Like the resplendent Alan above*, I have been taking a break from the WASKAF posts. I’d love to pretend that this was because my Saturday nights have all been spent larging it in Faces with second-string England players, but in reality it has been post-traumatic stress. After about four WASKAFs, I realised that I could just post the same thing each week. Given that it is called “What Alan Shearer Knows About Football’, the temptation to put up a blank post was huge. Perhaps, I could just steal the idea from Pitchfork’s famous review of Jet’s second album?
I am in awe of the sacrifices made by people who have to be with him every week; paying attention, looking interested, minimising all sighs. For this, my heart goes out to the entire Match of the Day staff, all his former teammates, and the Shearer family. This is for you.
Inspired by their spirit, I am recharged. I feel like the man himself must do after a week spent frying like an unburst hairy sausage in the unforgiving Dubai sun. Sitting alongside the ur-Alan (Hansen), Shearer was rocking a bizarre shirt even by his standards; crisp and white, yet with incongruous black stripy collars and cuffs. Although a possible nod to his Newcastle leanings, it looked more like it was designed so that he could rip it off in a Chippendale emergency.
Unfazed by his previous bestings by Hansen, Shearer got about him early doors; “Alan used the word awesome and I would echo that”, using the word ‘echo’ in this instance to mean ‘copy’. Instead of letting Hansen back in, Shearer proceeded to do my favourite commentary trope, that of the ‘imagined monologue’. This technique was pioneered in the Brazil vs Scotland game of World Cup 98 where Brian Moore imagined Colin Hendry, panicked by Ronaldo’s pace, internally shrieking “I CAN’T GET TO HIIIIM!” in a most un-Hendry like tone. Wor Alan proceeded to imagine Fernando Torres’ thought process in shrewd piece of play with Gerrard: “Have a little flick on, take a touch – TURN! And, I tell you what – I’ll play the ball into Gerrard“.
Actually, I do rather like the idea that Torres thinks the words – “I’ll tell you what”
Unfortunately such creative endeavours were a step too far for Alan, and he was drained thereafter. He was left floundering analysis of Hyppia’s unexpected defensive masterclass, his only response being “Clever, eh?“. Yes, I suppose that being clever is clever.
Like a Shakespearean fool though, Sheario of Novo Castro quite unwittingly shone the sharpest light on the whole sorry mess. Upon being shown the usual irrelevant mini league table of the top four, Sheario interjected:
“If it means absolutely nothing, then why are we showing it?”
Jesters do oft prove prophets.
* – incidentally, do check out Alan’s mad Shadow-Puppet skills.