Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

The World Cup: Easy, Easy...

Just for a change, Johnny P remembers the good old days

Johnny Pundit: he thinks it's all over
Johnny Pundit: he thinks it's all over
Oil tankers: could be nimbler
Oil tankers: could be nimbler
Wee: dribbling
Wee: dribbling
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, the World Cup: like war, without the inconvenience of global bloodshed. Gives us all an excuse to call the Spanish 'underachievers' as if we aren't; briefly reassert superiority over the Americans; and for once, watch the Australians struggle at a sport.
By coincidence I was enjoying a chinwag about the World Cup last week in The Mixed Metaphor, the pundits' club in the heart of London's fashionable Soho. I was sharing a pint of mild and a bowl of pickled gherkins with my pals Henry Ham - Henry's the new football correspondent of the Dungeons and Dragons cable channel - and Fothergill of The Light Programme.
In short, we all agreed that television has completely spoilt the World Cup. After all, now any old idiot can watch a match. Where's the skill in that, as a spectator? Now, anyone with a remote control and the ability to fake a sore throat on the phone to their boss can catch Ghana vs. Sweden. Hardly a challenge, is it?
Pea soup
No, back in the old days, you needed an almost forensic approach to being a spectator. First, you had to track down the relevant game on the wireless. Then, if you were lucky enough to find something that didn't feature a farming report and a warning about the latest peasouper, you had to work out what was happening on the pitch aided by a commentator with the lightning reactions of a oil tanker with the handbrake left on, amidst more static than a swingers' party in a woolly jumper factory. Terrible, really — but as Fothergill said, think of the achievement when you finally realised what the score was!
Now, with television, you see the goal, the replay of the goal, and if you have a 'red button', apparently, you get to see the dribble of nervous wee trickling down the scorer's leg just as he made to shoot. I mean, gad; The Information Age? The 'Too Much Information Age', I call it. You twenty-first century people: you've never had it so good. Enjoy the group matches — I'm off for the next two weeks caravanning with Missus P in Bangor. But I've left the column in safe hands…

This wheel's on fire, rolling down the road…
Johnny Pundit

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