Robin Scott-Elliot: Spoonful of Shearer helps the medicine go down ... and down

View From The Sofa: Football Focus, BBC1 / Soccer Saturday, Sky Sports / Match of the Day, BBC 1

There are times when footballers do little to combat the impression of being children trapped in adult bodies. Barry Ferguson and Alan McGregor's V-signs to the cameras at Hampden last week were straight out of Gregory's Girl. Peter Pan's got nothing on today's players, except of course his aerial ability.

This kick-a-ball kidulthood means that the ideal manager is always described as a mortar board- sporting, old-fashioned educator, dishing out detention and inspiration in equal measures. Before England's game with Ukraine, Rio Ferdinand told ITV how much the players admired Mr Capello Sir, because he was like a good teacher; Mr Chips with menace. But for a club such as Newcastle that is not enough. Sure you need discipline, but you also need a sense of fun and adventure because that is how the Geordie Nation like their game played. In short, you need Mary Poppins.

Saturday was Alan Shearer day. The day according to Garth Crooks that Newcastle's "fairy son" returned home. At least, that's what it sounded like as the BBC went all giddy over their man's first step into management against Chelsea. "It is," said Manish Bhasin, effortlessly catching the moment on Football Focus, "the battle of the interim managers."

"It's the Shearer factor," said Rob Lee from the Focus sofa as he waits to be cast alongside his old mate, possibly as Bert. "It's incredible," said somebody. "He's the Messiah," said someone else. "Pulsating," said Manish. "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy," pointed out Terry Jones, bringing a much-needed note of realism to proceedings.

Over on Sky, Paul Merson was there to take us through the game itself, battling courageously with the English language. "Chelsea looking the more likely?" asked Jeff Stelling. "They look like the team that if anybody does will be the team, Jeff," explained Merse. And he was soon to be proved right, in a manner of speaking.

So finally to Match of the Day, from whom Shearer is on loan. As we were told again. And again. And a few more times too. Gary Lineker spoke to Big Al post-match and managed to phrase every question with a reference to his place on the sofa alongside the other Big Al. "Even though they lost, they're in a better position than when he took over," opined the Other Big Al before going on to explain that Big Al was practically perfect in every way.

As for the man himself, he looked like he was playing a part, but one he was not yet altogether sure of. He didn't seem to know what to do with his hands during the game and settled on the safety-first option of tucking them into his pockets. "The fairy tale didn't quite happen," reflected Lineker. The Other Big Al patted the sofa suggestively. "We need to educate," summed up Shearer before flicking open his brolly and floating up, up and away over St James' Park.

ITV puts England games on the map

Opening titles can be something of an industry obsession and something of an irrelevance to viewers. But ITV's choice for live England matches, where they sweep across the country from landmark to landmark, is worth a second glance; imaginative, clever and quirky.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living