Nothing can kill the excitement of a big European occasion like ITV's coverage of it. Their Chiles-Tydesley-Townsend axis of banality is still head and shoulders above the other coverage out there in terms of mind-bending annoyance. But they're certainly not the only broadcaster with bad pundits, as you can see below.
An inexplicable staple of British punditry, Lawrenson's sole redeeming feature used to be a luxurious moustache. His petty, lazy, sardonic swipes at the game and today's star players suggest he was the Messi of his day. He wasn't.
England and Premier League legend that he is, Shearer is as out of depth on the Match of the Day sofa as he was during his short tenure as Newcastle manager. Suffering from a fairly common affliction amongst TV pundits, that he has little knowledge of any football played beyond these shores, he is constantly surprised when players like Cazorla seem able to kick the ball forward just like Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard.
Loveable Adrian Chiles with his loveable jowly face belongs nowhere near a football pitch. How ITV decided to give the man the helm after his performances on MOTD 2 is incredible. The only interesting part of his half-time "banter" sessions is trying to gauge how long it will be before it all becomes too much for Roy Keane and he tears the studio apart.
Perhaps the worst thing about being a Europa cup qualifier is that you'll play more games on Sundays, leading to more airings on Match of the Day 2, hosted by the irrepressibly irritating Colin Murray. Maintaining a slew of Chiles-style humorous skits has made MOTD 2 punditry more painful to watch than even Saturday night’s version, with less football to boot.
Clive Tyldesley & Andy Townsend
These two have to come as a package, as the commentary dream team I have nightmare's about. 1999 was great wasn't it? Manchester United coming from behind to beat Bayern Munich, what a game. Good enough to be reminded of the match on every European occasion since? Probably not. Also whilst I may be supporting the British teams when they take on those tricksy European sides in the Champions League, I don't need the commentators shouting "Come on!" when they score a goal. Townsend's broadcasting career peaked with the "Tactic's Truck", which really is saying something.
I’m sure there are plenty of other pundits out there who deserve a mention in the last above, maybe limiting myself to five choices was a mistake. Who else should be in the list?
image: © mollyig