Television bosses are considering a root and branch redevelopment of British punditry, amid claims that imported stars, such as Clarence Seedorf and David Ginola, are harming the prospects of young English pundits.
The move comes in the aftermath of the Match of the Day team’s poor showing at the World Cup. This dip in form has continued worryingly into the new season, with no sign of abating. The question of why the team performed so poorly has split experts and journalists.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson urged the need for change. “Football punditry as a whole in this country needs to focus more of the technical aspects of its game. All too often we see an uncultured question lofted up to the big man, hoping that a poacher will pick up the scraps. However, time and again we are seeing Alan fail to control it, leaving him lurching to recover his touch. Then Mark tries to convert the joke, but scuffs it completely and falls over”.
To address the problems at a grass-roots level Thompson has been introducing fundamental media training for young presenters, hoping to instil the values of keeping possession of the thread of their argument, always looking up for an informative and insightful interjection to a free man. But so far, ‘Project Manish’ has been pronounced an abject failure, with an enforced demotion from top-flight punditry.
The dearth in home talent has proved difficult for the imports too, as Ruud Gullit admitted his own embarrassment at the situation. “For sure, it is hard turning up at the Sky Sports studios each week. Because I know full well that at some point during the introductions, they are going to put a caption under my name listing me as a “Double European Cup winner”. Then they’ll get to Jamie, and it will flash up “League Cup 1995″. Looking across at Jamie, I just feel awful; it’s almost as if he understands”.