Robin Scott-Elliot: Does Crooks know the final score – or is this the end?

View From The Sofa: Final Score/Champions League, BBC 1/ITV 1

Share
Related Topics

Question one: who was loser in all last week's financial cut and thrust , statements, dairy dilemmas, sound and fury? Question two: is Garth Crooks turning into Colonel Kurtz as football hurtles towards its apocalypse?



Final Score is not a regular stopping point for this column, what with it being the poor man's version of Jeff Stelling and Co on Sky, although there are signs of Stelling going a bit Citizen Kane. So if Stelling is Welles then Crooks is Brando, a brooding, spreading presence on the Final Score sofa.

On Saturday, as Mark Chapman – a rich man's Colin Murray – did his introductions, Garth stared moodily into the distance, or rather off screen towards a hidden monitor showing the Chelsea game. It seemed like an age before he said anything, this once bright, probing pundit now being eaten up by (or, by the look of it, having eaten) the iniquities of the great game he once graced. He sat menacingly and unmoveable, lost in dark thoughts as the programme took its course and goals flew in from Fratton Park to Deepdale to Bo'ness.

Possibly this explains why the BBC seems so keen on employing Robbie "I'm quite a character, you know" Savage. He is to be cast in the Martin Sheen role, sent on a mission into a dangerous studio, with only soft furnishings as cover, to get rid of a rogue pundit or perish in the attempt and spend eternity trapped in the underworld, otherwise known as the red button.

There used to be a man at the BBC called Kevin who had the job at live football games of pressing a button to make the little offside flag appear on screen. I like to think he has an equivalent at Sky, the guy who frantically winds the "Breaking News" ticker, although it is not a job you would have wanted over the last couple of weeks. He must be exhausted.

So back to question one and the Rooney saga – if a week can be a saga, what with it being a long time in football. There has been one loser who has gone almost unnoticed. The group stages of the Champions League do not offer much in the way of enticing games, no Wonderful Wednesdays or Terrific Tuesdays, but Tottenham's trip to play Internazionale, Harry's pretenders against the defending champions, had real potential and so ITV leapt on it. And it turned out to be even better than they could have wished for, except all eyes were fixed grimly on Old Trafford over on Sky. What sort of reception would Fergie get? Would the bullocking Rooney get booed for fancying a get together with a sky-blue herd of heffers?

Back in San Siro, Marcel Desailly, an engaging if slightly batty pundit, kissed Samuel Eto'o as the Inter striker passed ITV's presentation position on the side of the pitch. Now that the Premier League is so populated by foreign players it should only be a matter of time before this charming practice is adopted properly over here and Alan Shearer is greeting Andy Carroll with similarly amorous enthusiasm.

As events unfolded at pace in Italy – every flick back to ITV from Old Trafford saw another goal – the United game turned into the usual plodding Champions League encounter. There was much better entertainment on ITV and a half-time analysis from Gareth Southgate that underlined his rapidly improving on-screen presence. Live presenting away from the security of a studio is a skill that few master but little seems to faze Adrian Chiles and, with Southgate growing into his role and Desailly spreading his love, it was a slick effort, but one that was upstaged by events elsewhere.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone