants after his retirement match, turned up only marginally more dressed, in scarf and faded jeans. Part-host/part-celebrity, at least in his own mind, Savage was involved in some guff on corporate feeding and then torpedoed an item on Stoke and Manchester ales by announcing that he didn't drink beer. Savage's dozy contribution was matched by the hapless lad assigned to the Stoke hotel but who was restricted to the main road a mile away.

A later sequence, borrowed from the parent company, involved two broadcasters sitting pitch-side behind a white desk akin to Liberace's piano, speeding through stats.

Archive fillers followed but soon we were back pitch-side where the Liberace desk was now manned by host Ray Stubbs, with unemployed managers Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan, Franck Leboeuf (why?), and Savage re-dressed in a Liberace suit. "Looks like your 70s haircut Kev," quipped Savage as bearskin-clad Coldstream Guards marched past.

Eventually the match commentary took over. "Balotelli's down, what happened?" screamed Jon Champion in rare drama. "Didn't see anything," Chris Waddle replied helpfully. After nine hours, I had – an American burger with too much English cheese.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower