I entered two pieces, and got an honourable mention, as well as an outing as MouthoftheMersey. I reprint them below, but please bear in mind that these were written for a particular purpose and outlet with a rawer discourse than I use when acting as a member of staff! Please enter yourselves – it’s fun and good practice.
Ten things I never want to see again
Sport is a cruel mistress – just when you’re ready to chuck it (say after another half-time summary from Shearer and Wright), along comes Roger Federer, like a lover with a Agent Provocateur bag in hand a funny look in their eye, and you’re right back where you started, trying to keep your heart inside your rib cage. But though we love sport warts n’all, how might a little corrective surgery improve its fading looks?
Here’s ten things to be nipped and tucked away from sight.
Formula One grids with cars lined up in team order. It’s the drivers we want to see competing, not techies with telemetry print-outs and team anoraks.
Grabbing a flag from the crowd and waving it on a lap of honour. Poignant at first, now clichéd and occasionally jingoistic. The Olympics ought to celebrate the Family of Man not a country’s sports budget.
Any pundit with more than three year’s service should be pensioned off – we can only hear so much, then the teeth grate. Hansen and Lawro tell us nothing that they haven’t bored on about ad nauseum for years. Charlton can’t defend – who would have thought it?
Commentators treating sport as a moral debate. Barry Davies and Alan Greene can turn a commentary into a Daily Mail editorial – they are not all good boys: get over it! And while you’re at it, what’s going on down there on the pitch?
Yet more praising of Rugby players’ attitudes towards the referee. Yes they don’t do the dissent thing and yes Rooney and co should shut up, but I don’t call fisticuffs and worse with a referee trying unsuccessfully to separate the thugs, a fine example to our nation’s youth.
WAGS. Let’s leave these cohabitees undermining national teams’ skills out of the sports pages – it’s not as if they are short of exposure elsewhere, even in the Guardian for heavens sake
Big production adverts during international tournaments. I don’t want to see Beckham as a cowboy, nor Zidane playing football in a banlieu, nor Roberto Carlos doing anything except taking free kicks. They are bad actors in poorly scripted, overblown, 60 second melodramas which are destined to be forgotten the moment the real stuff starts again after half-time.
Those beards Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and Big Sam send out to do the BBC interviews while they sulk in the corner about some slight or other three years ago. Grow up and speak to the people who support your team and pay your wages.
Perimeter advertising hoardings that play a short animated film whilst we try to concentrate on the match. Who thinks those are a good idea, except for the Peter Kenyons of this world? Get rid of them now.
Opening Ceremonies. They have as much in common with sport as the Eurovision Song Contest has in common with Slipknot. Say No! to singing kids. Say No! to traditional dancing in national costumes. Say No! to the poor sap reading the commentators’ guide as the BBC devote 25% of its annual live sports coverage to this tosh.
MouthoftheMersey February 13 2007
And number 2
Sport – It’s just entertainment you know
Real fans know that sport is much closer to the arms industry than the entertainment industry, but us poor saps are endlessly told that we have to accept lunchtime kick-offs, Martin Brundle mincing down the grid trying to get a word with Jensen, Russell bloody Brand in the Guardian, all because “sport is part of the entertainment industry”.
What if it was then eh? How about reviving a few entertainment classics (and not-so-classics) and seeing how sports top performers would get on.
The Roker Roar would be but a whisper compared to the cheer around the country if Fawlty Towers were revived in its full glory. Basil would be played by Jose in one of his more exasperated moods, “What do you mean, we have no centre-halves? The Chair of the Rotary Club is having dinner here tonight! Tonight!” Rafa was born to play Manuel, with his tenuous command of English, “Everton is small club, no?” Arsene would don the drag we are all waiting to see and take on Sybil, “Pretentious? Moi?” Ellen McArthur as Polly would rescue them all in the end.
Harry Redknapp is almost too obvious a choice as Norman Stanley Fletcher, as is Sir Alex as Mr MacKay (hairdryer included). Clean cut Chris Coleman must possess a geography O level, so he gets Godber, with Joey Barton typecast as ‘Orrible Ives and Stuart Pearce all bug-eyed naiviety as Bunny Warren. Mr Barraclough is earmarked for Gerard Houillier after his touching trust in Robbie Fowler’s explanation of the touchline snorting incident, with Gordon Taylor as Governor Venables nicely leading into Terry Venables as genial Harry Grout. The Guardian’s very own Russell Brand can get a bit of much needed exposure as Lukewarm.
Preposterous blusterer Peter Kenyon nicely steps into the Captain Mainwaring role, supported by Second–Choice Steve as Sergeant Wilson. On parade, we find dodgy Cockney Private Walker played by dodgy Cockney Dennis Wise, miserable Private Frazer played by Alan Hansen, Stupid Boy Pike played by Stupid Boy Lampard and Bobby Charlton in the role of aging, decent, but confused Private Godfrey. “Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic! It’s just like when we faced those Italians at Istanbul in 05” – Corporal Jones is a role made for Stevie G, with Glenn Hoddle as the Verger.
On other channels, we might view the much-missed gentle romantic comedy of The Love Boat, with Cristiano as the scampish steward pursuing, not entirely whole-heartedly, a haughty Russian Princess love interest played by La Sharapova, whilst kind, but firm, Purser Gary Lineker is tracking down stowaway Theo Walcott. The ship itself is captained with a paternalistic twinkle in his eye by Bobby Robson. With Ricky Tomlinson signing books and Ralf Little flogging a dead horse in celebrity football, Big Sam takes on Jim Royle, supported by Kevin Nolan as Anthony and Mick Quinn as Twiggy. Venus, Serena and our very own Paula Radcliffe line up as Charlie’s Angels (Hmm… might need a name change) and Batman and Robin reunite as Roger Federer and Andy Roddick don the silly costumes.
Beats Super League live from the JJB though doesn’t it?
MouthoftheMersey February 14 2007