View from the Sofa: Colin Murray was never going to make a virtue of blandness on MOTD2

BBC announce Match of the Day 2 presenter will be replaced from next season

This is not the first time Colin Murray has been “politely asked to leave”. Such, at any rate, is how he represents a premature departure from school in Northern Ireland. Not very surprisingly, he seems to have had a knack for exasperating teachers with irreverent jokes and awkward questions. Now the incorrigible boy is to be expelled from Match Of The Day 2, and replaced next season by Mark Chapman.

The theory goes that the Sunday driver has been vexing the retired F1 aces by volunteering his own opinions. But you can see where he’s coming from. It is not as if he has much hope of getting anything worthwhile out of anyone else.

In fairness, squad rotation among his MOTD2 guests gives him half a chance. But the very need to staunch a glut of inanity from the previous evening, together with the fact that the best matches are increasingly reserved for Sunday, has left Murray caught between two sofas.

The Sunday panel will typically have only two games to analyse, both of which they can watch in full, and of course they have had another 24 hours to digest the hectic events of Saturday. As such, they have the perfect chance to redress the leisured superficiality of the Saturday show. As it is, all they tend to lack is a couple of pints and a packet of pork scratchings. The tone was set by Adrian Chiles. As Regular Geezer incarnate, he not only achieved comfortable assimilation with the casual fan; he also exuded an obedient, what-would-I-know deference to the old pros. (In the process, he even contrived a certain appeal to a third audience, who suspected him of hamming things up fairly lavishly to both.)

His replacement was likewise picked out as a fan, as a good lad, rather than an expert. But Murray brought a very different accent – and not just by taking us from Black Country water gurgling down a plughole, to noises apparently liberated from Jimmy Page’s whammy bar. With his high-energy, nervy style, Murray was never going to make a virtue of blandness. That was presumably a calculated gamble, on the part of those who hired him. He would talk fast, and maybe loose as well; he was always likely to divide opinion. For some, his cheek and enthusiasm would strike a lively chord. But others would wince as he imposed himself on proceedings – as this last weekend, when he proved incapable of grasping not only Pat Nevin’s point, on a disputed penalty, but also the impertinence of his own opinion.

Now Murray would have been perfectly within his rights to light a fire under any of the indolent MOTD regulars who trouser a scandalous cut of your licence fee. But he was picking on a guest with the guts and acuity to depart from the consensus; one prepared to introduce something different even to the crass reduction of football to frame-by-frame dissection of marginal, split-second refereeing decisions.

If Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer or Mark Lawrenson are vexed by Murray’s audacity, in criticising professional footballers, then they should perhaps consider their own temerity, in passing off their 19th hole platitudes as professional analysis. On Sky, Gary Neville has disarmed even the most bilious Liverpudlian with his meticulous disclosure of the game’s less obvious dimensions. Neville on Monday nights has become compulsory for those hitherto told only that “the passing, the movement was sensational”, or that “Silva crosses it and that’s a great finish from Aguero.”

MOTD pundits are falling between a rock and a soft place: between their intellectual calcification and their opulently cushioned rumps. Murray might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps viewers would sooner have had their rage quelled by a quiet twinkle in the eye of someone like James Richardson. As he walks the plank, however, Murray is entitled to bewilderment as looks over his shoulder, and sees all those slobs still lolling smugly round the captain’s bottle of rum.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution