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

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup