The Independent London Newspaper
21st May 2019

SCORE BLIMEY: Have your say – it’s worth more than Alan Shearer’s

    Published: 8 December, 2016
    by RICHARD OSLEY

    A MAN came to the door last week and told me he was doing market research on the BBC. 

    In order to help with his polling, he wanted to come inside and spend 10 minutes asking me questions. I didn’t want him to see the shrine to The Invincibles in the front room and, besides, Escape To The Country was on, so I sent him away. 

    As it turns out, that was a bum move. For if sensible, highly-intellectual, brilliant, modest people like me close the door on market researchers, we can’t complain when they report wrong results back to the people who pay them. This, after all, can be the only possible explanation for the choice of football pundits on the Beeb; we were all too lazy to answer the door – so they found the most amenable dweebs they could instead. 

    Yes, the people giving feedback on Match of the Day must be terrible people, acquiescing yes-men who thought inviting a market researcher to their kitchen table would be an exciting way of eating away the boredom of their listless, Alan Shearer-liking days. 

    For that is the problem, the feedback the BBC seem to have got from this sorry portion of the public is that because Shearer was a memorable footballer, he can automatically provide some form of thoughtful comment. The truth is, however, he was a shoot-first striker whose lack of subtlety is traced almost perfectly into his witless contributions on Match of The Day. 

    There he was on Saturday, grappling with his own existence over whether Alexis Sanchez may or may not be “world class”, a term so liberally used in modern parlance that it was deployed twice on this weekend’s X-Factor to describe pub singers who will soon be switching on the Christmas lights in Basingstoke. 

    The idea that Sanchez, or anybody else for that matter, really cares about what Shearer thinks is cute. There Sanchez is, scoring every week, a national hero in Chile, and he’s about to sign a contract for somebody, hopefully Arsenal but who knows, which will earn him a million pounds every month. 

    But, oh, wait, Shearer thinks he might not be “world class” That’s torn it.  

    Shearer isn’t the only beneficiary of our refusal to provide the cold, stone, truth to market researchers about how dull they are. I’d love to see the polling data which shows Robbie Savage is so fantastically hilarious he must have free rein to invade as many football shows as possible, alongside simpering hosts mesmerised by his contrived wackiness. Ever thus, you wonder if Phil Neville gets punditry work because his bro is very good at it, while one of the great mysteries of broadcasting is how Michel Owen, resolutely monotone and uninteresting, was ever allowed near a mic. 

    But if we don’t vote, we can’t complain. So, it’s time we told them the truth. I’ll put the kettle on next time. 

    • Send your views to Sports, 40 Camden Road, NW1 9DR or email sports@camdennewjournal.com

    Comments

    OK, enough...

    Fair dos, Shearer is a dull 'pundit' - whatever that term means.
    But I would say that goes for all the 'pundits' currently employed.
    I think it should be managers doing MOTD. In the 70s, we had Clough, Allison, Revie, Ramsay McMenemy etc - all managers and all able to articulate what they were talking about. Unlike ALL the current crop who, with the rare exception, talk in tabloid clichés.

    By the way Shearer was and still is the greatest striker of modern times - like him or not.

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