Robin Scott-Elliot: Why kids want to be Wayne and all Swedish men look like Sven

View From The Sofa: Blackrock Masters, ITV 4 2-7 Dec; Rooney's Street Striker, Sky 1 Sunday
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The Independent Online

There are not many sports in which the competitors have to go about their business in the shadow of a giant organ, but that's Prince Albert's legacy for you. Craig Doyle was much exercised by the venue for the BlackRock Masters, which is slow-motion tennis for spectators who believe the world was a better place when Jeremy Bates was master of the court.

Doyle, a presenter you want to like, never missed a moment to gasp about the "wonderful arena", the "beauty" and the "perfect pitch – listen as John Lloyd and I duet 'Stairway to Heaven' with John McEnroe on guitar." Or something like that.

McEnroe was there, so was Pete Sampras. "He looks a bit hairy and scary," said Doyle. Tennis, you sensed, was not natural territory for Doyle, but he has plenty of wide-eyed enthusiasm and that mischievous twinkle in the eye, to resort to Irish television presenter stereotyping. Craig Doyle: Nephew of Terry.

Nephew of Terry trotted on to court to interview Sampras. "What's this I hear about you staying in your hotel room and watching Desperate Housewives?" Sampras looked startled, as if he'd just been told the prize for winning the Masters was an all-over body waxing. "There's not a lot to watch on television in Europe," he replied. "Try ITV," said Nephew of Terry. On court Greg Rusedski – Grinning Greg according to the competition's website – was battling his way past Sven-Goran Eriksson. Sven took Greg to a tie-break before he was dazzled by the whites of his opponent's teeth and trudged off to talk to Nephew of Terry. "Welllll," he said. On closer inspection it turned out to be Stefan Edberg. Perhaps that is the natural ageing process in Sweden, all men end up looking like Sven, apart from the chaps from Abba of course. And Tomas Brolin, who might have done if he hadn't swallowed an Ikea beanbag. Bates now looks like Tony Blair's less smug elder brother, the nice one who never quite lived up to expectations but never misses a family do.

Wayne Rooney may one day play in football's equivalent of the Masters as you cannot imagine him ever wanting to hang up his boots. The most endearing thing about Rooney is that he appears to love what he does. Football for Rooney is an all-consuming affair. When he gets home from work, he no doubt drags Colleen and the butler out into the garden – he's probably got a full-size goal, in the lower paddock out of sight of the house at Colleen's insistence – for a game of headers and volleys.

Wayne Rooney's Street Striker may be an over-styled, sponsor-laden show with hyped voice-over and endless "banging" backing tracks, but it was redeemed by Rooney and the competitors. Some of the skill was breathtaking, as was the confidence of some of the teenagers. One youngster, hair styled into a Ronaldo fin, swaggered up to Rooney. "Looks familiar," said Rooney. The boy grinned. "Fabregas?" asked Rooney and the boy's face fell. Then there was Kabir, possibly the most self-assured human to walk the earth since Goliath. "In the bag," he said of the challenge of controlling five balls dropped from tower block balconies and shooting them into a skip in 40 seconds.

Rooney couldn't resist the challenge; bish, bash, back-heel into the skip. The teenagers gasped in admiration. Apart from Kabir, who looked as underwhelmed as Pete Sampras thumbing through the Radio Times.

Pulis and Brown not suited to top flight

As Match of the Day viewers will know, Stoke and, in particular, Hull are enjoying the Premier League. But they are being let down by their managers' dress sense. In his baseball cap and tracksuit, Tony Pulis resembles a Rab C Nesbitt extra, while Phil Brown, with his earpiece and fur-collared leather jacket, looks like Alan Partridge's minicab driver.

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