Jasmine Baba looks at fans’ opinions on social media being influenced by bad punditry.
In the world of social media, where you can be influenced by anyone, especially when it comes to football, it’s surprising that some of the worst opinions come from the dreaded TV pundit. Especially when the pundit is a newly-retired, modern footballer.
I’ll admit, there’s a slight element of personal grievance in my reaction to Patrice Evra’s comments in the post-Sheffield United v Arsenal coverage. Ex-Manchester United player Evra said: “I used to call [Arsenal] ‘my babies’ 10 years ago, and they are still”. Anyone who follows me on social media will know that it’s not only Arsenal games that I react to poor insight, commentary or punditry on.
I’ve always found the soft connotations that surround the reporting of problems at Arsenal as lazy, especially when there’s been an overhaul within the last couple of years. Higher quality signings were made, more money was spent, and the manager was changed.
We could argue there is a culture problem, a decreasing lack of attacking football implemented by an unclear philosophy installed by the manager or any other line of similar questioning, but I’ve never heard anything like this being brought up. Instead I hear pundits trying to get a soundbite in.
Not only this, but I can’t help but picture Evra licking raw chicken. Are we supposed to take this person’s verdict seriously?
Another example of a lack of understanding and integrity came from Roy Keane last Sunday, who suggested Manchester United “go and get Kane from Spurs” without a hint of irony.
I don’t want to fathom the logistical nightmare that deal would be for Ed Woodward, or even why Harry Kane would go to this United team. Regardless, this opinion offers no real insight.
It’s not just exclusive to punditry. We have co-commentators who give no commentary, just emotional and reactive opinions throughout matches. It screams volumes that I don’t have to give examples because I know that at least one person has popped into your head.
Is there really no one better to front our post-match analysis? In such a competitive world of broadcasting, we are yet to reflect an image of our society in terms of equality on our screens. Arguing that gender or race does not matter and the person must simply be the best for the job falls flat when the majority of ex-footballers that are broadcasting are simply not up to it.
BT Sport is one of the worst offenders, however they’ve also shown what brilliance can be produced without these figures. The BT Sport Champions League Goals Show, fronted by James Richardson, usually with James Horncastle, Raphael Honigstein and a third writer or journalist beside them, is one of the best sports programmes currently on screen.
Obviously, there are a few golden eggs in the ex-footballer world who offer some real depth. Gary Neville is one of the more favoured personalities on screen and it’s hard to disagree that he offers something more.
One pundit who I occasionally see and always enjoy is Leon Osman. I would love to see more of him on my screen, but something tells me that won’t happen.
Follow Jasmine on Twitter @_BabsJ